U.S. Army pitons were coated in Cosmoline to preserve the pitons from weathering. It defiantly is a mess cleaning the pitons.
Cosmoline is the genericized trademark for a common class of brown, wax-like petroleum-based corrosion inhibitors, typically conforming to United States Military Standard MIL-C-11796C Class 3. They are viscous when freshly applied, have a slight fluorescence, and solidify over time with exposure to air.
Melting point: 113–125 °F