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best ice axes for beginners?
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amyas


Jan 25, 2011, 10:54 AM
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best ice axes for beginners?
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So, I'm looking for some ice axes. I have only 2 days experience on ice (with guide). I have never tried mixed. Love doing it, and I have money to burn, so price range doesn't really matter. I expect to get out twice a month. Physical conditioning is very good, and I love climbing and the cold, so I expect my dedication will be good as well. But which tools to buy? I have only used quarks, and thought they were great, but have no experience with any other tool to compare them to. My partner is my rockclimbing partner that has also just begun ice, so he doesn't have tools yet for me to try. Thanks for any help. And yes, I'm a noob in this discipline, please see above for conclusive evidence.


shoo


Jan 25, 2011, 11:23 AM
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amyas wrote:
So, I'm looking for some ice axes. I have only 2 days experience on ice (with guide). I have never tried mixed. Love doing it, and I have money to burn, so price range doesn't really matter. I expect to get out twice a month. Physical conditioning is very good, and I love climbing and the cold, so I expect my dedication will be good as well. But which tools to buy? I have only used quarks, and thought they were great, but have no experience with any other tool to compare them to. My partner is my rockclimbing partner that has also just begun ice, so he doesn't have tools yet for me to try. Thanks for any help. And yes, I'm a noob in this discipline, please see above for conclusive evidence.

I hate to give you the obvious advice that you probably already know, but here it is anyway:

Try a bunch out, get the ones you like the most.


coastal_climber


Jan 25, 2011, 11:57 AM
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Your in Sask? wheres the climbing?


julio412


Jan 25, 2011, 12:18 PM
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 First, I think you need to decide on your approach towards ice- trad or sport.
Are you planning on going into the mountains, or focusing on roadside sport ice areas?
And even though there are a lot of brands; parts and their availability are always important.
At present the three big players in North America are Petzl, BD and Grivel.
Again, if you can get your hands on some tools, try as many as you can, and ask around.
My choice: BD Cobras, not too specialized and parts are available.
Of course there's always DMM, Camp, Trango, Simond, Stubai, Salewa, AustraAlpin,Cassin, and a few others worth a look.


scotty1974


Jan 25, 2011, 1:03 PM
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Like the guys above said...figure out what you want to do, which includes what you "might" want to do. Pure waterfall? Alpine & Waterfall? etc...

Then swing a bunch of tools that fit that MO and see which swing and grip you like the best.

There is no "beginner" tool, unless beginner means, cheap, old, free etc. If price is your issue, get whatever you can afford from a friend, ebay, the internet etc. and they will suffice till you get better.

Alot of people start on crappy old straight shaft tools. And quite a few of them still crush harder than I ever will.


amyas


Jan 25, 2011, 1:29 PM
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Re: [coastal_climber] best ice axes for beginners? [In reply to]
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coastal_climber wrote:
Your in Sask? wheres the climbing?
West of Nordegg, I'm in Sask 2 weeks a month, Red Deer the other 2. I'm told the ice in the area is some of the best to be had, but I dont know as I have nothing to compare it to.


amyas


Jan 25, 2011, 1:34 PM
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Thanks scott, julio, and shoo, I'll get on the phone on start bugging people to lend me stuff, I guess my beer budget is going to go way up this month. And yeah, pointing out the obvious is what I need at this point, so I appreciate all the help I can get.


jbro_135


Jan 25, 2011, 4:03 PM
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you might want to look on the mec gear swap once you decide what you want, lots of ice gear on there


markcarlson


Jan 25, 2011, 9:27 PM
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In your situation with a limited number of partners and a fist full of cash... Nomics or Vipers are a good choice. The primary benefit to these tools is that if you find they aren't working for you, they are easy to sell and don't lose much value. (This info may only be relevant to the Canadian Rockies...)

Aside from that benefit, they are good tools and work well for most people. Nomics are popular for ice and mixed, while the Vipers are a good "budget" ice tool. Most people I know around here prefer Cobras for ice and either Fusions or Nomics for mixed. I only recommend Vipers because the demand for used ones is so high.

Also... http://www.gravsports-ice.com


gunkiemike


Jan 26, 2011, 3:47 AM
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markcarlson wrote:
In your situation with a limited number of partners and a fist full of cash... Nomics or Vipers are a good choice. The primary benefit to these tools is that if you find they aren't working for you, they are easy to sell and don't lose much value. (This info may only be relevant to the Canadian Rockies...)

Aside from that benefit, they are good tools and work well for most people. Nomics are popular for ice and mixed, while the Vipers are a good "budget" ice tool. Most people I know around here prefer Cobras for ice and either Fusions or Nomics for mixed. I only recommend Vipers because the demand for used ones is so high.

Also... http://www.gravsports-ice.com

Just to add - these are the reasons I'd say buy Quarks. I don't think you'll be sorry.

BUT... new ones may be hard to find. And new Nomics? Simply not available. So I'd say buy used Quarks for US300/pair. Replace the picks if they're not in fine shape, then go get yerself some ice!


fresh


Jan 26, 2011, 7:21 AM
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I agree that the best advice is to shop around, but what's with all the budget responses? the man wants to spend some money! there are lots of local climbing shops who could use his business.

shop around, but I would recommend getting a versatile tool. something you can use leashed or leashless, mixed or pure ice, and maybe even for plunging in the snow, if you're into that.

or, get cobras and be done with it. they can climb anything, they have the most balanced swing around (second only to the nomics, maybe), and they're super light. the only downfalls are that BD's picks aren't as good as petzl's, and the shaft can get scuffed up. but I personally wouldn't consider those things deal-breakers.

I'll say it again because it's hugely important: buy them from a local shop. those guys often have a hard enough time making ends meet.

have fun!


swaghole


Jan 26, 2011, 8:33 AM
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julio412 wrote:

Of course there's always DMM, Camp, Trango, Simond, Stubai, Salewa, AustraAlpin,Cassin, and a few others worth a look.

I would stick with the big brands easily available in Canada (BD and Petzl) or else pic replacement can become difficult a few years down the road.


shoo


Jan 26, 2011, 8:35 AM
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fresh wrote:
shop around, but I would recommend getting a versatile tool. something you can use leashed or leashless, mixed or pure ice, and maybe even for plunging in the snow, if you're into that.

Eff that. Go leashless from day 1. You will be happy you did.

Honestly, you can't go wrong with pretty much any of the technical tools available from major manufacturers nowadays. They're all pretty damn good.

Tools I would try to play with before making a purchase:

Black Diamond:
Reactor. In my opinion, the best value for your money out there, especially if you like the offset handles
Viper. Also good value for money, nice if you want to try both leashed and leashless.
Cobra. In my opinion, the best swinging ice tool out there. Perfect if you are intending to climb pretty much exclusively on ice. Leashed or leashless. Also the most expensive tools out there.

Petzl:
Quark, new style. Really solid all-arounder anywhere from hard ice to alpine.
Nomic. In my opinion, the best ice and mixed tool out there. The new version is even more so. Unfortunately, they aren't really available right now.

I don't really know as much about Grivel's tools, but I always hear lots of good things about them.


fresh


Jan 26, 2011, 8:47 AM
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shoo wrote:
Reactor. In my opinion, the best value for your money out there, especially if you like the offset handles.
did you misspell "fusion"? dude is moneybags!


shoo


Jan 26, 2011, 8:54 AM
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fresh wrote:
shoo wrote:
Reactor. In my opinion, the best value for your money out there, especially if you like the offset handles.
did you misspell "fusion"? dude is moneybags!

Eh. I have the new fusions, and I give them a thorough "meh" for pure ice. Skip them unless you're interested in doing a lot of mixed, in which case they're a fantastic (and much cheaper) alternative to the nomics.

Honestly, I think the reactor is a better ice-specific tool.


amyas


Jan 26, 2011, 9:28 AM
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shoo wrote:
fresh wrote:
shop around, but I would recommend getting a versatile tool. something you can use leashed or leashless, mixed or pure ice, and maybe even for plunging in the snow, if you're into that.

Eff that. Go leashless from day 1. You will be happy you did.

Honestly, you can't go wrong with pretty much any of the technical tools available from major manufacturers nowadays. They're all pretty damn good.

Tools I would try to play with before making a purchase:

Black Diamond:
Reactor. In my opinion, the best value for your money out there, especially if you like the offset handles
Viper. Also good value for money, nice if you want to try both leashed and leashless.
Cobra. In my opinion, the best swinging ice tool out there. Perfect if you are intending to climb pretty much exclusively on ice. Leashed or leashless. Also the most expensive tools out there.

Petzl:
Quark, new style. Really solid all-arounder anywhere from hard ice to alpine.
Nomic. In my opinion, the best ice and mixed tool out there. The new version is even more so. Unfortunately, they aren't really available right now.

I don't really know as much about Grivel's tools, but I always hear lots of good things about them.

ok, I think I've got my questions answered. I guess what i really meant are there tools that perform better on WI2-3 than at higher grades, but it seems if its good for hard stuff its good for easy stuff. Had a chance to try out the cobras since first post and they feel... i dont know, like they stick in place with each swing? that does that make sense? Maybe doubling my experience from 2 days to 4 helped that tho Unsure. I'm going to buy cobras, then if i ever find nomics buy them as well and keep one set to loan to to friends. Now how do i stop from looking like a huge douchebag using $300 tools on WI2/3??? Hockey tape i guess to hide them?

edited to add the obvious answer: get better, climb harder.


(This post was edited by amyas on Jan 26, 2011, 9:30 AM)


markcarlson


Jan 27, 2011, 8:06 AM
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amyas wrote:
ok, I think I've got my questions answered. I guess what i really meant are there tools that perform better on WI2-3 than at higher grades, but it seems if its good for hard stuff its good for easy stuff. Had a chance to try out the cobras since first post and they feel... i dont know, like they stick in place with each swing? that does that make sense? Maybe doubling my experience from 2 days to 4 helped that tho Unsure. I'm going to buy cobras, then if i ever find nomics buy them as well and keep one set to loan to to friends. Now how do i stop from looking like a huge douchebag using $300 tools on WI2/3??? Hockey tape i guess to hide them?

edited to add the obvious answer: get better, climb harder.

Did the cobras have the small or large hammer? or adze?

I found a huge difference between the small and large hammers. The tools with the large hammers got buried in the ice easier than the ones with the small hammers. I can see a benefit with the large ones on brittle ice, but on plastic ice it was a pain in the butt!


Guran


Jan 31, 2011, 7:32 AM
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amyas wrote:
Had a chance to try out the cobras since first post and they feel... i dont know, like they stick in place with each swing? that does that make sense?

That's it, you found the right tools for you. Exactly the feeling you want to get. Congrats


mikebarter387


Nov 15, 2013, 7:26 AM
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Which Ice Axe

This was taken from the following blog post might help
http://www.mountainguide.com/...-which-ice-tool.html

To:mikebarter387



This year as I see the ice forming, I want to get into the world of ice climbing. When I started looking into the gear though, I get lost. There's Petzl tools and BD tools and Grivel and and and. Beyond the brands they all have their own tools, in similar styles at least, but how do you sort through what's right for a person. Today I want to start ice climbing so a reasonably priced tool, doesn't need to be fancy much like the Quark. But what about later when I want to try some dry tooling or Andromeda Strain, moving to a Nomic style tool. Does a person really need a whole string of different tools depending on the day and climb or are they more versatile than the companies make them out to be? What do you use and why? Do you have different tools depending on what you're climbing that day? Youtube wasn't really helpful except to find endorsements by pros that I don't climb like anyways, hoping you could shed some light and maybe even turn into some inspiration for Climbing Tools.



Thanks.



Ice climbing sounds strange and waterfall ice climbing sounds just plain stupid. Yet it is so Canadian it fits right in between hockey and dog sledding. Your question of tools which one and why I could see being a confusing one. Petzl, Black Diamond, and Grivel are the big players in the game at least here in North America. Not looking at mountaineering axes each of the big three have a couple high end ice tools.

First lets define the type of tool Climber4Him is talking about. We are not looking at the standard mountaineering axe 70cm or so in length. Straight shaft adze on one side of the head and a pick on the other. No we are talking about the more technical waterfall ice tools and their close relatives. We should note right now that even the worst waterfall tool on the market is heaps better then any tool we had 20 years ago.

I can go into a big long rant about the evolution of the ice tool but will spare you that because I have already done that. Check out this blog post “ Why would somebody prefer not to use leash less tools “



“ Any tool will work for you as long as you believe in it”

Guy Lacelle


There are good all round tools but that is very much like saying there are 4 season tires. Meaning that you can make them work and if your careful you won’t crash in our case that means hitting the ground. The two models that come to mind is the Black Diamond Carbon Fiber Cobra. The Petzl Quark also makes it in the all terrain vehicle status. C4H is asking for a reasonably priced tool. Dude we are talking waterfall ice climbing. Symbolically it represents everything that is wrong with the western world. Rack of screws = $780 Draws and slings = $150 Crampons = $200 Pack= $300 Boots = $600 High-tech layers =$2500+ Gas to typical climb $40 Coffee and donuts and lunch and thermos $15 Gear wears out so there is a cycle of equipment that has to be replaced constantly. Then at the end of the day I wash the whole experience down with $25 worth of beer at some sleazy climbers hangout. All this to climb a waterfall. Turn that around and how many water wells could I have drilled in some village in a poor part of Africa or India. How many lives could I have saved. So when you talk affordable or reasonable I guess I just think about it differently. Like the guy that goes shopping for a sailboat, if yeh have to ask, yeh can't afford it. For you however there are a few work arounds if your willing to buy second hand equipment. MEC has a resale website and switching gear in Canmore carries ice gear from time to time. Also check kajijiji


More at blog post


sungam


Nov 18, 2013, 7:56 AM
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Mike did you just resurrect a 2 year old post to link a blog?


Partner epoch
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Nov 18, 2013, 8:17 PM
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sungam wrote:
Mike did you just resurrect a 2 year old post to link a blog?
Looks like it. And a good time to move it too...


rocknice2


Nov 18, 2013, 8:59 PM
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epoch wrote:
sungam wrote:
Mike did you just resurrect a 2 year old post to link a blog?
Looks like it. And a good time to move it too...
By moving it you made the entire thread new again. Didn't realize I was reading an old thread that I've already read until I got to the end.:-(

PS Nomics are widely available now.:-)


sungam


Nov 19, 2013, 6:18 AM
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rocknice2 wrote:
epoch wrote:
sungam wrote:
Mike did you just resurrect a 2 year old post to link a blog?
Looks like it. And a good time to move it too...
By moving it you made the entire thread new again. Didn't realize I was reading an old thread that I've already read until I got to the end.:-(

PS Nomics are widely available now.:-)
Was it better the second time around? I thought it was!

Like Heart of Darkness, Ghost in the Shell or Pan's Labirynth, I just noticed a lot of the subtleties and undertones I missed the first time around.


mikebarter387


Nov 20, 2013, 6:42 AM
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yes that was the only reason. Id there a law against that?


sungam


Nov 20, 2013, 5:09 PM
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mikebarter387 wrote:
yes that was the only reason. Id there a law against that?
There might be, can't really remember.


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