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leashless tools


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Have you or do you own a normal pair (ex: quark, black prophet, viper, etc) of ice tools? Do you plan to own both types (leashless specific like ergos and "normal" pair like quarks) or just a pair that swings both ways ooo.giftongue.gif (like the quarks)?

What do you plan on climbing with your tools (alpine, snow, WI, AI, mixed, multipitch, singlepitch)?


What pro(s) do you think a leashless tool has over a leashed tool?


PS: Maybe a mod could move this to the gear critic…

Edited by NOLSe
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im not much of an ice climber, but I've got a friend who is. He bought a pair of leashless tools and was afraid of dropping them, so he attatched long accessory cord tethers to them and himself, just so he couldn't drop them. After a few seasons and no drops, he quit using the tethers.

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no i dont own a normal pair i want to get into ice climbing but i dont know what tools to buy. id mainly be doing alpine and WI no dry tooling or anything mabye mixed if i run into some. the only thing i want to know is if anyone has used both and would like to coment on the faults or good things about leashed tools or leashless

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I guess it depends on your comfort level, along with what and where you are climbing. Last year I dropped tools quite a bit. Ive been out a fair amount this year and havent been even close to dropping one. For me its a matter of being more confident and aware. If I carried a third tool with me I wouldnt have any problem going leashless on lead or a multipitch.


I think nolse asked some good questions If you are looking at leashless tools. What type of climbing are you looking at doing? That would definately narrow down which kind of tool you would want...or if you even want them.


For me, the pros of leashless include:

The ability to swing less because I can reach higher on the shaft and step above the tool (less swings= less pump)


The ability to manuever side to side easier for better placements by matching hands (more solid placements, less swinging = less pump,more confidence).


Easily letting go of a tool to shake out is AWESOME! (less pump!!!!!!)


I cant really think of any cons, other than dropping the tools. It takes some getting used to. Once you get comfortable, there is no turning back! smile.gif

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no i dont own a normal pair i want to get into ice climbing but i dont know what tools to buy. id mainly be doing alpine and WI no dry tooling or anything mabye mixed if i run into some. the only thing i want to know is if anyone has used both and would like to coment on the faults or good things about leashed tools or leashless


As this is your first pair of tools you will be doing a lot of learning and, depending on your luck, some amount of suffering. Good example: remember when you first starting rock climbing? How you use too think that you had to see a hold to stand on it? And then one day you smeared your shoe and viola! a new level in climbing. The same kinds of things will happen in ice climbing… your swing, sizing boots, gear placement, vomit suppression (when you start leading) and so on.


Which brings us to the question of leashless. Yes going leashless offers advantages over going unleashed. However going leashed offers advantages over going unleashed. The question is which advantages best align with the types of climbing you will be doing.


Leashless: the big advantage and disadvantage is you aren’t attached to your tool. Good when: you want to switch hands, place pro, climb with your hands, throw an iceball at your asleep belayer, wave at the sporto whose project you are dry tooling, etc. Bad when: something causes you to drop your tool.


Generally on moderate WI or AI or alpine routes, the types you will be climbing as you as just getting into it, you will not be doing any climbing that requires you to match hands on a tool, figure 4 or 2, etc so the ability to detach from a tool quickly and readily isn’t merited.


With that said if you get to the point (and you might) where you are climbing hard routes in the alpine you might want to go leashless in the alpine. Most recently (but definitely not the first time) some parties in the Ruth Gorge (PS: anybody want to go? Dickey?) are going leashless (the kind of tools that have dual handles… upper and lower) but also carrying a third general alpine axe for the decent (you can’t plunge dual grips at least in firm snow).


I would say get a new or used pair of tools and put some detachable leashes on them. Peter’s axar’s would be good first pair… and it’s about time those tools started getting some real use hahaha.gifwink.gif. I think I also saw a pair of CFBP’s on the page. And if you have the cash to burn and know ice is something you will do for awhile get a new pair. There are numerous discussions on the page regarding what tools people like.


Finally I would highly encourage you to read Twight’s Extreme Alpinism and Gadd’s Ice book for a discussion on modern tools. Additionally reading Chouinard’s Climbing Ice is highly recommended; a number of the techniques he discusses you will need to master over the next few seasons. And if anyone has any Chouinard gear laying around and want to sell it to me shoot me a pm!


And FYI: drytooling and mixed climbing are basically the same thing... drytooling is the way to practice for the mixed climbing you will encounter in the alpine.


Hope this helps! Peace!

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The manufacturers are hard at work. I've heard from the industry that they are saying that the leashless tool you buy today is likely to look nothing like the leashless tool you'll buy in 2-3 years. If you can pro-deal them, pick up a pair. If not, wait for the technology to shake up and then buy. Mosty guys get at least 5 years out of a tool purchase so it might be smart to wait. Unless your are Bill Gates.

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Waiting two or three years of your prime climbing life. Wasting that time is worth alot more than 5 bills. just eat a little less, drink a little less and bam your in tools. Ha Ha- plus you will be lighter.


Life is short- go for it. Technology will always be changing, If you always wait for it to settle down you will miss out.





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I don't know about that. rolleyes.gif I really hate that bolt on pinky rest, it always slides and is sort of bulky and doesn't feel comfortable. Those tools feel heavy too. Actually for the type of climbing the guy was talking about doing I would reccomend Quarks or Vipers. Both can be used as leashless or leashed tools, have great clearance, good picks, and are just good all around tools.

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