Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
cmonster

Alpine Ice Tools

Recommended Posts

I currently use Moser Quasars for water ice. I'm looking into purchasing a pair of tools for alpine routes (liberty ridge, triple couliors, stuart glacier coulior, etc.). I want to hear what folks use and what they like/dislike about their setup. I've already gotten some info on the Moser Axars. What about Pulsars? Black Diamond Shrikes? What else do you use?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Super Super light (about the same as a quark). Not too bent for alpine but good enough for water ice. Cheap Cheap if you buy in Canada too. 160 $ Canadian last I looked..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MEC is out of stock on FLYs, Axars etc. for the forseeable future frown.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without a doubt my number one choice would be the Simond Piranha. For some strange reason they get some poor magazine reviews, but having talked to a reviewer or two, I've found the requirements for that job don't exactly include intelligence or integrity. I like the Piranha because it's got a brilliant pick, a plungeable bent shaft, a comfortable head for canne position, it's easily field maintainable and has a huge adze for climbing snow. The latter is a big benefit on the West Coast It also has a natural swing and enough heft to deal with super hard ice. The problem is that I'm unsure of where to find them in North America.

Given that you've already got Quasars, I'd strongly consider Axars as a second choice. Axars take the same picks, bolts and wrenches which keeps your spares kit smaller and cheaper. Axars don't have the snappy punch of the Quasar however. They also have a medium sized adze. Bummer.

The Pulasar's pick angle is very steep for alpine ice. The snap required at the end of each swing costs reach, which may seem minor until you're on a 1000 meter ice face. As said in another posting, the head (like the Axar/Quasar) isn't comfortable in canne. The hammers of all three models are so small they fall through the gear loops of almost all harnesses.

If you're used to the performance of a Quasar, you'll find the Fly disheartening. The BIG bulge on the top of the pick is also going to remind you of it's presence each time you plunge the thing as your heels go out from under you.

The BD tools with replaceable adze (bigger adze than the shrike) all work. You might have to lob the knuckle protector off the spike of the rage. Rages have great heft for long ice routes (keep in mind that on alpine ice, being lower angled, the acceleration phase of the swing is downward. Heft is good).

I've never figured out why people get a woody over the Grivel tools with Goulotte picks. The picks are incredibly strong, but they just don't seem to stick in hard steep ice. I'd give them a 7.0 on the scary scale.

Overall I'd recommend looking for tools with the following: A big adze, a head with a clipping point that can be unclipped with one hand, clipable spike, a shaft without a massive spike or bulge on the end that would limit plunging, a shaft that's curved in a manner that it plunged in snow easily (avoid shafts with radical curves near the bottom), and a design that allows you to use the hammer without destroying the shaft or leash attachment point.

Pretty biased I realize…

 

[This message has been edited by fishstick (edited 07-24-2001).]

[This message has been edited by fishstick (edited 07-24-2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right on about the grivel goulotte picks. I bought a used pair of super coumayers tools when I first took up ice climbing that had goulotte picks on them. I used them for 3 seasons and got use to them. Then I replaced them with a pair of Rambo tools with evolution picks and I thought I noticed an improvement (but I convinced myself that I was just getting to be a better climber).

So I used the Rambo evolutions all last ice season, then this summer pulled out my old super coumayers and slapped a set of new goulotte picks on them, thinking I’d make them my dedicated alpine tools. I get up in the mountains on my first steep pitch of ice and I was having to swinging 2-3 times to get a stick. By the time I bashed my way to the top of the pitch I was completely trashed. Thanks god the climb only offered one pitch of steep ice.

Question is do you think the evolution pick is to whimpy for alpine use. It seems awfully thin to me?

Fishsticks, I’ve read some of your other posts and I must say, you are very insightful about gear. Its nice to hear your opinions.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used the Simond Piranha, I really like them. Very versatile - I wish I had a pair wink.gif Simond's steep water ice tool, the Naja, is also really nice. For a good laugh, go to www.simond.com and check out the Scud. That has got to be the funkiest ice tool ever.

Anyway, according to the Simond web they have a contact in Canada.

VERTICAL ADDICTION

Contact : Benoit Gosselin

DAVIDSON 2092

MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC

HIW 2Y8 Canada

Phone : 001 514 526 18 30

Fax : 001 514 814 42 18

E.mail : benoitgosselin@hotmail.com

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fishstick has handled more tools than most people in Vancouver. Excluding the Westend. Listen to his advice, but not about diet. He is also famous for the quote "Vancouver has the best legs of anywhere in Canada" This was before I moved to Whistler.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Evolution picks.

Although I haven't tried them in the mountains, I think I'd use Evolutions over Goulottes for Alpine ice routes. The increased confidence they inspire, not to mention the increased speed and efficiency, would seem to make the risk of pick damage acceptable. I'd carry a spare pick until getting a number of alpine routes under them, or until getting a "feel" for their durability in the mountains. I'd also carry a third tool if soloing anything biggish with evolutions.

Note however I said "ice routes". From what I gather they don't hold up to well on mixed terrain where you're placing them in iced cracks, or unexpectedly thin ice covered in snow where you've got the power still dialed up. A friend tried them in Scotland and snapped his evolution on the first swing. He's worn out 80 (eighty!) goulottes without breakage.

Re: Legs in Vancouver.

Whistler's leg selection is too watered down with unfit tourists.

Cheers

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a pair of Black Diamond Shrikes last season and I have been somewhat disappointed in their performance. My biggest beef is the adze and head configuration. The adze is too small and the head is just plain unconfortable to carry 'cane' style. Plus the hooking teeth shred my gloves. Also, the weight is not centered in the head so they do not swing as well on waterfalls. I add head weights which helps a lot. Black Diamond picks do not seem to be as durable as Charlet Moser, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that "fishstick" guy is the one you see down at Coleman glacier climbing overhanging ice boulder problems on the seracs with one tool and one beer in his hands...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i would recommend...if you can still find some....either the BD CFBP or the BD BP. i have a pair of BPs and they do everything. on WI they stick better than my partners shrikes and in the alpine they plug well and keep your hand warm because the rubber wink.gif

my 0.02$

Aidan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree Aidan those are excellent tools that I own myself and use now. But you can bet that I will be sporting a set of Flys this winter though.. I tried them out and prefer them. This winter I demoed the Fly, BD Cobra, the Quark, and Grivel light and top machines. For just alpine get the fly it is all you need and will also suffice when you graduate to water ice..

[This message has been edited by Cpt.Caveman (edited 07-25-2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody likes carbon?

I have had my Cobras a hear and a half and used them on every alpine route I did last year. I decided on them after demoing just about every other tool (except flys) and talking to folks who have had the carbons for a while; locals and pros alike.

As far as the picks being not as strong...I found (in a desperate situation) they made for a nice piton.

I have never had a problem with em. They won't go in as easy a a strait shaft in hard snow, but then strait shafts don't perform as well on the steeps and I have been more interested in technical routes. This said they plunge better than my old pulsars.

Comfort in cane position....if I am doing much cane then I don't need a technical tool and I can grab my Grivel Air tech. These things Rock!!! For this type of tool they even stick fairly well. I had to follow 2 out of 3 pitches of ice w/ one last year and found it far better than other traditional mtn axes.

2 cents

vt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VeticalTurtle,

While I agree all the tools I tried were good (There are more than I listed actually) I think the Carbon's are a steep price to pay for an alpine tool. The FLY is simple good and super light as well as cheap. Plus some Euro climbs M10 in them drsuess.gif

Plus a personal opinion is that BD is marketing those things well but I dont think they are better than any other in most cases. I think there is a definite hype in the market.

Cmonster don't rule out the Simonds either I really really wanted to try them and nobody seemed to have any to demo. I bet they are good. As a matter of fact I slammed Rock and Ice because a lot of times they never include that brand on reviews...

Let's hear more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, I've already got steep ice tools. Quasars. I love them even though I like the BD picks better. If I want something with radical bend like the Cobra, I already got them. I like hearing about the Fly, Shrike's, Simond, etc. Thanks and keep it up.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate BD grips. they just don't fit in my hand. maybe charlet will make a tool with a funky shaft like a cobra but a comfortable grip like a quark?? sigh.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cmonster,

If you can find an old used pair that someone is selling (maybe Second Bounce? [or whatever its called now]), the X-15 BRS or bare carbonfiber offers a pretty happy compromise between durability, weight, and performance. I used them for 10 years now on steeper water ice, and in the alpine. I recently went to BPs for the steeper water ice, but still use the X-15s. Straight shaft makes steep snow pluging easy. The naked carbon or BRS doesnt get as cold as metal. My only complaint is that the adze is not as good as the BP adze.

Otherwise, old straight shaft BPs would be my second choice, though the curved shaft is more comfortable on steep ice. They are heavier than X-15s though

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trango Captain Hooks, straight shaft:

They climb WI well and are all around good performers on alpine routes at a price you can't beat of $170 a piece. I broke a pick the 3rd or 4th time I used them and it turned out they had a recall on them. My new picks seem much stronger, surviving being pounded dull and resharpened several times. I do have some worries about the adze though. I broke one my first season and assumed it was made out of the same crappy metal as the picks. The replacement adze seemed to be made out of better metal but broke again after 2 years of use. I can't remember ever hitting anything but ice with it, so I'm still a little worried about the adze's metal. I got mine at Second Ascent, a Trango dealer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've a pair of BD X-15s with "Alaska" picks that I'm very happy with (50cm hammer and 55cm adze). I'm very confident in their proven design which is straightforward and simple (KISS all the way). I used the hammer and another piolet tool (75cm) on Liberty Ridge some years ago, and was well served. On water ice, the tools are a little rattly for hooking since the picks lack a full complement of teeth, but they swing well, and I don't worry about side punctures (which is a real concern with carbon fiber tools--one hole, and they're worthless. Plus I hat to rely soley on glue for head attachment).

The DMM Fly would be a great choice too, IMHO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capt.

it is wonderfull to get deals from working at a shop grin.gif Which is why I got the Cobras.

A nice feature I havent heard brought up is that all BD tools are very KISS. Steel heads which won't distort after a pounding, a hole in the head big enough for a biner, and you can use your spare pick to tighten or loosen the monster sized bolts that hold the picks in place. All this is on any of the BD tools.

Some things just come down to opinion. Yes there are tools that suck, but there are alot of great ones out there. Ya just got to figure out what you want and can afford plug that into your equation and make some compromises. I compromised price, but I also figure they will last a loooonnng time.

vt

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×