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goldenchild

ice tools for alpine

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Old style Quarks without grip rests, because they work and they're light.

 

When I first got Androids put on I dropped tools once or twice in th alpine but none since then. Mostly i leave the leashes in my pockets (not clipped on or on wrist), but someimes put them on for extra security if the foot placements are marginal but i can get good sticks, or if i might need to self-arrest.

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I love my alp wings, for me they are great for lower angle alpine stuff and they self-belay pretty good because they're not super bent. But, they don't do me any favors on steep water ice -- heavy and not enough curve for steep stuff/bulges, etc.

 

I've used the aztars, they seem like pretty good tools, too.

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BD Rage has a simmilar design as the Alp wing, but heavier. Like the Alp wing, it has been discontinued. Aztars are a good bet.

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IMO the new cobras are the best alpine tools on the market right now. They're lighter than quarks, perform at the same standard, and the pick drop is more condusive for lower angle alpine ground (albeit at the expense of hooking).

 

That being said I still use quarks, with the grip rest. I've never found any reason to take it off, if the snow is hard enough that you can't plunge with it, than its hard enough to use high dagger position. Also, I really like the umbillical set up. One bonus of this system that isn't talked about enough is that you will never drop those tools when there hanging around at belays, clipped to your harness on rappells, etc.

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Has anybody used these: http://www.rei.com/REI-Outlet/product/770050

 

I have been considering some gear whorage to get a lighter weight ice tool for easy alpine routes (NR Baker, Liberty Ridge, Etc). I already have quarks and x-monsters as well as a couple mountaineering axes. Also looking at something like the venom, although the quick change pinky rest on the Camp is intriguing. Havent decided yet to get one or two lighter tools. Also can't decide if it would be a good idea to get on in 57cm.

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One tip for the Android leashes is to use double sided velcro to attach the lower part of the leash instead of the hose clamp that comes with them. If you leave it just loose enough, it can slide easily towards the head of the tool. That way you can stay leashed in on lower angled terrain (otherwise its hard to actually grasp the top of the tool when leashed up).

 

Also, I love the old cobras for all things alpine. I just got a set of the new cobras. They are great for mixed and ice, haven't tried them on alpine yet.

 

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is it essential that the shaft is straight when considering tools for the alpine so that you can use them to plunge? Also, would a rubber grip and a grip rest be a concern? When I say grip rest I'm referring to the hooks you see at the end of the shafts of some tools.

 

When I say alpine tools I'm looking at doing stuff like Slalok, Matier (NE Face), Joffre - twisting couloir, Andromeda etc.

 

Nothing extremly difficult right now but hopefully I'll have tools I can grow into when my technical abilities improve and I can tackle more difficult alpine routes.

Edited by goldenchild

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i find the main thing when using a curved / grip rested water ice tool for plunging isnt that they cant plunge, just that they plunge less efficiently, so you use more energy to achieve the same level of security. If a route has harder climbing, the trade off seems worth it, however as you might see from my previous post/hijack, I think there are times when some compromise in performance is in order.

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is it essential that the shaft is straight when considering tools for the alpine so that you can use them to plunge? Also, would a rubber grip and a grip rest be a concern? When I say grip rest I'm referring to the hooks you see at the end of the shafts of some tools.

 

When I say alpine tools I'm looking at doing stuff like Slalok, Matier (NE Face), Joffre - twisting couloir, Andromeda etc.

 

Nothing extremly difficult right now but hopefully I'll have tools I can grow into when my technical abilities improve and I can tackle more difficult alpine routes.

 

I would say that, IMHO, the cheapest reasonably modern tools would suit you just fine. I own new Cobras, and love them, but there's people that climb much harder than I with straight shafted Charlet Pulsars :grlaf: in the alpine.

 

One thing that I will say about the Black Diamond tools is that their griprest is a bit lower profile than the Quarks, making it that much easier to plunge with them, but it's such a minor point, probably not worth mentioning.

 

I'd suggest putting together a list of features that really speak to you, and going for the best deal that fits that list.

 

And if you're like some of us, you'll find a reason to get a new tool in the next year to satiate your gear habit.

 

Have fun!

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Has anybody used these: http://www.rei.com/REI-Outlet/product/770050

 

I have been considering some gear whorage to get a lighter weight ice tool for easy alpine routes (NR Baker, Liberty Ridge, Etc). I already have quarks and x-monsters as well as a couple mountaineering axes. Also looking at something like the venom, although the quick change pinky rest on the Camp is intriguing. Havent decided yet to get one or two lighter tools. Also can't decide if it would be a good idea to get on in 57cm.

 

Go with the 57cm. The extra reach is nice.

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I have a set of straight shaft BD carbon fiber Black Prophets as well as a set of the old style Cobras. I have used both sets for WI5 ice and gnarly alpine climbs ranging from the Cassin to Willis Wall. The steeper and rockier the climb the more I tend to use the Cobras.

 

As for straight shafts - not needed as long as the shaft can be plunged down into the snow easily is what is important with one caveat - curve shaft tools when plunged should be used as anchors very thoughtfully as is not set right can come out much easier than a straight shaft tool.

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just going over the posts again and was wandering if there's any significant difference btwn the old and new cobras that makes one model better than the other for alpine?

 

Any opinions on the Taa-k-oons?

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I have a pair of Taakoons. They're OK, seem heavier than my Cobras, or maybe just not balanced as well; more vibration with the aluminum shaft. Head's too small for pounding pins, so I never bothered trying them for winter alpine. Used them for water ice a bunch, in Ouray and Canada, and like them for that. Am planning on trading up for new Cobras

Edited by mike_m

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Petzl Aztarex; an 18 oz version of the Quark, with grip rest.

 

Aztarex + Quark for harder stuff

 

Aztarex + Venom for stuff requiring much more shaft plunges.

 

I personally don't much about the Venom other than the straight lower shaft. Not enough knuckle clearance, not very secure placements in general compared to an Aztarex, which is bomb proof.

 

Leaving the grip rest on your Quarks or Aztarex gives you perfect dagger placements and zero knuckle bash.

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The curved handled tools are overkill for any of the "moderate" alpine ice routes including things like Slipstream. All of them are a compromise for plunging...the Aztarex being one of the better imo as well.

 

Although the Aztarex is a bit too light in the head for me on rock hard alpine ice. You get spoiled with the better "modern" ice tools when the ice gets steep or hard and brittle.

 

One of my favorite tools is the Grivel, Air Tech Evo.

http://www.grivelnorthamerica.com/products.php?gid=1&id=7

Bit pricey and picks that will wear out in time. But I have some older axes I still use without the ability to change picks.

 

Old Cobra and new Cobra's are totally different tools. But the older Cobra will get you up most any modern alpine climb and be better suited for the moderate alpine routes you want to do now.

If bought at the "right price" they would be a good set of tools to grow with imo.

 

No clue how tall you are but most everything we are discussing here the tools are 50sm. Most alpine "ice" routes, even the most difficult, are going to have lots of plunging and a longer axe makes some sense a majority of the time. I'm 6'1" and use a pair of 50cm tools a majority of time when at least one 60 or 70 would make much more sense on anything but steeper water ice.

 

Helps to remember that a alpine ice route with 70 degree ice will generally have a impressive reputation. Put a pitch or two of something like Grade 3 WI (Cascade for example) in an alpine environment and you have some serious climbing...all easily done with a simple curved pick and a straight shaft.

 

 

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Sorry for the spam but I have a pair of old BD Straight Shaft CFBPs for sale. Some of the best pure alpine tools IMHO.

 

$200.

 

Selling them only cause I just don't do much alpine stuff with them anymore.

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Petzl Aztarex. good plunging shaft, light, good pick, and GripSwitch for extreme ice or mixed.

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