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rocky_joe

Aztarex or Viper

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Opinions? I have a cool little deal where I can get them for the same price. But I have a few questions regarding each...

Aztarex...how does it handle alpine style ice?

...water ice?

...self arrest?

 

Viper...any thoughts on using it for schtuff like Sunshine, Reid HW,

JPG, N. Sister, etc. or is this tool meant strictly for

steep ice (both alpine and water)?

...can it arrest?

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while I don't own either, how about an opinion?

 

I would think the aztarex is better for the alpine stuff than the viper. The viper would be better for the waterice stuff. You can arrest with either, just not as easy as a regular mountain axe. Actually, the feet matter most with self arrest anyway, so the axe is of less importance.

 

While I am not that familiar with the routes you mentioned, seems like both tools seem overkill for what you are doing with it. All of the "bad ass" routes were done originally with long straight wooden axes.

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I own a pair of Aztarex tools. For what they are (super lightweight alpine tool) I think they do a pretty good job. They climb alpine ice and snow very well. They can climb waterfall ice but sometime they feel almost too light for bullet hard water ice and you end up using a lot of energy trying to get a good stick. Probably a better followers tool in this situation. They swing great though. I recently had to do some mixed steps in the 'pine a few weeks ago and kinda wished I had a tool with a trigger on it and something a little burlier. The tools sometimes feel scary light in those situations.

 

The viper and aztarex seem to warrant different situations in terms of their use. Aztarex = super light, moderate alpine (AI 3-4, WI 4) the Viper = harder more technical routes, more mixed, etc.

 

just my two cents

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I take my vipers everywhere...the viper swings better, but weighs a decent bit more. Don't think there is going to be much difference trying to arrest with the viper or the Aztarex. If you plan on just climbing volvcanoes, not much need for a technical ice tool.

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So the idea is to get a tool that will serve me for several years at least. And while this season I'm only looking at volcanoes, I haven't begun to consider what I want to get on next season. The ultimate ambition is to climb stuff like TC on Dragontail...more technical alpine. And again while that is the goal I wouldn't mind having a tool that would allow me to go ice cragging once in a while...so, Viper or Aztarex?

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Why not a pair of Axtars? They're somewhere in between Vipers and Aztarexs. A bit heavier and more burly but still mostly an easier-alpine tool. My partner Joel was using a pair last weekend and liked 'em.

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yeah those are the same as the aztarex, they just have a rubberized handle, also $30 more each. I hate making decisions.

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I've climbed with both, and both work well for alpine and pure waterfall climbing. I'm fairly sure you'd be happy with either tool - however, consider that, at least in the US, Black Diamond replacement picks are vastly easier to come by (just more widely available)than the Charlet products. Given that you can get a great deal on either tool, this issue would tilt me towards the viper... nothing sucks worse than being unable to obtain new picks for an expensive ice-tool that you really love -- I've been there...

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Both are good tools. Hard to find a bad tool these days. But they are both technical ice tools. Neither is a tool I'd want to have to self arrest with. Most will want a simple mountaineering axe for that use. The Aztarex is more a surgical scapel in the alpine with limited use for most. The Viper the everyday knife that will work for any job.

 

The Aztarex is very light, uninsulated and easy to plunge. A decent climbing tool on alpine ice not so good on hard water ice or black ice. Not so good on really hard technical ice and not much clearence. The Viper is a do anything tool, insulated handle, good clearence and also plunges well. Viper is good on any kind of ice at any difficulty.

 

A few of my climbing partners like the Viper better than the more expensive Cobra. Viper would be better compared to the Quark than the Azterex or Axtar. Quark is another all around tool that will climb anything, any time.

 

I love Petzel tools. But the Azterex is more akin to the Nomic in that it is a limited use, and a specialised tool. Two of the very best tools if you have the need on terrain they were designed for. Azterex was designed for super light weight, hard technical alpine climbing, leashless. But neither is a tool I'd suggest as your only tool. As a tool you can grow with, the Viper is more useful in a broader range of climbing (like easy or hard local ice cragging) and the obvious choice if you are to have only one set of tools.

 

If you continue to climb you'll have more than one set of tools anyway.

 

Quark, Cobra and Viper are three of a very limited group that you can put in that box of, "If I can only have one set of tools".

 

Volcanos? Get yourself a set of trekking poles and/ or a cheap, longer alpine axe. Trust me, a 50cm technical ice tool (which is what we are discussing here) will SUCK on anything but the the shortest bit of the hardest routes on NW volcanos.

 

 

 

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wow, dane...you just made up my mind. thanks a lot.

 

*I guess I should have said that I have an axe...I'm getting the tool for that steep bit on mountains like Hood(not SS), Jeff and North Sister with the hopes of getting to harder stuff in the next few years.

 

Edited by rocky_joe

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Joe are you buying a pair or just a hammer to mate up with your alpine axe?

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today...i'm buying a hammer to 2nd my axe

 

next paycheck...completing the pair.

 

So I'm not just looking for a second tool, but also trying to figure out which pair is best. Wish I didn't have to colllege kid sized income I currently have, but gotta work with what I've got.

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Cool! Just checking because as a second tool mated with an alpine axe the Azterex hammer is sweet.

 

But the Viper not so much as a 2nd because it will be a lot heavier than some of the newer lwt alpine axes. (but what isn't)

 

As a matched pair either model is a nice set up.

 

Have fun with what ever you get!

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