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jacemullen

Viper or Quark

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I'm looking to pick up a tool for Sierra/Adirondack Ice as well as some alpine stuff, such as liberty ridge.

 

I'm torn right now between the Viper and the Quark, as they both seem like great tools and I don't think I can go wrong with either. What would be best? I've heard some not-so-great things about the BD picks, how big of an issue is that? Also the Quark trigrest, how easy is it to break, and how screwed are you if it does break?

 

Thanks!

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Get nomics, if you're climbing in the dacks for any significant amount of time you'll have access to WI5's and mixed climbs which are much more fun with a more technical tool. I use my nomics in alpine terrain and have yet to wish for a set of quarks. I've found that the Dry picks double as a good spike (hold tool by handle, stick serrated top into the ice) when moving across/on/up glaciers

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The BD pick issue is mostly historical. I haven't seen any new reports of picks breaking in several years. Further, they've done a fantastic job of listening to users - the newest Laser picks don't need any tuning, they've really got the tooth profile right now.

 

Quarks seem like the better option for what you're doing. Keep in mind their performance on mixed is so-so. You would probably be better served with Nomics (but poor performance on Lib Ridge) or something like the Cassin X-All Mountain which should tick all your requirements nicely, not to mention very affordable.

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The BD pick issue is mostly historical. I haven't seen any new reports of picks breaking in several years.

 

I thought so too, then less than a year ago I broke a B-rated pick that had less than one season of use on it. A guy in the party ahead of us on the same route broke the handle off of his Grivel Matrix. Alpine climbing is tough on your toys! I can't really fault BD here. I've never been accused of climbing delicately, the ice was pretty thin, and I should have used T-rated picks, carried a spare, or both.

 

I think you can run the quark w/o a hammer, if that makes any difference.

Edited by Jake_Gano

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My recommendation (having owned vipers and used quarks) would be to go for the vipers. I would also throw the X-all Mountain into consideration as well. The vipers will serve you well for everything except hard mixed, but they will be fine for starting out - I happily climbed M7 with mine. As far as BD picks go, I would agree with Jon that they are pretty good these days - though in 10+ years of climbing with both BD and Petzl/Charlet Moser tools I've only ever bent one pick and that was on my Nomics. Currently (if you care) I only own Nomics and green Fusions. I upgraded from Vipers to Cobras then to Nomics as I got more into mixed climbing, then got some fusions for alpine climbing (love the spike) and harder mixed.

 

The quarks (in my opinion) are too light for hard ice, too straight for moderate mixed and have that stupid adjustable trigger rest that will break.

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I have both X-All Mtns and old style Quarks and the Quarks are better for snow, the Cassins are better for ice.

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The quarks (in my opinion) are too light for hard ice, too straight for moderate mixed and have that stupid adjustable trigger rest that will break.

 

Truth. I loved my Vipers, replaced them with Quarks, hated the Quarks and switched to Nomics instead. I still kinda miss the swing of the Vipers but Nomics are amazing otherwise.

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The trigrests WILL break if they get slammed against a bulge. I broke both of mine on my first weekend using them while toping out and accidently hitting them trying to mantle onto a step. I don't think they are necessary, but for more sustained climbing (WI4 and up) and matching both hands on one tool, they are great. I'll probably eventually buy new trigrests for that reason, I just need to be disciplined and remove them if I'm climbing on easier terrain. I think if Petzl made them from metal this wouldn't have happened.

 

Still, I think the Quarks are amazing tools, and superlight! My friend climbs with heavier Vipers and I preferred the Quarks hands down as they stuck much easier and effortlessly.

 

 

Edited by bargainhunter

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