I've never climbed with leashes before (other then the ones between my axe and harness). I was round a friends flat recently and tried hanging from two straight handled axes without leashes and slipped off straight away. I then tried with leashes and was able to hang one handed for ages.
When do you find leashes beneficial? I can imagine on steep ice they might be pretty good (caveat, I've never climbed steep ice)
You answer your own question really. Useful for releasing gripped hands and allowing blood to recirculate somewhat.
Leashes are neccessary for climbing steeper ground with straight-handled axes. With modern ergonomic axes your hands are not going to slide off.
I don't see any advantages of wrist-leashes. Perhaps when you are getting pumped they might allow you to hold on for longer, but equally perhaps that pump could have been allayed by the greater ease of shaking-out that leashless climbing allows.
Can't speak for anyone else but not true for me. I climb steep ice more easily and more confidently with wrist loops. For me there is a very specific point where the advantages of leashless become outweighed by the increased difficulty of hanging on without wrist loops, and that's 85-90 degrees I reckon. I thinking about this yesterday morning when soloing and shunting laps on little local icefalls. At 70 -75 degrees when I can get most of my weight on my feet, I prefer leashless, although soloing I tend to put a harness on so I can clip my springer-leashes to it. If there are steeper bits than that, even just a body length of vertical, I prefer to have my wrist loops on. As I have vipers with android leashes I can change between the two for each pitch. I second just about everything leashless though.
I think though I just don't have very strong hands. All my hardest routes in summer have been cracks, I'm definitely happier hanging from a solid hand or fist jam than I am from even a perfect jug. I feel climbing with wrist loops gives me a similar feel to crack climbing in winter.
I think there is an advantage on ice in using leashes. On easy ground I go leashless, but on the short steep sections I clip the leashes in and use them to take the weight. I think on minus 1, minus 2 and coming out the cave on vanishing gully they were particularly useful.
As I only use the leashes for short sections there is no faff and I can very easily remove them for placing gear.
I don't have particularly good grip strength, and I use old style quarks on ice.
Mixed I would go leashless.
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