/ Dodgy climbing axe bought on ebay
I've never had an axe fail like this before so I'm thinking the pick can't have been a genuine. I get the impression now that someone has replaced a worn pick by cutting one out of a piece of tin or something. Is this what has likely happened or is there a problem with Mountain Technology picks? I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this.
In fairness I've bought loads of climbing equipment off ebay over the years and this is the first time I've ever had a problem with anything.
FWIW, you must've hit something very hard to do that. Even if it was just mild steel! Is it magnetic? That's as far as my metallurgy skills can go over the internet I'm afrad.
I had a set of vertige axes for a few years a while back. Brilliant axes and totally bomproof.
If someone has knowingly sold you this axe as a fake they are clearly an egit. That kind of catastrophic failure could obviously have dire consequences in the wrong situation. Ive never seen any axes do this. Itd be interesting to have the material tested somehow.....
HB (Mountain Technology's parent company) closed down in 2005, and I believe MT were defunct before then.
Maybe its been sharpened using a grinding wheel and lost its temper making it soft?
Is that a steel pick? It looks incredibly soft and ductile.
The colour of that pick doesn't look right to me. Does the pick have any markings on it like the manufacturers name or a CE/UIAA marking? It's either a fake or it was never tempered properly. The picks are almost impossible to get hold of btw.
> I've never had an axe fail like this before so I'm thinking the pick can't have been a genuine. I get the impression now that someone has replaced a worn pick by cutting one out of a piece of tin or something. Is this what has likely happened or is there a problem with Mountain Technology picks? I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this.
> In fairness I've bought loads of climbing equipment off ebay over the years and this is the first time I've ever had a problem with anything.
Hard to tell from that angle, but are you sure that it is a Vertige?
I have both the older and newer Vertiges, and they would never do that. The picks were all tempered stainless, so what you have there IMHO is a copy, made because the owner couldn't get spares. The colour looks like mild steel to me too.
I have been successful in obtaining some through here and through EBay, and indeed have a spare, (though I'm saving it for obvious reasons), so I'm sure you can. The axes are excellent, you just need to do a better job of getting replacement picks....
I agree with Timjones is doesn't look like a Vertige axe.
It's a Vertige Alpinist. Still shouldn't be doing that like.
I've bent many a BD fusion pick and a few grivel ones and some have been fairly new picks. It's always going to happen when your swinging something metal anywhere near rock. Sure you didn't hit something under the ice?
I have several MT axes (admittedly not Vertiges) and the colour of the head/pick is much brighter than in your photo. I'm no metallurgist but that seems to support the view that your pick is an inferior replacement.
I'm not the metallurgist of the family but that looks wrong squared. I had an MT axe which had been sharpened on a grinding wheel, it hit rock and the end broke off clean with no deformity suggesting that heat generated in sharpening makes it brittle and therefore less likely to deform. I don't think this is due to heat altered tempering. Looks like poor quality metal and so not original pick.
Diluted, Son of emminent metallurgist. Not much knowledge passed down though!
I agree with you on this, it looks like someone has home made a pick because the replacements are so hard to get hold of and the result is this.
On the bright side, you now have a specialised tool for reaching around corners
I should have said in my original post that I've also got two much older Mountain Technology axes that have seen a lot of action and never let me down.
Looks like a slightly worrying learing experience!
I made my own pick for a MT Vertige, it didn't look too bad until I used it and discovered the difference between the kind of steel used for making iceaxe heads and the kind used for some old bracket... suffice to say I won't be selling it to anyone!
Wow, that's unbelievable! No way a real pick would do that. Suggest sending it to the BMC technical officer for investigation or at least email them the photo.
Likewise. Especially Grivel, whose steel is a wee bit mild and blunts and bends like anything.
Mountain technology were based in Onich and was run by Hugh McNicholl, Hugh moved to Australia a while ago and passed away last August 2012,
Hugh's axes were well made so to see one fail like the one in the picture is strange to say the least. Head replaced? possibly, hit a rock? possibly
Difficult one anyway, contact the seller and see what he says.
I've bent a grivel goulotte pick before now, and I have seen others also.
It basicaly said that 17/4 ph stainless is the correct material to make new picks from.
It dosn't look right [the metal]. Only time i've ever seen that before is when someone used a super lightweight alloy ski-touring axe on mixed ground (oops!).
I'd be tempted to report the seller. Tantamount to criminal negligence if it was done knowingly.
These must be fake picks , real ones would not deform but simply break.
I have never seen any genuine pick deform like this & I have climbed on lots of different technical axes.
Respectfully , you would be better off saving money on things like buying second user clothing as its just not so critical if its not 100% genuine.
> Respectfully , you would be better off saving money on things like buying second user clothing as its just not so critical if its not 100% genuine.
Easy to say, but in practice, I know that I simply haven't got the money to justify buying much if anything new... Second hand is a godsend for those on a tight budget, you do however have to accept a certain risk that unless you can give it a thorough visual inspection and hold it in your hand before parting with cash, you may end up with something you'll have to bin... Of course that's actually relatively rare.
Ropes are particularly sketchy, as there's more to miss when inspecting them and as such I'd rather not buy them from someone I didn't trust, especially not sight-unseen.
First point grinding the pick sharp is NOT necessarily a bad thing to do, if you are careful not to introduce too much heat into the metal , and to lose the temper to this level would result in A loss of so much material it would be f*cking useless after and B discolour it so much warning bells would be ringing LOUD and clear.
So Fake pick seems likely, OK where does that leave the situation, Did the seller know what he/she was selling? if so, they are happy to endanger someones life,,,,,,,why not just hit the buyer on the head with it, Trotsky style?
Advice,,,get a Hammer, not too big, but one you can weild swiftly, find seller of Axe and break all their knuckles with said hammer, and then extract money from their debit card/wallet, explaining that it could have been worse, you could have stuck it in their eye.....
CALM Down, Deep breath,,,,,,,,,
Well dodgy that pick mate, but the important thing is that you're ok. Personally, i've never bought any item of climbing gear second hand and i never will. Is it worth the risk?
You'd think that hardwear with no moving parts like an axe would be ok though! You'd want some photos of the pick in particular to check how battered it is but a fake pick is not something you'd expect...
What i think you might have is a copy which has not been heat treated or the material is not good enough. So you have bent it. If you send the pick off(BMC) they will be able to tell if it is a fake.
If you get an old file and heat it up with a blow torch then drop it in a bucket of water, let it cool. You will be able to break it on the side of a table. Ive seen it done.
I'll be a lot more careful about buying used gear now and will examine any pick closely before using an axe. If I had a nice 50 grand a year job, I'd buy all my gear brand new, no problem, but I'm self employed and times are hard. If it wasn't for the likes of ebay I wouldn't be able to afford to pursue this wonderful but expensive hobby.
To clarify, this isn't called tempering. Thats a water quench after the initial quality HT.
Tempering is a low HT after quenching to reduce brittleness.
If you are interested I would love to take a closer look at that pick, we'd do a few micro-hardness indents and some metalography, maybe some back scatter SEM and x-ray diffraction if anything interesting came out of the light micrscopy? I'm guessing you are in Donny I would do the testing at Sheffield uni so you could even watch if you like, I wont be back from china til march tho
I work in Procurement, including safety sensitive materials, and we have to watch out for fake products, and of course they target the premium brands as people will pay more for them, so more profit. (No point in faking an inferior product, if you want to make money. )
We find that the manufacturers are very keen to find out what the fakers are up to, so I would let them know, even if it was bought on eBay.
My question to the OP would be 'Why on earth would you buy an axe on Ebay that you know must be at least 10 years old, not know its previous history and still expect it to perform?
because that company made fantastic axes(for time) with a reknowned build quality? And he is cutting his cloth to suit his budget?
I have an old vertige pick you can have, to keep you going. It's old, rusty and has been sharpened a lot. It's only 165mm along the bottom egde. You'll be banging your knuckles I'm afraid. Couldn't post it until next week though.
I worked in a shop and solds of MT tools; they broke as much as any others, particularly the batch of Technicals with name stamped on the blades!
I do remember the bolts being a pain to remove at times and loosing some skins from knuckles too.
> because that company made fantastic axes(for time) with a reknowned build quality? And he is cutting his cloth to suit his budget?
Precisely. I already had a Vertige climbing axe and walking axe, both nearly 20 years old that still perform very well to this day so I thought a newer Vertige would be at least as reliable. Also, yes I can't afford to splash out £300 quid on a brand new pair of Quarks or such like so I look for stuff on ebay to suit my limited budget.
Elsewhere on the site
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are... Read more
Will Sim and Andy Inglis have made the second ascent of VIII,9 on Ben Nevis, followed by Will making a rare... Read more
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
PowerFingers is a simple, easy to use product which is incredibly effective for Climbers who require finger strength and... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
At a bar in Llanberis an old man chimed in And I thought he was out of his head Being a young man I just laughed it off When... Read more