/ Defective ice axe - distributor won't replace.
Back in El Chalten, I noticed that the spike at the bottom of the axe was bent off to the side slightly. That's odd I thought. That has never happened to any of the ice tools I've owned, including a different model from this manufacturer. All of which I have used far more than this pair.
Back in the UK I returned them to the retailer I bought them from, who in turn returned them to the distributor. A week or so later the axe comes back with a note saying that the bent spike is due to accidental damage and therefore not covered under warranty. The problem is that the ice axe has never been damaged accidentally. It has only ever been used as an ice axe is intended to be used. I have never dropped it, fallen onto it or bent the spike in a crack.
Obviously I'm not happy with this and return the axe back to the distributor. They in turn return it to the manufacturer for further investigation.
Some time passes. Today I receive a report from the manufacturer, stating that in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired. They say it has been accidentally damaged after intensive use - since when was two routes intensive use? They also suggest that the crampon marks in the rubber handle, caused from tapping my axe against my crampons to release balled up snow, is the cause.
I feel pretty let down by both the company and the distributor, who up until this point both had my respect as one of the best around.
Can anyone suggest where I go with this now? I have no axe to grind (it's bent!) all I really want is my axe replaced.
It sounds quite unreasonable, but there is a chance that you did damage the axes by accident possibly in transit or alike. However I would argue that an ice axe should normally be robust enough to handle that sort of abuse without getting damaged, but perhaps something unusual did happen.
Perhaps you can negotiate a 'cost price' axe from the manufacturer as a compromise?
Can you post pics?
Bummer! I assume the spike is non-replaceable?
The claim that the bent spike could be down to tapping crampons is quite absurd. Sounds all a bit strange and that the company and distributor are being rather petty. Have you bought much stuff from them before?
A lot of my climbing gear is made by this company. I have always considered them to be one of the very best.
To Stevo: I can post pics, but that would give the game away as to who the manufacturer is. I don't want to name them at present.
If you want to challenge, next stage is along the lines of further negotiation/court action, etc. To negotiate further, probably, and for court action, certainly, you will need to get (and pay for) an appropriate independent professional report and see what that states.
Remember your contract is with the retailer.
I assume you have told them that you have a lot of their kit and have been a regular buyer? If not, then worth making a big deal about that. Hopefully they wouldn't want to loose someone who has spent a lot of money with them.
Tricky one this. Having just had a conversation in the office about slightly dodgy returns I sympathise with both sides (theoretically at least - I'd need to see the product and know which of the two/three usual suspects you are talking about to come down for one side or the other).
I think you know the sadly limited options you have now: You can take them (the shop that is) to court, in which case the burden of proof that it was damage falls on them if you are inside 12months from purchase. The shop is of course allowed to rely on the manufacturer's opinion as an expert witness, as it were. Honestly I've no idea what chances you have in that situation.
Or, you can name and shame, publicly or in the trade with whispers in the ears of those you know.
Playing the devils advocate here:
It is quite well known that a lot of climbing gear has a very variable life, and can get trashed on first use. Usually people think of ropes, but other kit too. That all your other axes lasted well doesn't mean you can't legitimately break this one very fast.
You say you've never bent it in a crack - can you be sure? If you caught it between two rocks on easy ground, stumbled a bit, then yanked it free, would you remember?
@crayfish: I doubt the company is saying that the spike got bent tapping against the crampons; rather they think the damage to the grip indicates he's trodden on it.
Yep, I bet they think it's been jammed in a crack and used for a leg-up.
Seemed strange but just what I got from the post. Even treading on an axe would take some real effort to bend the spike, especially in crampons.
Is it actually unusable? Which part has actually deformed or moved?
I recon it would depend on the axe, and what happened to it. If I took my walking axe, put the spike in a narrow slot so the shaft was held up at 45 degrees, then 'stumbled' onto it with most of my bodyweight, I reckon I'd bend the spike. The spike on my axe is made of about 1.5mm mild steel plate, cut into a triangle with a hole through the middle.
I'd have thought those marks were pretty common on most ice axes. Most crampons ball up in the right (wrong) snow conditions.
Even if I had trodden on the shaft of the axe, which I have, I see no reason why this would bend the spike.
Well, there we differ. I have had my walking axe for over 10 years, I've used it to knock snow off my crampons countless times. The pick is bent from torquing, quite a lot of paint has flaked off from contact with rocks and the spike is worn round. But the rubber grip is still mostly intact.
And as I have already said, I'm fairly sure I could bend the spike by standing on the shaft.
edit: PS. Maybe re-read your last sentence in your last post. Have you or haven't you stood on the shaft?
I think Jacks point holds it could have quite easily got trapped between some rocks as you stumbled and you didn't realise the damage you were doing. It's far from clear the damage was down to a manufacturing or design fault. Without pictures I doubt you'll get any closer to resolution on this.
If negotiation fails completely and you feel the manufacturer is treating you unfairly as they know you are unlikely to take this to small claims court, then you could mention you are a regular and well known UKC poster and that you are going to put the pics up on UKC to get consensus opinion before deciding how to further progress.
My personal opinion based on the evidence you have given is that it's inconclusive how the damage occurred and if the axes should have stood up to this damage or not.
Yeah I'd agree. But that's no longer treading on the spike; it's torquing it! To bend it just by treading on it (the other end being on your hand) would be damn hard.
Look up "not fit for purpose," and send them a letter pointing out that.
Was there any marking on the spike that would have indicated it may have got trapped in a crack?
Where does the bend occur (half way down the pommel or out of sight where it meets the handle)?
How do you think the pommel got bent?
The bend is at the top of the spike.
I haven't got that axe at the moment but I don't think there are any markings. Perhaps these are hidden by the plastic hand rest.
To Jack. Sorry that was a typo. Just to reiterate. I haven't stood on the shaft.
Also I presume your ten year old walking axe is B rated, not a T rated climbing axe like the one I am having problems is. I also imagine that the spike didn't bend the second time you used it.
If it was mine then I'd just bent it back on not worry about it. Same as if I bent a pick - which I have done.
If this is a big manufacturer then they will have sold a lot of these and I can think of any ongoing issue with bendy spikes.
I'd be tempted to do the same - but then it's unhelpful if the makers are saying it should be retired!
I'm trying to think of different spike types - some are cut from flat sheets of metal - I could see how that could bend (and be bent back probably), but some other types, one piece forged or a round spike in alloy for example - not sure how they would bend. It would be interesting to see a pic, but like Tom says that would somewhat give the game away!
They always say that. They'd say that about a bent pick and a rope that needed chopped down due to wear+tear,
I think I can guess the axe and if I'm right then I reckon it would be pretty easy to bend and then bend back.
It is in fact all T rated (shaft and head/pick), but that is somewhat by the by. I was a little surprised that I bent the pick, but I didn't take it to be a manufacturing defect, it's just something that happens when torquing hard on an ice axe. I just bent it back nearly straight and carried on using it. The age of the axe at the time is immaterial; the bending is purely due to what I was doing with it at the time.
At the end of the day, either
1) Your axe has a manufacturing defect
2) Your axe has a design defect
3) Your axe has been subject to forces greater than it is designed for
Case 2 is unlikely if it's a common model and no-one else has had problems (at least I got the impression it's a common model?). You think it's case 1? The manufacturer thinks it's case 3. We can't tell either way without looking at it.
Is the spike so bent that the axe cannot be used normally? A slight bend in the spike?
If you can use the axe as normal then - crack on!
It is bent off to 5 degrees or so. Still usable, but not ideal.
It wouldn't be a massive issue for me if I hadn't have only used it twice.
5 degrees is a pretty tiny amount. Tbh not surprised you didnt get a warranty on it.
Does the axe begin with Q btw?
On the other hand, that amount of bend doesn't sound to me as if it would make the axe unusable or dangerous in any significant way. But as others have observed, without photos of the damage it's difficult to say either way.
If youd bought an axe and used it twice, would you be happy if the spike bent ? Bending it back as has been suggested will only weaken it further.
Id bet that Hay is right in his assumption that it begins with a Q.
We're you levering off loose flakes, rescuing stuck nuts, chipping away at verglass? I've only ever managed to bend an adze slightly, by giving it a good twist doing DIY on a stone wall.
Obviously from the responses there's a range of opinion on this so no absolute right and wrong but fwiw I would expect to be able to stick the spike of a T rated tool in a crack and haul/stand close in on the shaft without deforming the spike and this to me would be one of the criteria that distinguished a technical tool from a walking axe. I'd name and shame so people know what they can and can't expect from these particular tools - if the manufacturers are saying this is par for the course then I don't imagine many serious mixed climbers will be wanting to use these tools
If Q******,you should have bought Vipers, Vipers beat others every time!
Probably.....but how often have heard of the spike being bent on a tool? Me, never! :-)
I'm guessing it's a fairly new model that begins with an A.
It's not what I would expect from my climbing tools so new/unused and I'd be pretty hacked off about it. Wouldn't your case be with the retailer though rather than the producer?
It would depend on what I'd done with it or to it. As Jack B said earlier, pretty much any climbing gear can get trashed on first use.
Wit? Even the old Q***** are better than Vipers:-)
If you can't be bothered posting a pic then it's a bit hard to assess the problem.
If it us only the spike I might be inclined to put 'a little ' heat on it ,and bend it straight in a vice.
Or can it be removed and replaced as was mentioned?
Is it riveted in or crimped ?
if riveted it can be drilled out and a new one re- riveted, or the old one straightened, and put back.
Ideally you just need to try and get the spare part from the manufacturer if they will not do it for you.
From the sounds of things the axe is still perfectly serviceable for general mountaineering, so if it were me I'd just keep using it - considering I'm unlikely to be doing any technical spike jamming moves that are at risk from catastrophic spike failure. Obviously if you are planning on that kind of route you might feel differently!
I had a MT Vertige many years ago, and the spike fell out one day - was there when I went out, and absent on returning to the car. No funky moves in a grade 3 gully in Torridon, and I suspect a duff lot of aluminium on the spike 'holder' (they changed the design a year or two later). I just kept using it as for my lowly requirements it made little practical difference. Over the years it developed a rather rounded bottom, but that has happened to me too so I can't really complain.
So my feeling is that whilst you haven't had much useful support from the manufacturer it isn't worth losing sleep over - and vote with your feet when you need a new tech axe, or ask for a no-fault at-cost replacement if you want to try them out again. However having had one fail maybe it is best to move on. You could send them a link to this thread as it reads well and you clearly aren't going down the public defamation route that some others on here have tried over the years.
I think you have been very restrained and even handed on this thread (which could have rapidly descended into a lynch mob) - good on you.
Morgan, I don't think this is a "can't be bothered" but a not wanting to descend into a flaming of a specific company without good reason. Tom is asking for a little 'triangulation' as to the opinions of others.
This happened to me too, still love the wife as much as ever though
It isn't about not being bothered. I have the pics here on my computer. At the moment I don't want to name the company.
Besides when I sent photographs of the axe to the company they were unable assess from the pictures.
To everyone else: This isn't really about the axe being useable/unusable with a slightly bent spike. It is about the fact that an import safety component of my axe malfunctioned the second time I used it. I didn't notice the spike bend and I didn't ever put excessive force through the axe. If the spike at the bottom of the axe bends easily, who is to say that the pick, shaft, or headset isn't going to be defective as well.
Are there any independent bodies I can get to inspect the axe?
Thanks for the advice.
The BMC technical committee looks at gear failure.
I think you seem a bit overly sure that you didn't unwittingly put excessive force on it. Basically, if you don't know how it happened you can't say for sure.
Please don't take this too personally but your certainty does seem a wee bit arrogant.
Hope they send you a knew one anyway!
Could it have happened during travel? Bad baggage handling? Seems highly unlikely to be a manufacturing fault IMO.
Day off today and the weathers pish, hence on my computer!
I once bought new picks for my Pulsars, both were seriously bent after one route!! My dad took them to his work and Rockware tested them, exposing a softening in metal a few mm from tip. Armed with this info, took them back to shop (who were suitably impressed with my knowledge of metalurgy), sent them back to CM, promptly received a new set of picks and the bent ones straightened - result!!
I then went onto bend the (faulty) picks most weekends, hammering them straight and a sharp pair for Beinn Udlaidh.
Over 40 replies and the OP still hasn't posted a pic of the damage?
Because he doesn't want to out the manufacturer on an unresolved issue, which is fair enough.
In reply to Dave 88:
The manufacturer's have said their bit, they think it's been damaged but not defective and consider it unsafe to use.
"Outing" the manufacturer in the interests of allowing folk to see the damage for themselves is a perfectly reasonable thing to do now.
The OP is trying to obtain justification for his complaint, and doing that blind means the people on here who would have a clue, can't help.
wouldn't support his argument.
I would go back to the manufacturer and explain that I'd like to negotiate a settlement based on the fact that we don't know how the damage occurred. If they will not negotiate just say to them straight that he is going to post pics up on here to get consensus from the climbing community. Its up to them how they want to play it then.
My guess is though that the pics will not be conclusive either and we will be left in a similar situation. That said if there are no major nicks on the pommel it would make it less likely that the pommel was damaged by misuse but it still wouldn't be conclusive.
FWIW, the UIAA standard tests the strength of the shaft, not the spike - see the diagrams of the testing method here: http://www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/Safety/Standards/Safety-Standards-Pictorial/UIAA152-Ice-tools-1.j...
My 60cm, straight-shafted walking axe has a T-rated shaft but that doesn't make it a technical axe.
In reply to TRip:
I think this statement is stretching your argument somewhat. To call the spike "an important safety component" is over-egging it rather IMO. By that logic, the Petzl Nomic is inherently unsafe, since it doesn't have a spike at all. The spike isn't used in arrest. I'd say that it's a functional rather than a safety component. And to say it "malfunctioned" also strikes me as being rather wide of the mark. A five degree bend doesn't sound like it would make any significant difference to the functionality of the spike, and you say yourself that you didn't even notice the bend while you were using the axe.
Now that is a valid point - much more so than the previous points in your argument. Your confidence in the overall capability of the axe has been undermined by it sustaining an unexpected degree of damage from what you consider to have been moderate use.
However, the distributor has examined the axe and told you that the damage is not the result of a manufacturing or design fault. So your choices now seem to be:
a) As you proposed, have the axe examined by an independent body ie challenge the technical accuracy of the distributor's assessment, or
b) Ignore the technical accuracy issue and appeal to the distributor or the retailer on the basis of your loss of confidence in the axe, that manufacturer's products as a whole etc etc.
It's also important to bear in mind that, assuming that you bought the axe in the UK, the Sale of Goods Act means that your contract is with the retailer, not the distributor. The distributor's involvement is solely to help the retailer to determine whether the product was fit for purpose when sold, and so far they have said that it was. Of course, if the distributor agreed that the product was faulty then the retailer would expect the distributor to reimburse them for replacing your axe, but that doesn't alter the relationships between the various parties in law. Yes, some distributors will intervene to resolve the issue directly with the customer, in order to protect their image and that of their brand, but they are not legally obliged to do so.
Ultimately it's up to the retailer to make a call on whether they refuse to replace the axe and risk losing your custom in future, or take the hit on replacing the axe without any reimbursement from the distributor. (I suppose they could always sell it on eBay as "used with minor damage"!)
If you still want to pursue the issue to the bitter end then raising an action through the Small Claims Court process is probably your easiest route in law. If the retailer decided to argue the case, rather than just settling, then you'd probably need to put forward some evidence from a qualified, independent body to counter the distributor's assessment that the retailer would put forward to support their case.
Fair enough but I wouldn't be overly concerned about naming the company especially if you get no joy. If the spike is bent at a right angle to the shaft i think you might have a problem. If you can still clip in to it and plunge it, then it may still be servicable.
Odd that you mention the following "in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired". If it isn't defective why should it be retired?
I once bought a mountaineering axe from a well known Italian company in the UK. I used it to cut steps on a French glacier and the adze bent. I went to the local 'climbers' climbing shop in Cham to buy a new one. They said don't be daft we'll replace it for you as it's obviously a fault with the metal or design!
I was impressed by both the French shop and the Italian company.
If you are honest and there is no sign of serious abuse, I would expect a genuine 'climbers' climbing shop in the UK to do likewise for an Italian, French or American axe, after a quick phone call to the UK importer or manufacturer.
Don't be put off by being told it's never happened before, I've been told that several times, a quick Google often says otherwise.
Having said that I have had crampon points and axe picks bend slightly with intensive use and never really thought too much about it. If it's a safety issue that's different and it needs addressed immediately.
Given the abuse shown in the advertising dry tooling videos, apart from the plastic bits, I'm surprised axes and crampons don't break more often, though it shouldn't be an issue on snow or ice!
I'd argue that your suggestion is tantamount to blackmail, and not the way to make friends and positively influence people.
I can't see how posting the pictures up will prejudice the case the OP has with the manufacture, and would give them a public forum in which to reply, should they choose to.
I'm assuming here that as the OP has been dealing with the manufacturers, then the axes are older than 6 months (otherwise his case would be with the retailer under the SOGA). In which case, it's up to him to prove at his own cost, via an expert that the tools were defective at the time of purchase. If the manufacturers have produced a report, as suggested in the first post, then they've already been pretty reasonable with the OP.
Read through all above, and my vote would be for accepting a bit of bad luck. I'd say it's likely that you accidently and unkowingly bent it which is as likely to happen in the first 3 trips as it would be on the 100th trip.
and 5 degrees... hardly serious.
Really? with a report like this ?
Today I receive a report from the manufacturer, stating that in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired.
They also suggest that the crampon marks in the rubber handle, caused from tapping my axe against my crampons to release balled up snow, is the cause.
My vote is for bend it back in a vice / with a hammer and continue to use it as normal. 5 degrees doesn't seem like an awful lot.
I've only seen a one sided para-phrased summary of the 'report'. I'm basing my vote purely on the described use and condition of the axe.
One minute its blackmail the next you can't see the problem with posting up the pictures. I don't think it's blackmail. I think either way if Tom wants considered opinion on here he is going to have to at least post pictures, and informing the manufacturer that he intends to do that, is politely giving them more info, what they do with that is up to them.
So basically you're saying using the threat of posting the pics as leverage to try to get something out of them. That is blackmail.
I'm saying, post the pics up, and put them in the public domain. This is not blackmail, as I never suggested attempting to negotiate anything from them. Once in the public domain, the company has the right to reply, at their discretion.
" Extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information."
If the company is sure the problem is not a manufacturing or design fault then how can there be a criminal act or discreditable information involved. As you say they are also able to reply on the thread and state their case. All I am suggesting is giving them the option to act BEFORE posting more information online.
this happened to me this summer in the alps. I was using one of my quarks stripped down due to not having a walking axe and one evening in the campsite I noticed that the spike was bent.
I didn't think much of it, but when I got home and tried to put the lower finger guard back on it wouldn't fit due to the bend. I took the axe back to Go Outdoors and I was lucky and they replaced it for me
From your own link, using blackmail as a verb (that is, a "doing" word...):
saying to the manufacturer that you'd "go public" with the photos if they aren't prepared to negotiate is attempting to influence them. Whether they choose to do anything or not is another matter but the act itself is attempting to blackmail them.
From my first post regarding this.
"If negotiation fails completely and you feel the manufacturer is treating you unfairly as they know you are unlikely to take this to small claims court, then you could mention you are a regular and well known UKC poster and that you are going to put the pics up on UKC to get consensus opinion before deciding how to further progress. "
I don't think that's blackmail. Firstly its not a threat it statement of intent. Secondly there was no criminal act or discreditable information as the company have stated its not a manufacturing / design fault. Thirdly there was no agreement of silence if the demands are met. Finally the climbing community consensus may side with the manufacturer.
the metal on the old quarks (picks, head and shafts) was always a bit on the soft side for anything but pure neve and ice climbing IMO. Sounds like the new quarks have some similar issues along with a fragile trig rest.
It seems to me from the bits of the thread that I've skimmed that your axe is not very bent, is a technical design and is still useable.
The fact it happened 2nd time out is immaterial, if you overloaded it you overloaded it.
Now the interesting question is how was it overloaded?
Design flaw - Maybe.
Manufacturing defect - Likely to be in the heat treatment of bought-in plate and batch-wide unless it's not actually bent and a rivet has moved. I'd expect the manufacturer would want to analyse it if they even suspected this and would be willing to pay the small replacement price for the privilege.
You exceeded the intended load - Maybe accidentally but a short spike in a crack with a long lever attached... you may just have been unlucky.
Without seeing it (and I assume you won't post pictures until your threat to publish them has been ignored) it sounds like you're making a lot of fuss over nothing. Either forget about it or stick it in a vise and bend it straight (cold not hot).
Alrite....I was just kinda explaining why he hadn't posted the manufacturers name.
But I'm not talking about your first post, I'm talking about the post were you basically said that the OP should tell the manufacturer "negotiate or I post up the photos" ("If they will not negotiate just say to them straight that he is going to post pics up"
That's fair enough, but I've explained why this is blackmail, and I'm not prepared to do so again.
A hostile statement of intent is a threat. The actual issue is whether the manufacturer would see the potential publication of photos of their damaged equipment as detrimental to their reputation. If they don't it's all somewhat pointless.
It doesn't have to be criminal to be blackmail, and again, the argument would be whether the manufacturer would see the potential publication of the pictures as having a negative impact on their brand, regardless of whether they deem it to be a fault of theirs or the OP.
Indeed it might, and unless the OP actually posts the photos, we'll never know.
And with that, I'm out. I know you'd argue black was white given half a chance, and I think we've side-tracked the OP's post far enough now.
You seem desperate to frame me for this. Can you not see the difference between what you are claiming I said to tell the manufactures
"negotiate or I post up the photos"
and what I actually posted
"I would go back to the manufacturer and explain that I'd like to negotiate a settlement based on the fact that we don't know how the damage occurred. If they will not negotiate just say to them straight that he is going to post pics up on here to get consensus from the climbing community. Its up to them how they want to play it then."
The first is much stronger and closer to blackmail as its clear threat. What I posted was to try negotiating and if that fails tell them what you intend to do. I think we both agree the way forward here is to post the pics up, the main difference I see is you would not give the manufactures any notice you were going to do this, whilst I would (and I'd link them to the thread!) as I think its more likely to get a better result for both parties.
Perhaps your misinterpretation of what I posted is blackmail, however what I posted is not blackmail its just telling the manufacturers what the next cause of action is.
With that I'm out you'd clearly like to frame me for blackmail by any means necessary (even by changing my words) so this argument is pointless.
Yes. However. The manufacturer describe my axe in question as being suitable for technical mountaineering. Technical mountaineering is hard on equipment. Equipment for technical mountaineering needs to be well made.
I didn't notice it bend. As far as I am concerned my axe had only ever seen normal use.
The axe is designed and marketed for technical mountaineering. In my view it is not substantial enough to be suitable for this.
To find this out they would have to take the axe apart. If they did this they would have to give me a new one. If it was my company I would want to know and would risk the Ģ50 (speculative cost price of producing said axe) to find out.
It is possible. But I don't think this happened.
I am with jkarran on this one, bend it back and move on, its still usable.......
A lot of winter climbing is about self reliance, risk management and the practical application of commom sense. If you're this spun out by a tiny bend in an axe spike then perhaps its not for you. Tempted to say dry your eyes and bend it back but that would be mean.
Sorry, but that's not the way that it works. He owns the tool, rights to post pictures of it to show damage that has occurred (whether he blames the manufacturer or otherwise) belong to him, not the manufacturer. He's under zero obligation to inform the manufacturer that he's posting pictures.
And yeah, the guy who is advising blackmailing the manufacturer with pics is an idiot. Don't do that.
That along with ascents in Patagonia and first ascents in Peru looks to me that the OP has a more than reasonable grasp of self reliance, risk management and the practical application of common sense. But you must know best eh ?
By the sounds of things it isn't possible to have axe tested independently.
Thing that disappoints me most about this is that the company don't seem to value my custom at all. Up until now I have bought many products from them and would continue to do so. I'm twenty four and will probably be climbing for another forty to fifty years. I'm amazed that they are prepared to loose that custom for the sake of the cost of one axe.
Just to be on the safe side, you were actually dealing with the company and not perhaps their UK distributor?
That said, since the axe is prolly less than 1 year old, visit back the shop and demand to cancel the purchase based on the fact that the product obviously is not fit for purpose (techical mountaineering), since it broke with only 2 routes. Ie. product not fit for the purpose it was sold to you (EC, EU and UK commerce law).
And get another pair of tools, from a different manufacturer.
Without knowing how the damage occurred or further testing the axe, I don't think its possible to say for sure the product wasn't fit for purpose. Its perfectly feasible something happened to the axe which damaged it in a way it wouldn't be expected to stand up to, even whilst it was being used for its intended purpose (for example the axe spike got trapped between two rocks as Tom tripped etc)
I don't think there is an expected lifespan for climbing gear in all scenarios, its perfectly acceptable a rope (or anything else) could get trashed on it's first outing with no fault to the manufacturer (obviously depending on the circumstances but you take my point I hope)
Or even abnormal use. Are you sure it wasn't like this when you bought it?
Considering a technical tool should be able to withstand full leverage of a person hanging from the head while the spike is jammed in a crack... I would say simply fallin' on it, means the tool is not really fit for the purpose.
It as a technical tool and should be upto a lot more abuse..
If it is the European axe I'm thinking of, the spike is soft and will bend easily if levered in a crack, I know as I did it, then bent it back the other way!
It's not really a safety issue but IMHO poor quality materials given its advertised use and probably now made in the Far East rather than in Europe or America.
I assume you have spoken to the company as well as the UK and American importers, who I've always found helpful.
You could also chat to your old 'friend' Dane and I'm sure he'll tell you what he thinks or at least where to go... ;-)
So you think it should not be possible to bend an axes spike using the handle as a lever and the spike jammed in to a crack with body weight alone? I reckon a lot of modern axes with spikes / pommels would bend or break.
The trig and grip rests can also break in normal use, but at least they are replaceable on most (but not all!) axes.
I agree with others if its only bent 5 degrees just bend it back or carry on using it. I can't count the number of times I've bent quark picks back in to shape.
Yeah if it is - I think the previous iteration of that axe was also better on pure ice / snow than mixed as the shaft and head alloy are pretty soft and get some pretty deep nicks and abrasion fairly easily, as well as bending of the metal.
Good luck with the not fit for purpose chat.
It has already been away for investigation so unless there is a new independent evaluation done then they dont have to take it back.
Are you going to name the make and model?
I know you initially suggeted you intended to await the manufacturer's response, but it would seem there's some justification based upon interest in the thread - besides, the suspense is killing me... ;)
The 12 months issue is incorrect, if the item is over 6 months old the burden falls on you to prove the item is faulty.
You have no legal relationship with the Distributor/Manufacturer, only with the retailer.
The manufacturer thinks your lying.
Your options are, take retailer to court /exert pressure on here or elsewhere / shut up.
I believe it is the case that, should you go to Small Claims court to claim the product was not fit for sale due to a design or manufacturing fault, within the first 6 months the onus is on the retailer to prove that the product was NOT faulty, as opposed to you proving it was.
The length of time passed isn't really the core issue as I see it. At the end of the day it's perfectly posssible that an axe taken out winter climbing will be damaged after the first use and that the manfacturer will not be responsible for the damage, whether that be breaking a pick torqueing it in a crack, dropping it down the north face of the ben or bending the pommel in a small rock crack whilst tripping over (or many other reasons).
If we don't know how the damage occured its not really possible to say whos at fault unless Tom could 100% guarentee there was no way the pommel came in to contact with anything other than ice or snow and defiantely was not damaged in transit etc.
> If we don't know how the damage occured its not really possible to say whos at fault unless Tom could 100% guarentee there was no way the pommel came in to contact with anything other than ice or snow and defiantely was not damaged in transit etc.
If the trip was to Patagonia, I'd suggest the bag containing the axe was the victim of airport bag-throwers, and that the OP may have a better chance of getting recompense from the airline for damaged goods. No manufacturer is going to accept that the product is faulty when it has been through the unknown hell that is airport baggage handling.
How you see anything is not of the slightest import*. The sale of goods act dictates that up to 6 months the retailer has to prove the goods where not faulty when sold, after 6 months the consumer has to prove that the goods were faulty when sold.
* Obviously if you happen to be the small claims court judge handling Toms case this would be different.
I'd be a bit disappointed if my spangly new technical axe was fragile enough to get bent during transit!
Are you sure it did not happen in transportation? Airports have the capability to bend or break anything no matter how strong. It could have happened if you packed it with other metal objects and your backpack received hard treatment. Difficult to judge not seeing it though.
Hasn't the retailer already sort expert opinion (the distributer / manufacturer) which says Tom is at fault and there is no manufacturing fault?
The core issue as I see it is that some people feel axes should last longer than X months, however that isn't always the case, there is no minimum life time for an ice axe especially if it comes in to contact with anything more solid than ice / snow IMO. As we don't know how or exactly when the damage occured its not really possible to say who's fault it is for sure, the possibilities are endless.
> I'd be a bit disappointed if my spangly new technical axe was fragile enough to get bent during transit!
It rather depends on what has been thrown on it...
Or which carousel it has got wrapped up in...
Or which buggy it fell off and bounced across the tarmac...
Or what is was packed in. My suitcase is hard plastic and normally full, so I'd only expect the axe damaged if the case was too!
Like I said, how you see it does not matter. It is how a judge see`s it.
Read thread with interest. Would very much like to know model of axe and manufacturer.
Come On! been waiting all week to hear /see more on this thread its worse than waiting for the next Al Lee film!
I'm waiting too!
The axe in question was a Petzl Quark and the distributor was Lyon Equipment. It is interesting that Lyon have a reputation for having very good customer service. My expirence of them during this episode has been very poor.
I would recommend not buying Petzl Quarks as they aren't durable enough for what they are designed for and Petzl/Lyon are not interested in replacing them when they break. I know of 4 other climbers who have bent the spike at the bottom of Quarks after limited use.
Great news its sorted.....this makes me think about the other thread about poor customer service.
The cost of replacing this axe immediately to Lyon compared to the negative press they receive is minimal.
For the small percent of people who would be trying it on (not saying you are!), its not worth the bad press they'll get.
I'd have expected if they'd have replaced it immediately you would have been posting on here about how good GO and Lyon were, but now.....
Did the 4 other people get new axes
That's a pretty big suggestion there.
Going right back to your original post- how do you suppose that your Quarks managed to bend themselves without any 'input' from you?
I don't honestly know. Given that I didn't notice it happen, have never dropped the axe, fallen onto it or lent it to someone else I can only assume it happened during normal use.
I compared the spike on the Quark to the spike on the DMM Apex the other day. The spike on the Apex is twice as thick. It is also glued and riveted in place, whilst the spike on the Quark is held in place by a single rivet.
At last we know !!!!
Lyon still offer great customer service in my opinion though.
Any pics going to appear so we can see this 'no fault of yours' axe?
Now that is a statement that I just canīt get it. Especially after seeing a certain individual soloing a 8k peak with this particular model, that you, so confidently, describe as not fit for purpose and not durable enough. I admit that English is not my native language but still...?
TRip, you do come across as quite arrogant and slightly irritating in this thread, and making pronouncements like that don't help, especially as you don;t even know that is was 'normal usage' that resulted in it being damaged.
You've been very lucky to badger shop staff into a replacement. The Quark clearly is fit for purpose. You bent it and weren't savvy enough to bend it back. What a pampered world we live in.
Yo Mr anonymous what is your problem?
Why would I bend it back and further weaken an important safety cmpoonent on my Axe?
The spike on the bottom of any Axe should not bend during normal use. I don't see why anyone would be satisfied when a Ģ175 piece of gear malfunctions the second time you use it.
If it's not fit for purpose why did you get another one?
You used the not fit for purpose piffle to bully a shop staffer into a replacement without any independent evidence. You then undermined your own case by asking for an exact replacement.
I think it's less the 'fault' with the axe that you can't explain how it happened, and more your attitude that comes across as a bit of a spoilt arrogant tw*t tbh.
What would you have done?
I think if I couldn't say how the damage happened, and it had been examined by both distributor and manufacturer and they had both said it wasn't due to a fault I would have accepted that. And if I posted about it on here I would have tried to be a bit less arrogant sounding, and not make unproved announcements about gear not being fit for purpose when it might well have got damaged in transit (which is my bet as to how it happened).
I think part of the problem is bandying around cod-important phrases like "not fit for purpose". That's your opinion based on a single suboptimal experience.
I don't think "fitness for purpose" should be decided upon by - ultimately - one bloke on the internet. Even less that their judgement should be imposed on others.
Indeed whenever anyone utters the words "not fit for purpose" it makes them sound like they have decreed they are final arbiter of worth. I'm not sure that's wise.
Glad you have a replacement. I'd duck out now though as it's getting messy.
I think the upper grip rest breaking in normal use on the new quarks is also an issue petzl are ignoring and that can break very easily without ever hitting anything but ice.
I felt the alloy(s) on the old style quarks was a bit too soft really for intensive mixed use also. I think the new quarks seem to have also used a fairly soft alloy in places too including the head and by the sound of it the spike (and probably other parts too)
Ah memories, eh Tom? You haven't been called a tw@t on UKC for ages! :-)
I just finished a not-entirely-dissimilar situation with some Macpac merino clothing here in Aust. Probably only half the cost of your Quark, but over a hundred bucks worth of items. They all failed almost identically (there were actually more items, so bad I threw them out) and it was so obvious I got them together and sent them to the nearest Macpac shop, after enquiring via Facebook with photos. They said, after their inspection, all but one was fair wear and tear. Now I ignored the fact they were implying I was not honest in my assessment of their true wear, but I know what happened, my conscience is clear 100% on that, so that actually made it easy to ignore. Can you say the same? Of course, I also understood the items *looked* like they'd had more than two or three wearings - that was part of the problem. They wore ridiculously fast and got holes in them on the second (normal, regular) wearing. It helped that I happen to know they've had a recognised problem with the lines and others have also had problems.
So they offered to replace the one item they admitted was faulty and wanted to send me back the rest. I told them to bin the lot. I hate the waste, but equally hated more unnecessary transport. But I also simply did not want the items, even replaced. They really are not fit for purpose, in my genuine first hand honest experience. Again, I am 100% clear on how the damage happened i.e. nothing happened! so it makes it easy to tell them to go shove their product. I'm better off without them because I can't rely on them. Not a temper tantrum, just a simple clean cut solution to the problem.
I think you were right to not post photos initially, but wrong to never do it, because the volume of response obliged you, IMNSHO, to better inform those *you were asking* about the issue. Put up or shut up, as they say. And there was too much self-indulgent secret silly buggers with the brand etc. Just out with it. It's a 100 quid axe, not a nuclear f&%king submarine.
If it was me and I honestly did not know how the damage happened then I probably would not send it back as I could not honestly say it was not fit for purpose because I don't know what happened. I have transported multiple ice axes in baggage across all seven continents for 20 years and have never had one single piece of one damaged, beyond a scuff mark. If your axe spike was damaged by great force, surely what bent it must have been damaged - torn duffel, ripped clothing, punctured mat/flask/widget.
I'm thinking you unknowingly bent it some other way and did not notice. It's an ice axe. Shit happens. Or at least we think it did. We just don't know, do we/you? I would have contemplated bending it back and ascertained the pros and cons. For about five minutes.
Vote with your feet and your wallet. Don't buy Petzl any more if you feel that way. If their stuff really is crap - and I have professional friends who avoid their gear at all costs - then the market will starve them and you will be vindicated. Hurrah! But probably not. Ueli seems to do OK with it.
What would I have done? Bought Cobras, not Quarks. Which I did.
It will be interesting to see how carbon fibre shafts hold up in the long run. I got Vipers this time around, they definitely seem burly and hard wearing.
I suspect Tom bent the spike in some way that was partially his fault but also that the alloy on the axes could be a little harder. Still without knowing how it happened its not really possible to draw conclusions.
'Today I receive a report from the manufacturer, stating that in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired. They say it has been accidentally damaged after intensive use - since when was two routes intensive use? They also suggest that the crampon marks in the rubber handle, caused from tapping my axe against my crampons to release balled up snow, is the cause.'
I'd personally still like to see pictures.
Well I don't really do much or any Scottish style mixed, mostly ice and alpine, so I'm not too worried about that, though I did consider it. I got the Cobras a year or more ago for a really good price, as my Vipers were quite beaten up. Vipers are definitely great tools.
I wouldn't trust carbon fibre shafts on an axe. Carbon fibre, if damaged, can potentially show no signs of damage but have significant damage which can cause catastrophic failure at a later date. For example:
But hey that's just me based upon what certainly used to be the case in bikes.
Maybe technology's come on since then though.
Thats the same for metal frames, they wont be the same after you weld it.
When the made carbon frames, they were lighter and stronger. Shame they cost so much.
Just so I know what you mean, is that wiggle room after carbon things have had impacts, and is this from you knowing about carbon things being tested after they've had impacts?
This isn't ment to sound as pernickerty as it might... (:-))
> Some time passes. Today I receive a report from the manufacturer, stating that in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired. They say it has been accidentally damaged after intensive use - since when was two routes intensive use? They also suggest that the crampon marks in the rubber handle, caused from tapping my axe against my crampons to release balled up snow, is the cause.
Im not sure if anyone has pointed this out, it being a long thread, but the instruction leaflet that comees with ice tools seems to mostly recommed that you tap balled up snow with the pick end of the axe NOT the spike end.
Which means by definition you've misused the axe.
I don't know why manufactureres recommend using the pick end, but they've clearly got a reason and maybe this will be the reason.
Serious tapping if it bends the spike!
The advice isn't that helpful really though is it? If you are on a worrying slope with balling up crampons, the last thing you want to do is hold the axe in a way that means you can't self-arrest.
> 'Today I receive a report from the manufacturer, stating that in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired. They say it has been accidentally damaged after intensive use - since when was two routes intensive use? They also suggest that the crampon marks in the rubber handle, caused from tapping my axe against my crampons to release balled up snow, is the cause.'
Bottom right. Petzl clearly (don't know why) advise against doing this.
I would think because the crampons can (slightly) damage the rubber / plastic on the handles.
I'm not really convinced by that statement. One hand would indeed be on the axe in the correct position for self arrest, irrespetive of whether that's the top of the bottom of the axe.
And the most important part of self arrest is not having to self arrest in the first case, which means tapping the snow off your boots in the correct manner.
Black diamond also give the same advise:
I do note that it doesn't take much of a lever to bend thin steel. That's why you need special steels and manufaturing techniques to get picks up to T rating.
And the spike and it's attachment to the shaft is in not T rated on any axe I can think of.
> I would think because the crampons can (slightly) damage the rubber / plastic on the handles.
Could be, but I'm not sure that would warrant a safety notice.
Do you think tapping the snow of your boots could bend the spike?
Why do you think the manufacturers advise against it?
> I would think because the crampons can (slightly) damage the rubber / plastic on the handles.
Dmm don't like you doing it either on their technical tools
And Grivel don't say you shouldn't do it on their rubber handled alpine axes.
I still think one of the major reasons they don't like it is because it can damage the rubber handle. However there could be other reasons too.
Do you think tapping the snow off your boots could bend the spike?
Why do you think the manufacturers advise against it?
I don't know, but then I've manged to get in the habit of not doing it, and the world is all good.
I'm not going to try to think through exactly why they don't recommend it(my thoughts were that it might indeed represent a trip hazard, but I hadn't previously considered whether it might damage the handles, etc.)
My real point is that damaging the spike with a 50cm lever is probably relatively easy, particularly since the spike isn't designed to be levered. Quite a few posters on here thought it would be hard.
It's also quite possible to damage any equipment in many ways that are not obvious when applying "simple common sense".
And finally, making a claim under a warranty when you've clearly used a piece of equipment in a way that is expressly recommended against in the safety instructions is unlikely to succeed, irrepsective of whether that directly caused the damage or not. If you've ever spoken to anyone who works in customer services you'll know how much they despise people chancing spurious claims, which after all are paid for by a premium applied to the price for all other customers.
From what I've heard Petzl take equipment failures very seriously, and on that basis I'm tending to support their half of the story that I've not actually heard.
I think using the pick to clear balled up snow would represent a bigger trip hazard no?
I don't see how tapping the handle of the axe against the crampons would have bent the spike so I can't see how its relevant to the bent spike.
People got really annoyed with them with the Nomic handles all breaking a few years back. I don't think they "recalled" them in a way that happens with gear more obviously safety critical like the Grigris getting recalled.
Not to mention that the new handles on Nomics are still breakin'. It just takes a tad longer for the slop to develop...
Well, honestly Patagucci tends to keep the model name the same. Just completely change the sizing schema...
My grip rest problem has been solved by them. What do you mean, more failures?
I was referring to a post above me.
Yup, they changed the metal to be harder on the "teeth", but now it's wearing out from the other end. Takes longer than with the 2nd edition Nomics though.
Don't get it, how do you mean? The pommel is wearing out? Or do you mean the alloy holding the steel teeth in place is 'wearing out'?
And yes, that is the updated/fixed version.
I have seen that. That post is almost three years old and If the issue would be that great, Iīm sure Dane would be all over it.Still I'm not swapping my 1st. gen. Nomic :-). But I also think, just by looking at the recent pictures, Petzl has released from the ice climbing comp.,that we are going to see a new version of Nomics pretty soon.
Hmm, mine did this from new and today , three or so years later, they are exactly the same. No additional wear at this point as far as I can tell. One of the metal inserts appears to have been cast and the one in the other axe has been milled, but neither are wearing or causing any movement. One drops out and the other moves in place much as I remember them doing when I adjusted the handles on day one. This appears to be a none issue.
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