/ Quark vs Nomic
What is prompting me to ask is the issue of the new DMM axes- which seems to be similar to a Nomic. So, I'm wondering how similar they are to... a Quark.
Not hard to measure really as the heads are now the same. Where the grip attaches on the nomic the shaft has about 15mm more bend in it than the Quark. By the end of the grip it is closer to 25mm more.
The real diference imo is how much easier the Nomic is to hang onto because of the grip shape/support and the ease of rotation in the hand in comparison to the Quark.
agree with dane - its the grip that makes it, dont get too worried about the shaft.
same with the look of the new dmm range, the bend in the shaft is too easy to be sidetracked by, when most of what its there for is clearance.
the nomics geometry is based around the grip being set back from the shaft, and slightly offset. the hand position is very different to a quark and its something that cant be accurately felt swinging about in a shop.
on top of that, it radically affects the finger-shifting when you switch hands up the shaft - a quark/cobra/viper shifts the direction of pull further out from the ice, a nomic/fusion/ergo keeps it against the ice.
much more stable when changing hands etc.
Interesting stuff... puts me in a quandry. With the amount of climbing I do, I'm after a 'jack of all trades' axe- something I can use in Scotland, on Norwegian waterfalls, and also on Alpine couloirs...
I was thinking Vipers/ Quarks would be a good replacement for my DMM Aliens.
I may be old fashioned in this, but I'm worred about that curving shaft not being quite the ticket for plunging in snow- as well as that handle.
The viper is more curved than the quark which makes it better on steep ground, it's also more robust IMO (the upper trig rest on the new quark is fragile IMO). Also the grip rest is smaller on the viper and therefore better for plunging. I took the grip rest off my old quarks when I was using leashes and the bent shaft did not really make plunging much of an issue. Another thing to consider is the alloy on the head of the old quarks is really a bit too soft for mixed (mine is steadily being erroded away!) have they improved this?
Anyway even if plunging is a bit worse on modern axes, what would you rather make easier the crux or the easy bits ;)
Petzl is not the only show in town.
Edelrid are just about to release this
Both feel really nicely balanced and are getting rave reviews from those using demos.
Cheaper than Quarks/Nomics too.
Cassin X-alp is also a very nice thing
However Dane often mentions how good petzl picks are and despite being quite heavy and using B rated picks for mixed I've never snapped one.
I've climbed a little with a pair on water ice. Felt very nice - the shaft is noticeably more curved than my vipers for example. My mate who owns them pissed up this yesterday http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150643328682959&l=64c8e16754 at -20 so the tools are doing their thing!
Slightly more curved which makes it good for hooks and dry tooling but crap for first time ice placements compared to the old Quark!! If you climb rock or well travelled ice routes you'll probably think they are great.
However, if you are first up the route and have to make your own placements you will have to modify your technique to get good placements.
The Nomic's are really crap for less steep trad and ice routes and you'd be better sticking to the Quarks or even basic axes... The big difference with the new Quark and the Nomic is when you actually look at the pick strike you will notice that the sharp pointy bit never ever hits the ice first time in the Nomic, compared to the Quark unless you are climbing steep overhung ice!!!!!
I use nomics for everything and they plunge fine head first.
Personally i rather a great ice tool and an ok snow tool rather than vice versa.
Nomics arguably dagger better too.
I have new Quarks and tried using old Nomics (same geometry) for one pitch of rather chandeliered vertical ice. Personally I found the Nomics hard to place, like you say, but I felt that I probably just needed time with them to learn how they work. They were ice.solo's Nomics and he was using them just fine (far better than I was using my Quarks, of course!).
I climb on a lot of tools, including several generations of all the Petzl's among others. Seen a good many people begin climbing on Nomics (and prefer them given a choice in use) and never seen any of what you suggest. I've done miles of moderate alpine and water ice since switching to Nomics and still happy with theend result.
One interesting thing I found recently is that the Petzl hammers have a much bigger effect on the balance of the Quarks.
I bought mine as tools for 'everything' but as it turns out I've only been using them for pure cascade ice. Last time out I had them set up with two hammers. Now I have pick weights on them, and one hammer.
The more radical bend in the shaft of the Nomics means that when you add the hammer, that weight is still pulling the pick tip down into the ice. I played with Ed's Nomics as I said before - one hammer, both with weights - and didn't detect much difference in the balance between rhe two. On the other hand, with my Quarks, the hammer really upsets the balance because it's offset less from the line of the grip, if that makes sense.
I would actually say that as pure ice tools, on climbs where you want to bring a hammer, the Quark is probably inferior to the Nomic based on this alone. You can modify the Nomic more with head accessories and it will largely swing the same. I feel that by putting a hammer back on one of my Quarks, which now have weights, I'm canceling out the effects of the weights on that axe.
Maybe I should have bought the Nomics to begin with... *sigh*
As an engineer what are your thoughts on the pick hardness and the angle of the pick point?
I found the ice shattered and stuck more when trying to extract with the Nomics compared to the Quarks.
I couldn't understand why as the picks are the same, until I noticed the upper chiselled part of the pick was wearing faster than the actual point!!!
It was only when I placed them both side by side with a straight edge (between the pick and the handle) that I noticed the the Nonic's pick point didn't strike the ice first, hence the strange wear....
I know you probably know this but others wont!!
My thoughts are, that on typical classic ice routes in Scotland there's often lots of easy ground with steep corniced exits, where a more traditional ice tool has it's merits.
The runners and belays are not normally insitu, so a lot of clearing and cutting with the adze is necessary to find the gear placements.
Often the cracks are blocked with ice or verglass and so a hammer for placing gear and pitons is essential.
On steep snow with no rock or ice belays, you need to be able to construct snow anchors, such as buried axes or bollards using an adze. You also need to be able to cut through cornices, if there's no alternative.
With steep snow approaches and descents, I'm far happier and safer with an axe I can effectively self belay with, or if I get caught out in a storm, an axe I can dig an emergency shelter with!
On roadside dry tooling and on continental style steep ice routes with instu belays, I'm sure the Nomic has it's merits. For longer alpine style routes with long snowy approaches and descents, I'm still sticking to the Quarks unless someone can convince me otherwise!!!
I've climbed Point Five first with classic curved axes and then later found it far easier with MT Vertages. More recently I've climbed it with old style Quarks which made it even easier! However I'd still hesitate to use my Nomic's on the route without swapping the hammer and adze from my Quarks. I'd also miss the ability to plunge into hard neve and to clear slots for threads...
Funnily I've been swapping between them and still prefer the Quarks for the majority of trad routes without the weights. They are always used with the hammer and adze.
With the Nomic's I tried them with the hammer and adze but found them too heavy with the weights as well.
They're OK'ish with the weights alone though a pain for getting stuck compared to the Quarks!!!
With a hammer or adze on both tools, the balance is excellent. The problem is when you have a hammer on one and nothing on the other. With the Nomic I feel like anything there makes the axe want to tip forward, but on the Quark the pick weights make it want to tip forward but the hammer does the opposite (due to being more in line with the shaft) so they seem to cancel out.
I have one with only weights that feels great, and one with weights and hammer that feels a bit of a mess and is balanced like an axe with neither accessory (but considerably heavier).
A nomic is actually easier to chop with than a quark I think, the trigger/upper griprest gets in the way when you hold it. The hammer and adze works well actually. I think I'd have to be drunk to want a pair of vertiges instead of a pair of modern tools
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