/ Petzl Ergo & DMM rebel
Rebels aren't bad tools but Quarks are better in just about every way and unless you're into some serious dry tooling, Ergos are way over the top. If you have to ask, then you will probably be best off with Quarks.
DMM have a new range of axes in the pipeline, hopefully they'll be available this year but don't hold your breath.
what are you going to use them for? i upgraded from BD Reactors to BD Fusion 2's in winter, the Fusions are awesome so far, feel amazing to swing, not as light as the nomics but feel really nicely made and swing beautifully with the extra weight, so far brilliant for water ice and steep tooling/mixed.
The Ergo's are absolutely brilliant for super steep mixed/dry tooling but probably overkill for anything else, on less steep ground I found myself using the upper grips most of the time just to reduce the curve!
I had to ask about the ergo's only because I saw them on offer and wondered if anyone actually had experience of them on the ice as ive found it difficult to find a decent review of how they perform.
I think i'll probably end up going with the quarks
In reply to maybe_si:
Im heading off to the alps in January for a week ice climbing so will be nice to have new tools in place by then. Just looking at them now since there are some good deals around and I have a lovely wee 15% to use too :P
I do get the feeling though, that for how much I love the look and idea of the ergos, they are just going to be too much for what i need them for and I cant imagine myself dry tooling hard enough to benefit from them.
they feel just like a nomic but with more clearance and more of a pull-up bar feel to the grip which = less pump.
i climbed a very couliflowered route in cogne this year where my nomics bottomed out so to speak every other placement,i wish i had the ergos then.
read danes review,i wouldnt cross them off your list especially if you can get them on a deal.
Assume it is the new ones rather than the old quark ergos?
It's these ones http://www.tiso.com/shop/petzl-charlet/ergo-aw10/?utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=organic
Don't write of the Rebels, more of an acquired taste, but I love mine now and will usually take them over my nomics for all but the more technical stuff. Probably not worth paying full RRP for, but if you find them at a good deal, worth considering.
I'm sold on my Rebels for puntering around on Scottish Winter II/III. They are very confidence inspiring and I especially like the triple leash attachment points (handle, mid shaft and head) so that whatever bit of climbing / snow slope I'm doing I can swap my leashes around so the don't snag. Oh yeah, and they pluge fine with trigrests on so there. However, the paint does flake off very easily so mine look distinctly second hand after one season of easy climbing!
Would buy them again and recommend them too.
Not as sexy as ergos, but light and simple and climb very well
Choosing an axe is very much a matter of personal taste, so if possible make sure you try before buying. This is even more important in case of the Ergo, simply because the swing is so radically different from any other axe. Some people hate it, others love it.
My experience is limited to borrowing a pair for a few routes and playing around at the bottom of the crag. Personally, I loathed the things on ice, and would never, ever, use the them for anything but dry tooling (for which they are fantastic).
No amount of experimenting with hand positions or flicking the wrist would give me a decent stick on anything but chopped up or cauliflowered ice. For me, on ice, they were absolutely useless. This is in contrast to every other axe I've tried - some worked better than others, but they all worked to some extent.
So if the swing feels natural to you they are probably fantastic tools. If not, they may be absolutely useless.
I have a pair of Quarks as my only axes and I wish I had Nomic. The quarks are an amazing tool for alpine and ice but I think the Nomics are better for pure ice and for higher grade alpine. I would go with Nomics for all ice and anything alpine mixed TD(+) and above.
I would get Quarks or Nomics. I have used both and own a set of Quarks. I suppose in an ideal world I would have Nomics for steep ice as they are really good on difficult, steep ice. Quarks are really good for everything. The fact that they are modular and can be stripped down means you can remove adze and trigger etc and have a light/technical axe for ice or you can have adze and hammer attached for UK mixed fun and games. I know the Ergo is modular too however, if you plan a mixed Alpine route for example that has a walk-in over a crevasse field and/or you need to negotiate steep slopes before you get to the climb, you will want at least one axe with a straighter shaft. If you had a pair of Quarks, that would be all you would need, suitable for pretty steep, difficult mixed and ice and also much better for arresting (God forbid you'd need to) and using as a walking aid. Having an Ergo would mean you might want a different axe, more suitable for the approach and then you may find you are climbing with two different axes, not ideal.
Bear in mind that in the good old days of pioneering ice climbers (Jeff Lowe is a prime example), they were using axes with straight-shafts and climbing hard stuff. Smith's Route and Orion Face-Direct etc were climbed with straight axes!
Think about the most likely use for your axe, what it will be doing the majority of the time and then pick the axe based on its features that best suit the use. From Petzl's website...The ERGO is the ultimate tool for the most difficult dry tooling pitches and the most unlikely ice columns.
The QUARK is a versatile ice axe, designed primarily for technical mountaineering and for ice climbing.
Have fun choosing!!
I almost wish I needed a new pair as this decision making process can be so difficult, strewn with contradicting opinions, making one sway from one conclusion to another. Ultimately it's sooo much fun!!
Last winter I had the opportunity to climb with Quarks, Nomics and Ergos on the same day, on the same route. I am a modest water ice climber, leading 4, but have climbed harder, may be seconding 5+ / 6-.
Personally I found the Ergos, unless your on steep, technical ice / sculptured with all sorts of nasty nonsense quite hard to use. You need to continuously flick the pick in, which on steep ice (Vertical) that is smooth (ish) or un-featured can be difficult. I found after the steep featured ice when i was tired they be came quite difficult to place, requiring continuous thought and control. You might argue you need that anyway with this level of ice climbing, but as a modest climber I found this quite difficult and often felt very precarious on easier transit section.
In comparison the Nomics on the same climb were easier to use, less tiring and more forgiving. On the steep featured sections I found slightly more pump than using the ergos, but on the easier sections they were easier to place. You still require a defined controlled flick but they are much more forgiving in comparison to the Ergos.
Quarks on the same route, quite trying on the steep / vertical features ice, much easier to place when tired (i.e. wild swinging!), but generally more pump on longer pitches. Much more forgiving when tired than comics and ergos.
Ergos: Out of my league! If I was just climbing vertical featured ice then may be, but for me if there is any slack ice in-between I would want to use Nomics.
Nomics: Really good, excellent axe, well balanced and forgiving / easier to placer and reduces pump on longer steep pitches.
Quarks: Really good axe, I still use my quarks for general routes, where the terrain runs between vertical / steep to slabby ice and transit pitches (snow etc.).
I have also used BD Reactor, also a good axe, but I just never got comfortable with them. Not sure why. I used it for a season and one day switched to the quarks and never went back.
For easy stuff even the quarks are overkill. I went from DMM flys to quarks and the quarks are terrible for plunging and usage on very easy ground (as the shaft is so short and has a grip on it). However they are much better for actual climbing due to leash less and ability to hook over things.
I would recommend the quarks or vipers and also getting a walking axe if your planing on some single axe alpine routes as you feel like an idiot waving quarks around on something that's about scottish 2/3.
Given the grades that you are climbing (and are likely to be climbing for the next few years) I would avoid a super curved technical axe such as the Ergo and Nomic, and instead go for a moderately curved technical axe e.g. Quark or Viper.
If you are climbing in Scotland and the Alps you will invariably have to use your axe on snow slopes and over glaciers, on this kind of terrain you want / need an axe that you can plunge easily, arrest with easily and even belay from easily. You can't do any of these things safely and easily with the Ergo and Nomic.
The quarks and Vipers climb ice and mixed REALLY well and will not be the limiting factor. Just ask Iain Small (he climbs grade IX with Vipers)
I recognise that we ALL like the sexy super technical axes to look at and to play with, but it's important to remember that at the end of the day axes (and the rest of your kit) are just tools whose job is it keep you safe. Quark / Vipers are safer all rounders, and much better when used for self arrest, belay, walking.
If and when your climbing grade VII+ or stuff like this:
then I think a more technical tool might be a good idea.
Until then if your climbing stuff like this:
then I Vipers or Quarks are your best bet.
I've used Vipers and Quarks, I prefer Vipers for ice and Quarks for mixed but they are both great axes for both to be honest.
If your still in doubt, ask Neil Carnegie at Ratho Tiso, he knows as much as anyone about kit / tools.
I hope that helps,
ps The Outdoor Shop.com have quarks on offer at the moment:
my point is that all this technical curved hate is miss placed, an axe is an axe some have got ergo-nomic handles some dont. obviously nomics are not suited to low grade alpine routes because they lack a decent spike.
isn't the the test of advantage of handles / curves of the axe best done by holding the handles so they are parallel and then observing the difference in shaft and pick angle?
It's not about technical curved axe hate at all.
I use and like super curved technical tools for dry tooling and harder mixed, but wouldn't use them for grade III bumbling as there are distinct disadvantages.
It's about having the best / safest tool for the job. I've already covered this above.
Plus, you look like a right tit waving your Ergos around on a grade III gully.
Agree with you (plus lots of other factors).
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