/ another ice axe question new flys or vipers
Have finally got the money together for winter climbing this season , I am going to buy some new axes , and have looked at the BD vipers and dmm 2012 flys ..
was wondering if anyone have or used the new flys , and was hoping for a bit of axe advice , the price is not much diff , but the flys have T rated pick…
any thought and advice Thanks
I had a pair of the old Flys and Upgraded a couple of years ago to Vipers. I liked my Flys a lot, but the Vipers are much better for steep stuff I think. I haven't had a swing of the new 2012 ones though. Personally I think the big flaw of the Flys which hasn't been altered for the new model is the shape of the top of the pick. Very uncomfortable when using it as a walking axe to & fro routes as the lump sticks up into your hand. I haven't had a problem with the picks my vipers came with, and they've done a bit of everything, but you can get T rated picks for them if desired.
It isn't clear cut. Vipers and Fly's are different axes which are best suited to different types of terrain and use. Therefore it depends on what you intend to use them for.
Flys are better suited for: moderate alpine terrain, approaches, ridges e.g. Tower Ridge, Grade I, II, or III Scottish mixed / ice.
Vipers are better suited for: harder alpine terrain, steeper Scottish mixed and ice (grade IV and above), Continental ice etc.
Have a think about what sort of routes you'll be using them for.
Have you though about Petzl Quarks. They can be stripped down to a bone and become a very light weight alpine tool, or they can be used with all the bells and whistles and become a full on ice climbing tool.
Realistically though the vipers will perform almost as well as the new flys on easier ground as both have grips rests (which hinders plunging a bit) and to some degree are bent. However on steeper group the Vipers will come in to their own. I still don't see why anyone would buy the new flys for more money than a pair of new vipers.
When comparing against the old flys they do have some benefits on easier ground due the lack of a grip rest, but you have to ask yourself would you rather make the easy ground easier or the harder ground easier! Also would you prefer leashs or lanyards?
I kind of agree. Although the fly's are better for plunging, and for cutting steps as the adze is more traditional, and marginally better for self arrest.
So if that's what your going to be doing a lot of then Flys are prob better (but really you should just buy a non technical axe e.g. DMM Cirque for this kind of stuff).
For anything a bit more involved the Vipers do have the advantage.
Did you ever cut steps? I never have! (I've dug out resting foot holds in ice for placing screws as well as ledges but the adze on my quarks has been fine for this and isn't exactly massive)
As for the flys being better for plunging, I suspect the new flys are actually worse than the new vipers as the grip rest projects more and is wider meaning they simply won't go in to moderately hard snow or old plunge holes in neve that are too narrow, I have this problem with my quarks.
I think your right with regards to your comment that if cutting steps and plunging is of primary importance there isn't much point in getting a techincal climbing axe, get an alpine / walking axe.
As previously mentioned for a tech axe it makes more sense to make the harder climbing easier than the easy climbing easier. Get the Vipers!
If you want new tools, I'd still look for whatever is cheap. Getting out more will help you improve much more than fancy tools.
Quarks are better than both...
The main issue with the new quarks is the rather weak upper trig rest. Other than that I doubt there is much in them. I've heard that the petzl picks are pretty much the best there is though although on the latest model of vipers there doesn't seem to be common reports on them breaking (despite the inferior method of production - petzl are forged whilst viper picks are lazer cut AFAIK )
I agree with this.
I have spent years climbing up to grade III and the occasional IV with my old trust flys they are fantastic!!
Last year I upgraded to a pair of Vipers and they seem brilliant (although due to the crap winter didn't use them as much as I would have liked!)
So you are going to be climbing mainly easy stuff then go with a cheap second hand pair but if you will be progressing quickly through the grades then definitely consider the vipers... however my partner hates the vipers and swears by the quarks so go to a shop and have a play with them all then make your decision.
What you want is one of these - http://www.smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=31977 and http://www.smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=32731
Good enough for Scottish grade V :-)
Vipers are great (I did my first ice route of the season last night using mine!) but people getting into winter climbing seem to fetishize gear somewhat, considering most people's first seasons tends to involve a lot of wading around in snowy gullies where quarks, vipers or nomics over a 50 cm walker axe won't make a blind bit of difference.
"And in a similar vein, it's not that long since Emmett and Gresham were competing in the ice climbing world cup using Flys. Plenty of people have climber VII and I'm sure some VIIIs with them, so it's hardly like they'll stop you climbing."
The same could be said of climbing in EB's but there ain't many people climbing in non sticky rubber now a days is there. You may as well give your self an advantage,
"Vipers are great (I did my first ice route of the season last night using mine!) but people getting into winter climbing seem to fetishize gear somewhat, considering most people's first seasons tends to involve a lot of wading around in snowy gullies where quarks, vipers or nomics over a 50 cm walker axe won't make a blind bit of difference."
No, but the arguments against are:
- New axes should last a decade so no point in buying a new axe that you'll likely want to upgrade in 2-3 years time
- It's good to learn on the same axe you'll progress to using, in theory at least you should learn faster as you don't need to adapt to a different axe.
- Most people now a days want a leashless system, most second hand axes that are a good deal are not leashless ready.
Personally I think it depends how sure you are you'll like winter climbing, if you're not sure it may be better buying a cheaper second hand pair of axes first.
Plus not many of us have the physical or mental skills of Emmett and Gresham.
I like to have the best of gear that I can afford as being a pure punter it gives me confidence in my equipment which is one less thing to worry about when shitting it half way up a route :-)
Its only this year Ive bought a pair of reactors as well as already having apair of atzars. Ive found you need a different technique climbing leashless.
Just another though I first started ice climbing in 1976 and used a mciness peck hammer and a cut down Stubai walking axe. I manged to climb ii/iii so its a diffcult one.
I personally wouldnt but the new flys when you can get a great deal on brand new originals which you can convert to leashless if you want.
I still think if it's a pair of fancy leashless axes or doing four weekends in Scotland rather than two, a newbie to winter climbing will gain much more from the latter. If you live in the Central Belt and know you can hit the highlands almost every weekend, then it is a different calculation I guess.
Winter climbing is an expensive game I don't think most people entering it are limited to such an extent that buying more expensive axes means they'll climb less that season. Certainly no one I've met so far anyways.
Personally I'd recommend most anything with an offset handle: Matrix tech, X-Monsters, Nomics or Reactors
Eventually you are going to end up with more than just one pair of axes, that is, if you are going to be doing a lot of winter climbing and mountaineering.So it really doesn't matter with which you start, before the season is over you are going to be buying another pair:-))
Really? I managed 7 years with my first pair of axes (quarks) I now own a longer alpine axe too, but I only bought that for my first Alpine trip.
Ofcourse you can do pretty much every thing with one pair of axes. I to have started with a pair of old quarks, but as I progressed to ski mountaineering, ski touring ,long winter alpine routes, I needed an axes more suitable for the job. And this progression can sometimes happen really fast.
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