/ Which technical tools?
Firstly why do the Rebels come with B-Rated picks? I thought the point of technical tools was that they were T-rated... or is it just the shaft which really matters i.e. for belays, and the picks are B-rated because they're agressive/thin?
Essentially I want to know are the Fly's good enough for what I need long term (with a grivel horn or similar added to the handles), and are the Rebels Overkill?
I'm climbing in B2 boots and G12's with which I can dog my way up ~grade 5 routes, and fly up ~grade 3s at the ice factor. Long term I think winter IV and WI4 will be the limit of what I'm happy climbing outdoors (head-wise), so I don't need anything hugely technical.
So far I've played with:
Very old DMM Flys - indiferent to them. (interested in buying them based on price: £165 per pair)
My own Alpine tour walking axe - on Grade II, a tad thin to hang onto.
Grivel Alpine wings - Fine on Grade II/III, shafts just a tad thin.
Very old Mountain Technology Vertiges - Great to hang on to, but straight shafts might be a pain for placements over buldges etc.
Quarks - great to hold onto, but didn't seem weighted right to me (heads didn't seem heavy enough).
Just get the Rebels. They're fine on easy ground and definitely not overkill on IV/V!
There are stacks of existing threads but to sumarise:
- you'll get told, not to worry, pretty much any modern axes will get you up grade 4. Pick something you like the swing of.
- you'll get told to go with something like the previous generation Flys and pick them up cheap second-hand on here or ebay for around £100. You can then decide whether to keep them or upgrade in 1-2 seasons and if you do upgrade you can sell them on again and get most of your money back.
- you'll get told that 'Nomics' (or insert other top-end axe) are the way forward and that modern dedicated leashless designs are the only sensible option and to buy them straight away.
- you'll then get various love/hate recommendations for individual axes where the only common thread seams to be that loads of people quite like Quarks and Nomics, a fair few people rate Black Diamond axes and there are a smattering of fans for DMM, Grivel and the rest.
All are fairly valid comments and you and best placed to which advice to go with.
About the only thing then worth adding is that it is easy to sort out 'thin' shafts/grips with several layers of decent grip tape.
Just won an auction on a set of flys for £102 inc P&P, so that's decision made :)
Cheers for the advice :)
Given that I did my first grade Vs with a Snowdon Mouldings Curver - http://www.smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=31977 - (paired up with this http://www.smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=32146) as did many others, I'd say just about any axe produced in the last 30 years will do you. Obviously the newer axes make a difference, about half to a full grade apparently, so just get the ones that feel right in your hands.
I climbed technical 7 with this http://www.smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=32151 along with its sister axe the Barracuda.
FWIW I've now got Rebels
That's an interesting link there, it's a pity some of the publications listed are not reproduced in full.
Two things that have always got me are;
-How infrequently options like Grivel X-Monsters & BD Reactors are mentioned, despite providing a lot of performance for not a lot of money. I don't know about the X-Monster, but the Reactor is actually a pretty decent all rounder, assuming you can deal with them being heavy.
-The number of people who factor into their purchasing decisions how easily how *any* given ergonomic handle (from a small one like the Quark or Apex, through to a beefy one like a Nomic) will plunge... surely that's kind of missing the point of technical axes (and in my experience, even the beefy ones will plunge just fine assuming you're applying enough force).
I'd go for the new style quarks.
im not sure it matters.
over several winters ive messed about with lots of tools ranging from fancy comp tools to aztars and really, unless youre doing some very specific route with special demands, it hardly makes a difference.
old straight shafts are not great, but anything with a pommel rest and a bit of a curve will work.
cuts both ways too - a fancy curvy tool also works fine when post holing classic stuff thru snow.
I would say Quarks, on the basis that they are so flexible in their design, removable trig and grip rest, removable adze and hammer, the option of adding a set of weights to the pick if needed to make them heavier, easily replaceable picks (also changeable with dry tool picks if you're that way inclinded).
Ive yet to come across a set of tools that are adaptable to so many different requirements,
The BD Cobra and Viper are capable of everything you're saying the quark is (and you can change the pick using the spare pick, which is handy...), as can the Cassin/Camp X-All Mountain (which may actually be more versatile) and come to think of it the DMM Apex and *NEW* Fly can also do most of that (but can't do away with the hammer/adze entirely, unless you hacksaw/coldsaw them of the one piece forging and tidy it up with a file).
FWIW, I really rate the design of the Quark, but having played with my mate's for a while; I would never own a pair, too light and too thin-shafted for them to work for me.
Have climbed with X-Monsters they are great for cascades OR hard mixed. However, they are very far from modular (changing the original picks is a workshop job) which means they are a poor option for keener climbers who will probably want to have two sets of picks on the go.
I completely agree about the Reactors. Most posts and reviews I have seen are all fairly positive. However, I think higher sales volume and deeper discounting of the more popular Quarks means that the cost savings are probably not that great.
I agree, most technical axes are equally good (and bad).
However, I do think there is wider issue in that using a single axe on mountaineering style routes has gone out of fashion. Most people these days seem more comfortable carrying two technical axes, where it would be far better to only carry one and used a gloved hand on easier rocky ground.
The rebel B rated picks pass the T-rated test as well, I've used the B pics dry tooling and haven't bent them
Thanks all for the responses. Great summary of the other threads already out there.
"Having climbed very steep ice with an Alp Wing in one hand and an old shape Quark in the other, it's actually a much better balanced axe than the Quark and the pick is better too."
Perhaps it suits your style more but I doubt many posters will agree with this. Old style quarks were pretty much the pinnacle of water ice tools for their generation .
I shall answer this with a quote from Uli Steck.
'The only axe you will ever need. a great all round mountaineering axe' As he was holding the Petzl Nomic.
I can't agree more I have some and they are well balanced not too top heavy like the Black Diamond fusions. They work well for ice, mixed or dry tooling.
The only draw back is you can build a T axe belay as they don't plunge.
most axes with a grip rest are bad for making t axe belays, I rarely managed to make one in snow that would have actually held a fall with my quarks. I must say I imagine when I do upgrade my quarks I'll be looking long and hard at the nomics.
I've naturally found that when approaching on steep but not very technical ground i'll use the crab of my clipper leash to put the hammer on my harness (wrap the leash round my waist and clip by the head to opposite hip) and climb/walk tentatively upwards with just the adze...
Particularly useful in narrow but not overly steep gullies, where using the wall as a handrail is quicker and more secure.
That's a great quote. Hard to tell if he was joking or not!
Another drawback with the Nomic is there's really no hammer to speak of, unless you get one made specially of course.
> Perhaps it suits your style more but I doubt many posters will agree with this.
Well, in that case, that's two pairs of totally cr@p axes destined for Fleabay!
Now, anyone want to sell me a pair of old style Quarks?
I think you'll find quarks have been out a lot longer than nomics have, I said of their generation.
Is there a prize for 'big flouncer of the week' on UKC?
My mate's after a pair of nomics... I'm sure he'll swap for for his quarks :-P.
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