/ Two different ice tools

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dutybooty - on 25 Aug 2013
Why do people climb with two different tools?

e.g. a quark and a matrix light. Even saw some radically different like a quark and a petzl nomic out the other day.

Is there a reason? Or do people just think they look cool?
The New NickB - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty:

In the old days it was because you used your general purpose axe, plus whatever else you could get your hands on. I guess people sometimes pick up bargains of individual axes, it probably makes little difference for most people, although I can't say I have ever really noticed it with modern tools.
nufkin - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty:

Hedging bets, maybe, or lack of faith in their tools? Getting twisted knickers about Nomics' ability to plunge, say, so feeling a quark is necessary
dutybooty - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty: I think it would annoy me massively getting used to a certain swing with my right hand, traversing, swapping hands on tools and having to get used to a new swing with it, possibly repeating every second swing...
highclimber - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty: I have an old stle quark and a matrix tech. works ok for me. Only reason I have different ones is that I broke one and couldn't get the replacement quick enough for an impending trip so got my money back and bought a different axe.
Blue Straggler - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty:

Special offers and only a single available on that offer?
I used to own three Matrix Lights plus a cut-down MT walking axe (after cutting it down, it was the right length for climbing). The Matrix Lights had been stupidly cheap so I bought all three, I had the MT thing already and I thought two pairs would be handy if I wanted to take someone climbing who had no axes. It never came to that but if it had done, I might have taken the mismatch to lead something easy and let the beginner have the technical pair. That would not be me "thinking I look cool".

Sometimes I wear odd climbing shoes because they are the only intact "pair"

etc
Hannes on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty: I'm guessing because people are petrified of the nomic's "inability" to plunge and the poverty factor.
KiwiPrincess - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty:
Borrowed a couple to see which they prefer Before buying?
dutybooty - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty: I understand breaking tools, trying different ones out etc.

Just the last few times I've been out every second team looks like they've come out with matched tools, then swapped one with each other. Just seemed really strange.
In reply to dutybooty:

> Just the last few times I've been out every second team looks like they've come out with matched tools, then swapped one with each other. Just seemed really strange.

Why? It's always fun trying out other peoples tools. Whenever any of my mates get new ones everyone always wants to give them a go just to see what they're like, and you notice differences far more with one of each.

The big unspoken truth though, is of course that all modern tools are great and you can get used to pretty much any of them.

Fredt on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty:

I have a range of tools, from 1960s hammer picks, a bamboo shafted Chouinard, various hammer picks, various length axes, curved and straight, walking axes, and only one matching pair of short axes. I rarely use two identical tools.

I choose the best combination for the particular trip and climb. Most alpine routes need just the one straight axe, (the Chouinard). Why take a hammer if you don't take pitons? In the sixties I usually climbed with one axe and a long ice peg/dagger.

You choose the most effective combination, not the prettiest.


matejn - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty: For me it is a practical reason for taking two different types of ice axes. If I know that only on a small part of a climb IŽll be needing two axes and otherwise I would be better served with only one, I see no reason why not taking that approach. I most often use a combo of a Quark (hammer) and Grivel Jorasses 2.0 .
a lakeland climber on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to dutybooty)

> The big unspoken truth though, is of course that all modern tools are great and you can get used to pretty much any of them.

The big unspoken truth though, is of course that pretty well all ice tools since the mid 1980s have been more than good enough for any climber.

It is nice to have the latest bit of kit but when a team takes as long, if not longer, to climb a route than when it was done back in the step cutting days you have to wonder if they paid a bit more attention to their technique then ...

To the OP: until the modern matched pairs of axes appeared it was the norm to have two different ice tools, perhaps the extreme example being Choe Brooks who climbed with one Terrordactyl and one 65cm axe.

ALC
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> is of course that pretty well all ice tools since the mid 1980s have been more than good enough for any climber.

This might be the case - I've done a couple of routes in recent years with my mid-90s vintage Pulsars and I can still use them fine, but straight shafts and no grip rests are rather noticeable. There isn't a huge change between my old Quarks (bought about 2001) and my new Vipers (got about 4 years ago), but both are noticeable more user friendly than the Pulsar - regardless of whether we're talking about using them leashed or leashless (I do both still).
a lakeland climber on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I'm not saying modern axes aren't an improvement just that the upper end of the performance spectrum is overkill for the vast majority of climbers. I climbed Scottish grade V ice and Grade IV mixed with a Snowdon Mouldings Curver axe and a Camp Baltoro ice hammer. Add a grade to each for when I moved on to Simond Chacal and Barracuda. I don't think my experience was anything unusual in this respect.

I've had just seven ice tools in over thirty years of winter climbing, I only got the current pair because one tool was lost and I couldn't find replacement parts for the other. I'd had that pair for 26 years!

If axe X handles well in your hands and axe Y doesn't, then buy axe X plus a spare pick or two and you are good for many years.

ALC
Mr. K - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to dutybooty: Mismatched ice tools are like boobs that are two different sizes - it doesn't look right and it sure doesn't feel right. Don't do it kids.
Robert Durran - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Mr. K:
> (In reply to dutybooty) Mismatched ice tools are like boobs that are two different sizes - it doesn't look right and it sure doesn't feel right.

I think you have fallen foul of the clever marketing ploys of tool manufacturers designed to make sure no one ever only buys one tool at a time.

beardy mike - on 27 Aug 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Indeed he has. Since when have boobs EVER been the same size as the other one?
KellyKettle - on 27 Aug 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) Indeed he has. Since when have boobs EVER been the same size as the other one?

Since photoshop?

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