/ DMM Apex, Quarks or Vipers

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smuffy on 03 Sep 2013
Looking to upgrade my Grivel Matrix lights this season and seeking advice as to my next axe. Mainly climbing in the UK grade 3 and 4s but occasional trip to Norway for ice. Have managed with the matrix lights fitted with trigrests and griprests so far even on icefalls but thought it time I gave myself a little advantage with the newer tools that are out there these days.
Have looked at Quarks and Vipers but didn't really like the swing of either although that may be due to my familiarity of the matrix lights. Not tried the APEX yet but really like the look of it and I would rather but a UK brand given the choice.
Any thoughts or comments regarding these axes or others I may have overlooked would be appreciated.
highclimber - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: You will end up liking whatever you buy regardless of what people tell you. there isn't a great deal between the ones you are considering.
climber34neil - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: in terms of performance I really don't think there would be any difference between them, the vipers and the apex have almost identical geometry between the handle and pick so if you put them on top of each other the only difference would be in the shape of the shaft . I think axes feel different to individuals so each persons preference would be specific to them. I haven't tried quarks but I now have vipers ( after trying apex) as they felt the best for me, and I liked the colour the best. Just go for the ones that feel good to you
highclimber - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to climber34neil: I feel old for not having an opinion!
ice.solo - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber:

Just do what i do and grumble 'nomics' every time the subject arises.
climber34neil - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber: I feel sad that I have nothing better to do that put axes on top of each other !
nufkin - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to ice.solo:

> Just do what i do and grumble 'nomics' every time the subject arises

Or Cobras.

Or those funky Grivel ones.

Or...
climber34neil - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to nufkin: have you tried piling them on top of each other ? I really must get a hobby!
Cameron94 on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: Apex is nice for mixed stuff I found but when trying them out on ice I struggled to get decent placements in hard ice*, I might just be extremely weak though.


*Several people have mentioned the same issue but I know a couple of guys that use them almost exclusively for ice routes.
nufkin - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to climber34neil:

> have you tried piling them on top of each other ? I really must get a hobby!

I have a template set up in photoshop so I can pile them on top of each other from the comfort of my desk
climber34neil - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to nufkin: virtual axe piling, wow , living the dream!
KellyKettle - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to highclimber)
>
> Just do what i do and grumble 'nomics' every time the subject arises.

In a similar vein, "Have you considered BD Reactors, in spite of their weight and less radical curve, they're really very good all rounders."
ice.solo - on 03 Sep 2013
In reply to KellyKettle:

Shhhh....mixed climbers secret. Theyre cheap too. We dont want all the 'vipers or quarks' crowd buying them up.
Merlin - on 04 Sep 2013
In reply to KellyKettle:

I'll sell you my Reactors at bargain price!
cb294 - on 04 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy:

Considered sticking with Grivel?

I really like my matrix techs,

CB
smuffy on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to cb294:
> (In reply to smuffy)
>
> Considered sticking with Grivel?
>
> I really like my matrix techs,
>
> CB

Totally slipped my mind to consider the Matrix Techs but having done a bit of net research it seems most people rate them above quarks. I'll have to go and have a play in a shop now that you've got me thinking! Thanks for the tip.
GrendeI on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: As a hacker on vipers I really really rate them. So far as an all round axe I've never had a problem and am yet to find a fault. They are much more solid I feel than the Quarks (or even Nomics) and do vibrate nicely when planted firmly. Despite the swing being a little heavier. Quarks I think come with a T-rated pick whilst the Vipers come with B, although its pretty damn tough! I found a pair of fusions cheap so I'm pretty excited to swap in some B rated picks and try those on for size.

As for the apex, never tried it and probably never will. I think the DMM range is pretty ugly in comparison, but does have the advantage of being UK orientated in their designs. This I feel is what gives them an advantage over other brands. Plus they come with T-rated picks as standard which is perfect for UK mixed use.

ps. I will admit, Grivel Matrix Tech's have the best swing and the nicest stick than any other axe I have tried.
mike kann - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: used my apexs a few times now. They're ok as long as the ice is steep as the super cranked shaft is good for reaching round bulges. As soon as you have to place them in the horizontal ice that comes after the steep bit though, personally i think the head angle is daftly steep. Think they're ok, but still prefer my old skool cobras, or even my grivel lights... Maybe I'm just a bit passe though... Nicely made though...
smuffy on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: How does the shaft/spike on the Grivel Matrix Tech perform when plodding up or down snow gullies? On Quarks and Apexs the aluminium shaft runs all the way through to teh metal spike but on the Techs the shaft stops at the griprest which then has a small tungsten carbide tip on the bottom.
highclimber - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: Never had any trouble with mine though I did break off the yellow griprest at the shaft (hence why I have two different axes now) which they refunded me for because they couldn't replace it quick enough for an impending trip.
iksander on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: The carbide tip gives good traction, and doesn't blunt like spikes do but the grip rest can get in the way a bit on broken ground or breaking through an icy crust - better than nomics for piolet canne though
smuffy on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to ice.solo: There are some great deals on Nomics and the more research I do the more I feel myself getting drawn in!!! New axes are likely to be used on ice routes as well as general mountaineering routes so from a practical point of view I'd probably be better off with quarks/vipers/apex/matrix tech type models but having tried them all out in shops the Nomics had me hooked the minute they were in my hand. How do they perform in Piolet modes and would I ever regret buying them?
dutybooty - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy: I have nomics and vipers. I prefer the vipers for everything apart from drytooling.

But I've had the vipers longer.

This is my opinion and story. Everyone elses is different. Put the names in a hat, pick one out, throw it away and just buy the cheapest set.
Gazlynn - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy:

If the wallet can stretch that far why not keep the Grivel matrix lights for the mountaineering routes and easy stuff and get the Nomics for the Ice routes?

cheers

Gaz
smuffy on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to Gazlynn: Just sold the Matrix lights as I got fed up with bashing my knuckles even when used with an added Petzl trigrest. Great all rounder though.
Gazlynn - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy:

I'm a pure punter so please take this with a pinch of salt but I'm pretty sure you can bash your knuckles with Nomics.

FWIW I really wanted the Nomics last year but I have a history of buying stuff that's meant for proper climbers Rambo crampons, five ten blancos just to name a couple of things but you get the picture.

I ended up having to make a pact with myself that I would treat myself to a pair of Nomics when I lead my first grade V and seeing as I cack myself on IIIs and IVs it's gony be a while.... lol

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Gaz (quark owner atm)

nufkin - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Gazlynn:

> I would treat myself to a pair of Nomics when I lead my first grade V and seeing as I cack myself on IIIs and IVs it's gony be a while

Better to buy them before the V - it's scientifically proven that Nomics take two grades off
smuffy on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to nufkin: Thats it then I'll be getting some!!!
smuffy on 29 Sep 2013
Has anyone tried the DMM Switch?
nufkin - on 29 Sep 2013
In reply to smuffy:

> Has anyone tried the DMM Switch?

Ask again in a year or so
ads.ukclimbing.com
George Ormerod - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to cb294:
> (In reply to smuffy)
>
> Considered sticking with Grivel?
>
> I really like my matrix techs,
>
> CB

I've got the Quantum Tech and really like them (the carbon version of the Matrix Tech, so a similar swing). Much better than Quarks or Vipers for the weak and timid on steep ice. Not sure how they'd work for mixed, but that nonsense is for deviants anyway.

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