/ Axes for Alps
Are these in addition to axes for Scottish winter, or will you be using them in Scotland too?
It's all about what feels best to you. I chose the Quark for its lighter swing (I'm a weakling). Tough guys prefer the Viper. You'll appreciate lower weight on the walk in as well.
We can't decide for you, so go swing some axes in your local store. If you're buying one only, get the Cirque, if two, go more technical. The Fly is a good compromise but I guarantee you'll have axe envy looking at the rucksacs of fellow climbers!!
Which will you do more of? I'd say get the pair best suited to the activity you'll do most of, accepting there will be a trade-off when doing the other (stop sniggering at the back)
Unless you're minted of course, in which case get both.
I think the cirque is a bit heavy. I went for the Grivel Air Tech Evolution myself. You'll only need 1 Alpine axe and then if you have tech axes anyway its more of a nicety than essential. I decided lightness but also durability with a T rated shaft were what I was after (so I could belay safely off it).
You also need to decide on length. This is a controvertial subject with much conflicting advice. I went for 66 cm and I'm 6 foot, I already own tech axes (pair of quarks) at 50cm long so I didn't see a huge advantage to getting an alpine axe less than 60 cm. In the end I went for 66cm which I haven't regretted at all, great for descending narrow ridges and on ground similar to Scottish I or II. For very slightly harder ground I'd pair with a tech axe and on anything harder than that (around scottish IV) I'd take a pair of tech axes and leave the Air Tech Evolution at home.
> Which will you do more of? I'd say get the pair best suited to the activity you'll do most of.
I can't see the advantage of getting a pair of Alpine axes. If budget is limited and the OP really wants a pair of axes and an Alpine axe I'd couple that with a single tech axe, probably a Viper. Also IMO an Alpine axe is not essential I certainly wouldn't carry 3 axes in to most more technical Alpine routes and I'd want 2 tech axes for the climbing. That said I was a lot happier descending the narrow walking ridge down from Aiguille du Midi with my 66cm givel Air Tech Evo Alpine axe than my friend was with his 50cm grivel alp wing!
I think with many routes up to AD many people would be happy with a single Alpine axe but its the type of grade where some routes would probably be better done with a pair of axes (for speed of climbing as much as anything else)
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