/ Which axes for grade 4?

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Cuillin Calling on 09 Oct 2013
This is along the same lines as my post on crampons for grade 4. Debating whether to get new picks for my aging Petzl Axars or invest in something newer.

What axes would you suggest for leading up to grade 4/seconding 5, mostly ice and gullies with occasional mixed in UK.

Thanks!




a lakeland climber on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling:

Walk in to shop, try a few axes, pick (sic) whichever feels best in your hands.

Pretty well every axe produced in the last thirty years is more than good enough up to grade VI.

ALC
highclimber - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling: Asking 'what axe' for a particular grade is like asking 'what shoe' for a particular rock grade. You climb what you can with what you've got. Granted I wouldn't recommend buying a 60cm Raven axe for grade 4 just like I wouldn't recommend a down-turned uber-technical pair of shoes for a scramble but for everything in between, you'll make do with what you've got and if you fail, you will blame the tools - all bad workmen do! Just get better at climbing and you can use whatever axes you want!
BruceM - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling:
Grab some new Quarks, or equivalent if that model doesn't feel right for you. Hanging around in the lower-mid grades you don't need fancy handles or wild shaft shapes and are more likely to appreciate the light weight and versatility for more standard alpine-like techniques. Be aware that if you want to use old fashioned-style leash these don't work too well. Your only option is the proprietary clipper/shaft-bolt thing, which is not secure at all for standard alpinism (you can't just drop the tool and let it hang from your wrist without major risk of it unclipping).

For crampons any of the big players will be perfect and other factors such as fit on your boots, binding preference, and materials are just personal choice. G14 style vertical points "feel" more secure in hard ice than G12 style horizontal for weekend bumblies. But they are heavier and clutsier on alpine (walky) stuff. Strap-on front are way more useful for diff types of boots.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling:
I think you should definitely consider leashless and I think if you end up converting the Axars you'll still end up buying some tools designed for leashless anyway.

Therefore I'd flog the Axars and get Vipers and go leashless. I own the old quarks (leashless) and much prefer the swing in to ice on the new vipers, plus they are more bombproof than the new quarks (which are having durability issues with the upper grip rest).
smuffy on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling: Support the UK economy and buy DMM!
highclimber - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Cuillin Calling)
> I think you should definitely consider leashless and I think if you end up converting the Axars you'll still end up buying some tools designed for leashless anyway.
>
> Therefore I'd flog the Axars and get Vipers and go leashless. I own the old quarks (leashless) and much prefer the swing in to ice on the new vipers, plus they are more bombproof than the new quarks (which are having durability issues with the upper grip rest).

When you say 'consider leashless' you mean 'using a clipper leash', don't you?
Milesy - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to smuffy:
> (In reply to Cuillin Calling) Support the UK economy and buy DMM!

DMM is also popular outside the UK. To say we should only buy DMM is to people outside the UK should also only buy their own local gear....
CurlyStevo - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to highclimber:
sorry no I mean using a leashless lanyard system such as the BD spinner leash (confusing terminology I know)

http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/ice-climbing-tools/spinner-leash-BD4111470000ALL1.html

Most climbers I know that have tried leashless never go back, although some only prefer it on certain climbs (easier / harder / etc)

I've added some small 5mm cord loops (to the base of the handles) and some upper grip rests to my old style quarks for this purpose.
Simon4 - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> I think you should definitely consider leashless

"Leashlessness" is much more of a dogma and a fashion than a rational choice. Leashes will function perfectly well at that sort of grade, and are much more likely to help than to hinder.
Cuillin Calling on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling:

Okay maybe I should rephrase my original question - I realise you can't specify one type of axe for a particular grade. I was more interested to hear what the pros and cons of some newer axes were before heading to the shops. Particularly thinking about the leashless ones such as Flys, Quarks, Vipers, Cobras. I experimented last year going leashless with a simple double spring leash/lanyard on the Axars. Didn't get on with it too well and resorted to using the leashes again. May have been the fact that the handles of the Axars are not that grippy and need to adapt them with griptape and a hook, or just re-invest as Curlystevo sugests.

So far one vote for Vipers and one for Quarks.....any others?
Bwox - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Simon4:

> "Leashlessness" is much more of a dogma and a fashion than a rational choice. Leashes will function perfectly well at that sort of grade, and are much more likely to help than to hinder.

Piffle.
highclimber - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: I agree, Climbing with a lanyard is miles better than any leashed system. I just wanted to clarify that's what you meant!
CurlyStevo - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Bwox:
> (In reply to Simon4)
>
> [...]
>
> Piffle.

+1 its all just so much less of a hassle, with leashes seems some days I spend more time putting my hands in and out of the leashes than doing anything else. Leashless you can switch tools or put a tool on a shoulder or leave one in the rock / ice INSTANTLY, shaking out and placing gear all become simpler too. Its not to do with grade when leashless becomes useful, for me anyway.

You're also not "locked into" high axe placements and hot/cold aches seem much rarer too.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Simon4:
"Leashes will function perfectly well at that sort of grade"

Whilst that is true I think you can carry that argument through to nearly all the grades. What's the hardest Scottish route that's been done with leashes I wonder.
Nick Harvey - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling: Go leashless – it took me a while to convert. Just got super pumped on everything, then one day the penny dropped about shaking out properly (not that this was a new idea to me, it just didn’t click). I’d even go so far as to say ‘go full Nomic’! Downsides are much less than people are about to tell you below this post, benefits are numerous. Okay, no adze and harder to plunge – big deal. I can’t think of a single time since getting Nomics that I thought ‘Id’d rather have my Vipers here’ inc easier routes, approaches, etc. I think Dane of coldthistle was even advocating the even more radical Egros on moderate ground. Consensus will have you get Quarks though and in a few years you’ll buy Nomics anyway.
LakesWinter on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: At least VIII I should think and maybe IX
angry pirate - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Bwox)
> [...]
>
> +1 its all just so much less of a hassle, with leashes seems some days I spend more time putting my hands in and out of the leashes than doing anything else. Leashless you can switch tools or put a tool on a shoulder or leave one in the rock / ice INSTANTLY, shaking out and placing gear all become simpler too. Its not to do with grade when leashless becomes useful, for me
anyway.

+2
Much easier to place gear, less pumpy when scared, warmer. Such a no brainer really.
I'd still use umbilicals in case I drop one mind.
>
> You're also not "locked into" high axe placements and hot/cold aches seem much rarer too.

In reply to LakesWinter:
> At least VIII I should think and maybe IX

Oh - Fun game! Considering there are plenty of VIIIs from the 80s I'd say there no doubt on that one. What grade did Guerdon get given in new grades? Was it IX? In which case Cubby has climbed IX with wrist loops and I thought Brian Davison was sort of famous for climbing with all sorts of odd bits and bobs gear, including non-matching elderly tools - so he's probably done IX with wrist loops too.

Of course all the early "new wave" mixed climbs in Europe and N. America were done leashed too, so maybe up to M10?
smuffy on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to smuffy)
> [...]
>
> DMM is also popular outside the UK. To say we should only buy DMM is to people outside the UK should also only buy their own local gear....

Where did I say to only buy DMM?
ads.ukclimbing.com
iksander on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Cuillin Calling)
> I think you should definitely consider leashless

Leashless is so... 2005. I reckon going "axeless" is the next big thing.
andrewmcleod - on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to iksander:

I reckon we should replace axes with gloves with Wolverine-style claws on :)

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