/ Ice axe shopping
Hey folks, looking for some recommendations/ personal experiences. Looking for a pair of winter axes for low to medium grade winter climbing sort of grade 3-4 ish. I currently have one walking axe and Im looking for something slightly more technical so my knuckles aren't getting bashed to bits but that I can still use on Alpine ridges as a walking aid or to break with in Scotland should the need arrise . Im a student at Edinburgh but happy(ish) to fork out the money if its worth it!
I will be using the axes throughout Scottish winter and also the alps during the summer.
Any all-round moderately technical tool will do, DMM Fly, BD Viper, Petzl Quark... et al. ad infinitum...
They will see you up almost anything, have modular picks and can be stripped down (removable finger rests etc) for better suitability to alpine or easier winter climbs.
Have a play with some and shop around, there's usually pretty good deals on ice axe pairs throughout winter. Second hand is also worth considering with ice tools.
Singing rock bandit is a option, i have a pair and for the price they are great, they are a lot like Quarks but with a slightly narrower handle.
> Singing rock bandit is a option, i have a pair and for the price they are great, they are a lot like Quarks but with a slightly narrower handle.
Rather than typing exactly the same, I'll just second this...
I wouldn't bother with the dmm fly. They're crap for mixed and ice. Geometry is all wrong and the pick shape isn't that good. I bought a pair and realised how crap they were when I tried out my mates vipers, so much more stable on rock and almost no dinner plating.
Unfortunately because all you can do in a shop is wave them about like a loon, normally with heavy security tags attached, you can't really get an idea of how they swing in reality, or how they balance on small holds.
This is not a dig at dmm because their trad gear is the best, durable and innovative. I just think their winter/ice range isn't great. Definitely the European manufacturers have got it better, salewa North X, Cassin, Grivel.
I would wait a few more weeks until people start upgrading their winter gear. You should be able to pick up some upmarket axes in used conditions.
I also would not bother with DMM Flies, instead wait for a pair of Quarks or Quantum Techs (my favourites) to pop up.
If you want to buy new and cheapish, I would second the Bandits.
As a counter point to those saying Flys are no good, I've used a pair for years, only up to WI4, Scottish IV but they have been fine in on all of them. Found them much better in Norway than my mates Grivels which were meant to be for water ice.
Mine are very old though so not sure if the design has changed.
+1 for the last post saying don't write off DMM fly. I used the factory made Superfly variant for a few years and led many pitches of up to V in Scotland and Wales on both ice and mixed. They saw action in Norway on water ice for 3 seasons leading plenty of WI4. They are a good solid dependable do it all axe for the low to mid grades and great to get started with. And utterly bombproof.....Oh.....and one of my mates led WI 5 in Hemsedal this year with his unmodified old fly's and the DMM chokehold leashes!
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