/ REVIEW: Petzl NOMIC and ERGONOMIC

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They're a fantastic all-round technical toolMartin McKenna makes the best of a lean season to trial Petzl's two new top-end technical ice tools.

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joe.91 - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

Having used the new Nomic's in La Grave with the new Pur'Ice Pick I can happily say the pick is excellent, a lot better than the standard Ice pick that comes standard on the Quarks that I was using last season. 

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Martin McKenna - UKC - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to joe.91:

Hi Joe,

I was hoping to get out on some ice this year to test these new picks. As we said in the review, testing axes with the season we're currently having in Scotland has been challenging. There has been very little climbable ice.

For the Pur'Ice pick I was hoping to try give these a test on water ice as I'm sure this is where they would really come into their own over something like Ben Nevis neve. They do look good though. Very narrow at the tip, I can imagine they will penetrate the ice well and reduce dinner plating.

I actually really liked the new Pur'Dry picks also. They are very aggressive but bloody hell they've stayed sharp! Quite aggressive though. I found retrieving gear sometimes quite hard, but they climb well.

Post edited at 11:27
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joe.91 - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

Having climbed a non-insurmountable amount of 'Scottish water ice' (if there is such a thing) with the Ice pick last season, then euro water ice this season with Pur'Ice I'd say the later is better in terms of climbing ability.

However, for Scotland I'd stick with the Ice pick as its a bit hardier. I think the Pur'Ice is a bit to fragile with its thin tip, i.e. if I hit rock under the ice I think the Ice pick would shrug it off better than the Pur'Ice. 

I've stuck the Dry pick on for all mixed duties, the Pur'Dry looked a bit too extreme! However from talking to some friends last weekend I'm keen to try the Kuznia picks when my current Dry pick reaches end of life. That could be a good one to review here on UKC considering its cheaper price point, be interesting to see how they wear. Would be good to compare the hardness analytically!

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Ramon Marin - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

The new nomic handle gives a nowhere near as good as a swing as the first generation. The hump gives the perfect wrist flick. Using the new ones you can definately feel the difference. Other than this and pommel fiasco it does still look like the winner tool in the market

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Martin McKenna - UKC - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Ramon, I actually can't tell any difference between them balance and swing wise, which is a good thing! I've just picked them up again and had a swing about. I would really struggle to identify one over there with my eyes closed if it wasn't for the slightly different feel of the handle. 

The handle for me feels nicer and just that wee bit more refined. I really am glad they also added the rubber to the upper grip. That was badly needed. Tape was a right faff.

The pommel though... It's far from ideal. I'll not bother going into detail as I was very critical of this in the article and feel like I've covered what I wanted to say there.

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innes - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

> The pommel though... It's far from ideal. 

I just bought a spare pommel.

Carrying a spare pommel is cheaper, lighter, and more compact than replacement leashes.  I’m not convinced that breaking a set of leashes is a better outcome...

Better not to fall though!

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Martin McKenna - UKC - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to innes:

> Carrying a spare pommel is cheaper, lighter, and more compact than replacement leashes.  I’m not convinced that breaking a set of leashes is a better outcome...

I disagree. Yes, you can carry extra pommels. You'll need to faff around with an allen key mid route to replace it though. Not exactly an easy thing to be doing with gloves. Usually you're carrying slings, cord etc that could also be used to improvise leashes.

It looks like the pommels are a bit cheaper, but really, unless it was a drastic difference financially does that really matter? I can't imagine half way up a route that I'd be relieved my axes broke instead of my leashes because it's saved me a tenner.

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HeMa on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

true dat...

I'd also be somewhat concerned on the longlivety of the pommel when used as a classic piolet upon approaching the route or the exit slopes, and naturally the descent. Might not be that big of a thing on nice snow/neve, but some of the rocky parts of Scotland might be a completely different thing.

N.B. there has also been reports (well I've seen at least one) on which the new NOMICs pommel attachment has broken (the adjusting teeth on the tool side).

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L Phil climber - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC

we had the new ERGONOMICS with the pur ice picks last year on an Ecrins trip. On WI4 and above they definitely come in to their own. I prefer that setup than the nomics. Also I find the handle one of the comfiest I’ve used. The pur dry picks are super burly too and the angle works really well for tooling on  

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innes - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

I can't imagine half way up a route that I'd be relieved my axes broke instead of my leashes because it's saved me a tenner.

... and you call yourself a Scotsman?!  ;-)

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Rick Graham on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to innes:

The only items of climbing equipment that should be expected to break on a route are the smallest wired nuts or a sling over a sharp spike.

Its pathetic that the heaviest, most expensive single item of climbing equipment has developed so that it is less strong than  3mm accessory cord.

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GarethSL on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Just chobbled up the route you did on your last day in Senja, with the new Nomics, but more importantly... whats it called?!

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Rich W Parker - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

At that price, with any question of fragility whatsoever, I just won't touch them. Why would you?

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Ramon Marin - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to GarethSL:

Nice one! I have no idea of the name, we called ‘last day route’

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Ramon Marin - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to innes:

You can find workaround solutions of course, but I think the problem is that most people find it extremely irritating that all other tools don’t have this problem and specially since being a new tool. Add that to a history of head and pommel problems, together with less than ideal attitude from Petzl then you get  a bunch of climbers irritated about what could be the best tool out there. There’s no reason why they could solve the problem, it’s just that they dont really care. It’s obvious that it was a design after thought and now they claim is a safety feature. Mine have a 4mm kevlar cord drilled through the alu bit at the  bottom and i cant tell you how reassuring it is to know that it wont break by just sitting on it, let alone that it might hold a slip (i use rated nylon landyards) and also as a belay back up. I see this features as a design advantages and clearly all other manufacturers do as well as they all have incorporate them into their designs. So Petzl really have no excuse. 

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Presley Whippet on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

With this number of problems in one of their flagship product, it makes me question my confidence in petzls engineering in general. 

What if a similar lax attitude is taken with the next gri gri for example? 

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HeMa on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Well. Every single version since the original has been a hudge letdown. I’ve made it my business to hodge NOS orig GriGris if I ever come accross them. 

Work like a charm with modern ropes. Feeding rope is a real treat and still locks off when needed. 

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coldwill - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Jeez Ramon, there are ways to fix this without voiding the warranty. The xdream, the Reactor and the Nomic all have holes you can put tape through. Just don't clip the pommel. 

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Ramon Marin - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

Oh think my warranty was void on year one when i had to drill the extra rivets for the wobble head! Petzl shambles. Luckily my eClimbs have done all my mixed heavy lifting otherwise my 11-year old nomics would be reduced to dust

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Mr Messy - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

Well I actually like them...a lot. I like the fact there is a large slot to put my cord thorough into which I can clip the tethers or a runner in if the ice screw business isn't going well. I like the fact the the pommel can be moved to make the handle really comfy for my small hands. With the new picks they go in very easy and extract super. They swing and climb really well and with the adze fitted they extract crud ice, well easy. Fitted the big hammer to balance them out. They are now a bit head heavy and 'role' into the ice.   Umm. I love 'em 

Post edited at 13:58
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Martin McKenna - UKC - on 20 Mar 2019
In reply to Mr Messy:

> I like the fact there is a large slot to put my cord thorough into which I can clip the tethers

Sorry, I've only just noticed this reply. 

The cord method through the handle works in producing a stronger clip in point for climbing, but it does obstruct the handle, so it's messy, harder to climb with and far from ideal. The real pain about this clip point situation is you're having to retro-fit cord to your axes to ensure they don't break. A poor solution for a premium product which cost £240 each at rrp.

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matejn - on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

After climbing with a new Nomics for a better part of this winter, I have to say that cord through a handle hinders my swing lot less than clipping a leash in to a spike.

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Martin McKenna - UKC - on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to matejn:

> After climbing with a new Nomics for a better part of this winter, I have to say that cord through a handle hinders my swing lot less than clipping a leash in to a spike.

Sorry, I had to go take a picture in order to demonstrate just how much the cord can obstruct the handle. Are you saying you find the swing better with cord attached? I don't see how you could argue that.

https://ukc2.com/i/325042.jpg

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matejn - on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

Sorry that's not a cord, that´s a rope , mine is thinner and longer. It goes just long enough to be clipped bellow a spike. I'll post a picture a bit latter.

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galpinos on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

As much as I think the comment about having cord looped though being more comfortable than holding the handle is farcical, I do love the fact you've use the thickest bit of "cord" available to prove a point.

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HeMa on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to galpinos:

The BlueIce leashes don’t even require cord on Nomics at all. And are cheap (~24 Eur) plus nearly full strenght. 

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nufkin - on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to HeMa:

Would't they risk interfering depending on which side of the slot you push them through?

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HeMa on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to nufkin:

Yeah. Albeit not as much as the ’cord’ Martin used. 

So If you switch the tools around a lot, not perfect. But to be honest, not optimal with any tether. 

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innes - on 21 Mar 2019
In reply to galpinos:

>  I do love the fact you've use the thickest bit of "cord" available to prove a point.

I couldn't see past the picture of Chris Bonington on Martin's desktop 

Post edited at 15:55
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In reply to galpinos:

> As much as I think the comment about having cord looped though being more comfortable than holding the handle is farcical, I do love the fact you've use the thickest bit of "cord" available to prove a point.

It's the only cord I had that wasn't in use. It's a 5 meter bit I use if I need to bail off a winter route. It was mearly to demonstrate where the cord falls in relation to the hand and handle. 

Ha, the Bonington poster is actually up because of the writing that is on it, in relation to an old climbing wall where I started climbing called Hadrian's Wall that sadly closed many years ago. 

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TobyA on 20:20 Thu
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

> in relation to an old climbing wall where I started climbing called Hadrian's Wall that sadly closed many years ago. 

Was that the huge hangar of a place in Falkirk or somewhere like that back in the 90s?

I remember it seemed pretty massive compared to the Kelvingrove Wall!

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innes - on 21:43 Thu
In reply to TobyA:

> Was that the huge hangar of a place in Falkirk or somewhere like that back in the 90s?

Aye.  The elite training academy (kind of).  

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In reply to TobyA:

Aye Toby, that was it. It was quite unique and as kids down there in the 90s we loved it although I gather it wasn't so universally loved. That signed posted used to be near reception there and it was something I got when it closed.

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