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Best straight shafted climbing axe?

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 cacheson 10 Jan 2022

I used a pair of Simond Barracuda/Chacals for my first winter climbing season before buying myself a pair of modern axes. I found that they were actually very capable tools, particularly for ice climbing (as long as you didn't want to place any gear!). I was wondering what people think was the best straight shafted technical climbing axe with a banana pick?

 barbeg 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cacheson:

You still got your barracuda & chacal ?

If so, I'll buy them off you...

Barbeg 

 top cat 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cacheson:

You are already using the best.....hammer head that actually works on pegs, adze that you can pull up on.....

Modern tools have shite heads/adze that cannot do f all to get you up a route!

 cacheson 10 Jan 2022
In reply to barbeg:

Nah, I'm afraid I sold them on to someone who has thankfully gotten a lot of use out of them.

 cacheson 10 Jan 2022
In reply to top cat:

I particularly liked the adze- I ran out of rope about 4 metres from the top of indicator wall and ended up digging a bucket seat. Took about 2 chops with that enormous adze.

In reply to cacheson:

I'm trying to think but I'm not sure if there are any straight shaft reverse pick tools made any more. I've seen some ice climbers in NE USA carry piton hammers on their harness in addition to using two hammerless modern tools to climb with. People sell off old Vertige on FB groups from time to time if that's what you desperately want.

 ScraggyGoat 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cacheson:

A nostalgia thread;

Grivel Geronimos; Grivel build quality, options for thinner ice or super tough mixed picks, extra large adze or hammer options. In the event of bolt failure a krab  through the head hole held it all together and kept the stress levels down

or

Simond piranhas; these were very good, many big  ice lines were climbed with them

No doubt the vertige crew will be along shortly, the Charlet posters will argue their corner, while our American steep water ice devotees will be screaming Black Diamond.

In reply to barbeg:

Think I’ve got a pair if you’re still interested?

 barbeg 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

I am.  Sold mine and got modern tools..... regretted selling ever since.

If you have some going I'll buy the pair...

Barbeg 

 cacheson 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TobyA:

The DMM flys actually look pretty similar to the Chacal etc. but with pinky rests and a slight curve. But yeah, that style has certainly gone way out of fashion. I am interested in having a go at making my own, and I was wondering if there are any design features that are particularly desirable. So far I have the offset of the pick from the shaft for improved knuckle clearance, and the banana pick.

In reply to cacheson:

Straight shafts and banana picks? A terrible modern affliction.  Things were better when we had full length alpenstocks and I wouldn't climb with anything else.

You just need to look at the stats.

First ascents of Alpine peaks using alpenstocks = 50+

Whilst first ascents of Alpine peaks with banana picks =0

 cacheson 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Good point- maybe we should start hounding manufacturers to get on it! Especially with modern materials: a carbon fibre shaft with a carbide point- dreamy. Couple that with a few Yogistani porters and some of the finest medicinal champagne and mountaineering will really be brought into a period of enlightenment!

 top cat 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cacheson:

Desirable features:  hammer head with enough forward projection and weight to be useful, and wedge shaped for crack placement.  Top hole big enough to clip a krab through.

Pinky rest and somewhere to attach a leash.

Ability to hammer the pick of the axe.  For desperate situations!  Big adze, angled.

Interchangeable picks.  Field maintainable.  Not too light!   Let the took do the work........

50cm.

Dayglo pink.  )

 subtle 10 Jan 2022
In reply to top cat:

> Desirable features:  hammer head with enough forward projection and weight to be useful, and wedge shaped for crack placement.  Top hole big enough to clip a krab through.

> Pinky rest and somewhere to attach a leash.

> Ability to hammer the pick of the axe.  For desperate situations!  Big adze, angled.

> Interchangeable picks.  Field maintainable.  Not too light!   Let the took do the work........

> 50cm.

> Dayglo pink.  )

Sound like a pair of DMM Aliens - still got a pair, use them occasionally, needed to stick a bike inner over the rubber handgrip but apart from that all good - it’s just a flick 

 Basemetal 10 Jan 2022
In reply to top cat:

Singing Rock Edge? With a Grivel fliplock for a handrest (or two).

https://www.singingrock.com/edge-2

Post edited at 22:41
 Sean Kelly 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> Straight shafts and banana picks? A terrible modern affliction.  Things were better when we had full length alpenstocks and I wouldn't climb with anything else.

> You just need to look at the stats.

> First ascents of Alpine peaks using alpenstocks = 50+

> Whilst first ascents of Alpine peaks with banana picks =0

You forgot the influence of nailed boots over crampons Dan!

In reply to Basemetal:

That's not a straight shaft though is it? I know it's not radically curved but I still not sure if there are any replaceable banana pick, straight shafted tools available. More and more walking/classic alpinism ice axes without reverse picks are coming with bent shafts these days too, although you can get straight shafted ones easily enough. I just sold last night a classic alpine axe from the late 90s. I did have 10 ice axes and tools in my cellar which is a bit much for anyone, now 9. But of those 9, 7 have bent shafts ranging from radically - DMM Switch - to just a little - Petzl Gully. I have a Grivel Airtech racing which I think is nearly 20 years old (still a fantastic axe though) with a straight shaft, and got given as a gift a straight shafted lightweight Simond walking axe when I left a longterm job - not a particularly great axe but keeping it for sentimental reasons! - and that's 11 years ago now. How long until all ice axes of all types will have a some bend in their shaft?

And stop sniggering at the back. There is NOTHING funny about saying "bent shaft" many times. You are just being childish.  

Post edited at 09:27
 Basemetal 11 Jan 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Very true, Toby. The last serious climbing ones I remember we're the Mountain Technology Vertige, some still around  on eBay.

 John Ww 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Basemetal:

> Very true, Toby. The last serious climbing ones I remember we're the Mountain Technology Vertige, some still around  on eBay.

Hope they go for a shedload of brass - I’ve got a completely unused one in my gear cupboard 👍

In reply to John Ww:

You only deal in brass? Wow, that really IS old skool.

 John Ww 11 Jan 2022
In reply to beardy mike:

I’m smelting it to extract the copper - now that really is where the money’s at!! 😂

In reply to John Ww:

Amen to that... all those shiny Teslas got to be made somehow...

In reply to John Ww:

I saw someone selling a pair on Facebook the other day in the outdoor gear exchange group. Asking for 100 and not seeming to get any interest. I'm pretty certain I had seen the pair originally advertised a few weeks back, and when I flog stuff via that group it generally goes very quickly, sometime literally in a couple of minutes, which leads me to believe I'm not charging enough, and 100 is too much for a pair of Vertige!

In reply to barbeg:

They are well used. The hammer lost a bolt and I took into Rock and Run (over 30 years ago!)  where Rick Graham did a botch job which is probably stronger than the original!  Send me a PM and I can sort postage. They’re a gift - just donate to a MRT. 
You know how when you play conkers, if you win you also collect the ‘score’ of the conker you just smashed? Well it’s the same for ice axes and you can claim the climbs I did with them!  


 wercat 12 Jan 2022
In reply to cacheson:

I loved my Golden Eagles.  Eventually they got too short to hold in the ice as securely

I still have a Golden Eagle Hammer I got on Ebay with a virtually unused pick that goes out with me quite often

Post edited at 15:25
In reply to wercat:

> I loved my Golden Eagles.  

 

My first technical tools, happy memories. 

Lent them to a friend and only the axe came back. So I moved on to BD X15s, the last I think with straight shafts. Fully modular so you can eg swap the pick for an alpine one, toolless in seconds.

Never had a problem with bashed knuckles so never felt the need to replace them.

 Billg 12 Jan 2022
In reply to TobyA: I just sold a pair in excellent condition to fund a set of leash less tools. Hope I dont regret it

 cacheson 13 Jan 2022
In reply to Billg:

I definitely don't regret the shift to leashless tools- I find it much easier to climb with them, particularly for mixed and placing gear is much easier. However, I still think the old school axes felt fantastic to climb with. I reckon their perfect use would be soloing ice routes- if you're not stopping to place screws then the downsides to leashed climbing are vastly reduced. Might get a bit more pumped if you can't shake out, but other than that...

 Paul Evans 13 Jan 2022
In reply to cacheson:

Got a pair of BD Shrikes (which really were the last BD straight shafted tools, came out after the X15s) gathering dust in the garage if anyone wants to make me an offer. Think they have the cobra picks and some nice grivel leashes. 

Paul


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