So I recently got given a petzl sum'tec by a friend. I'm looking to do some winter climbing this year, nothing too hard as I'm a complete beginner. Is it worth buying a second sum'tec and using them as a pair to climb or would they be completely the wrong tool for the job?
Thanks in advance
As a complete beginner you might well find that you only need one axe for your first season, and the Sum'tec would be ideal for that. And plenty of people have an unmatched pair of axes when they start out, with one less and one more technical axe, so you could always buy a second axe of something you will eventually buy the pair for.
A friend bought a Sum'tec adze as his first axe, with the intention of of pairing it with the hammer at a future date if necessary. He seemed to like it, and I can see why.
My first pair were an old pair of Black Diamond Rage, bought used from here, and one of the first things I did was buy a lightweight mountaineering axe for the moderate terrain where I spend most of my snowy time. I've since replaced the Rages with some Vipers, and because I'm a wimp who's very comfortable not having serious ambitions above Scottish III and AD, I frequently climb with the hammer paired with my mountaineering axe (a Petzl Summit). It's a great sort of combination for when you want two axes but the terrain is moderate or there's a lot of 'exciting walking' to get to, from or off the route.
The Sum'tec, I reckon, would make a great start if you're just getting into snow and ice. I imagine if you wanted to pair it with something else in the future, the corresponding hammer would happily get you up things up to a respectable grade. And they're light.
TL;DR: I think they'd be an excellent choice.
They're great first axes, especially if you end up pottering at the lower grades for a while. I love mine. As tehmarks says, they're really light weight, and you can add a second trigrest to make them a bit more user friendly for harder terrain.
I started with one axe and I wish I'd moved to two sooner.
I have a sum'tec which I pair with a DMM apex sometimes. As people have mentioned they are light and as a climbing axe I'd say they are too light. They don't have any weight for punching into ice compared to climbing axes.
They are amazing as mountaineering axes that can cope with a bit of steeper stuff. I combine mine when doing mountaineering routes that have the odd bit of 2 axe ground.
I wouldn't get the hammer. I'd either get a climbing hammer that I'd pair at a later date or hunt for a pair of climbing axes at good price. Could you borrow a climbing axe while you get started?
Just a thought: I've always climbed with axe and hammer, but now I very rarely carry anything that requires a hammer. Two axes seem a better idea in that you can clear snow more easily L or R.
I'm switching to two axes for the coming season, assuming we will be let out to play
just check on replacement pick avaliability.
>... you can add a second trigrest to make them a bit more user friendly for harder terrain.
I picked up a Sum'tec after the end of last season (in fact after a recommend by nawface!) and have pondered the feasibility of doing just that.
Have you done it personally? How has it worked?
Thanks in advance.
As others have said, they'd be a good choice.
If you do find you get into steeper ice sooner one useful addition is pick weights to add some penetration to the swing. I've got a pair of Gullies (which are even lighter) for longer easy routes and the pick weights really help when it steepens up.
It works pretty well, although having had a little go with 'proper' tools it's certainly not as good, but it definitely gets you a bit more mileage out of the Sum'tecs. It gives a much more confidence-inspiring feeling when matching. I also find it makes clinging grimly to one axe as I bollocks up my gear and feet placements much easier
Perhaps it's my lack of experience with other equipment showing, but they seem to punch into ice quite readily.
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...
Fred Rouhling's visionary route Akira at Les Eaux Claires, France, has finally had a repeat after 25 years and not only one, but two! Seb Bouin and Lucien Martinez made the 2nd and 3rd ascents of the route.