Technical Ice Axes
Whether it's for Scottish mixed, Continental ice or drytooling, a pair of technical axes are your key weapons. In this comparison review seven models go head to head.
There are many different aspects to the winter climbing and mountaineering game - from ice falls and snowed up buttresses, to classic gullies and big alpine routes. This wonderful diversity is a large part of the appeal, and a seasoned all rounder gets to enjoy the best of it all. The DMM Fly is the definitive all rounder, in fact just the sort of ice tool that performs well on technical ground but can easily be adapted for more traditional mountaineering terrain.
The Fly is a long established and much loved ice tool. It has been well used on many a classic winter route over the years, plus its fair share of Scottish grade VII first ascents. It has always been a popular part of the DMM winter range and for good reason too. Recent design improvements to the handle and pick have seen it reach an even more impressive level of performance.
The new injection moulded rubber handle is ergonomic and grippy in wet or dry conditions; it also provides good insulation. The handle now has a low hand rest which protect your fingers from impact and gives excellent support on steeper terrain. A second optional hand rest bolts solidly into both the shaft and the solid handle stem for a really secure grip.
The double hand rest set up is perfect for the modern leashless technique and allows for useful hand swaps and high hand grips. For those of us scared of dropping tools there is the 'best of both worlds' option of matching them up with an elastic DMM Freedom Leash.
The pick has been redesigned to increase performance across the board. The positive angle on the tip helps to penetrate ice and the enlarged first tooth feels secure when hooked on an edge. The front teeth are carefully shaped so that they can penetrate well and hold securely but also can be released easily when you wish to move onto the next placement.
The big central teeth on the pick provide increased stability on softer ground or neve. The rear teeth help on cruddy placements too, but they also improve stability on steeper ground, for example when you have to hook around ice cauliflowers or rock constrictions.
The strike bump on the top of the pick has been lowered and moved forward so it is more comfortable to carry and ready to break in the reverse position. The bump is still perfectly orientated allowing the pick to be easily hammered into placements or belays.
The Fly adze is large – just the thing for clearing hoar frost and snow to reveal placements and runners. It is also perfect for quickly digging out and clearing a belay stance. The steep angle and indented edge make it torque well in wide cracks too.
The hammer is also carefully sculpted and angled so that it will work effectively, no matter how awkward or constricted the situation.
The interchangeable pick system allows for easy replacement of worn picks over time. There is also the option of swapping the reverse curve Fly pick with the less aggressive curved Raptor pick which is more suited to classic mountaineering terrain.
You can also remove the bottom hand rest for better plunging. Once set up like this, the smooth profile of the handle going into the spike helps to penetrate harder snow.
The gently curved shaft gives clearance when reaching around bulges. It also feels more natural to plunge in snow when used in the reverse carrying position.
All winter climbing, and especially mixed terrain, places great stresses upon equipment; ice tools in particular need to be tough and strong. The Fly is a reassuringly strong axe which is fully T-rated throughout shaft and the pick. The high strength clip in points at the top and bottom of the axe are ideal for classic winter belay techniques.
The shaft is made of high quality, high strength 7075 aluminium alloy, and each axe has a unique serial number guaranteeing traceability throughout the manufacturing process.
The Fly is a classic ice axe design – a true all rounder which is highly adaptable and extremely effective in all of its possible set up options.
|£140.00. Fly Pair Deal: Was £280 Now £225!!!|
See this product at the Joe Brown - Snowdonia shop
See this product at the Jagged Globe shop
|£126.00. Full range of DMM tech axes, pair deals. Free UK delivery.|
See this product at the Cold Mountain Kit shop
|UK's best range and prices on Winter hardware.|
See this product at the Needle Sports shop