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Naja
Gear Review

Naja

 

Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Naja

Manufacturer: Simond

Your Opinion: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: JScoles

Created/Edited: Mar 11, 2002 / Mar 11, 2002

Object ID: 164

Hits: 4747 

 


This technical waterfall ice tool is light and easy to handle. Its lightweight manoeuverability is provided at some expense to swing weight, but comes with a weight bolt attached to add punch. The curved shaft provides clearance in featured ice. This tool is ideal for experts as well as folks just getting into the swing of things.

  • Leash included.

  • Smaller shaft diameter due to inset grip components.

  • Spike design provides a rest for the hand, yet maintains a gradual profile so plunging is not too impeded.

  • Tightening screws are easily field-maintainable as extra picks can be used to loosen and tighten them (no special wrenches needed).

  • Rubber handle dampens vibrations.

  • Banana pick is T-rated – tests stronger than thinner B-rated picks, but is a bit thicker.

  • Teeth at the shaft juncture allow for additional holding power on bulges and in softer crud.

  • Aluminum shaft and head cap, chrome-moly pick, adze and head.

  • Includes Simond Track up leash, a variable-sized closed loop with Velcro® tightener that can be orally released and tightened. Stiff plastic reinforcement sewn onto the webbing provides more comfort and better circulation for the wrist.

  • Comes with weight kit attached to the pick.

Reviews

Viewing: 1-3 of 3

JScolesUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

I managed to borrow a pair of these beauties from a chum of mine who was unaware of my past history of being of gear destroyer. Fortunately, for his tools, I treated them with all sorts of respect so, I unfortunately couldn’t give them the same work out as I gave the other tools I tested this winter. I tested them only while climbing on a very conservative water ice route and did not do any abusive dry tooling with them or other abusive tests.

The pair I tried where the low end of this product range but I discovered that there is not much difference in price in the range. IMHO what Simond is trying to do is create a series of similarly designed axes that one can pick from to suite ones personal needs much like you can do with tennis racquets. This is surprising from this company and a nice change since they where at one time one of the most conservative of gear makers, nice to see them breaking away and taking the world lead.

Overall I was very impressed by these tools. They are just as light and as well balanced as any of the other bleeding edge models out there and somewhat cheaper. One can see a lot of though and experience from competitions has been incorporated into the axe. This axe was designed for use in steep icefall for a person with average arm length and swing and for me it did swing quite well. The other tools in the line all have just subtle differences in weight, length and curvature so at least one of them in the line will suite your needs.

I found the grip to be great and it was the first time I used a tool without a leash (on top-rope of course) and found no problem going unleashed. Your hand just sort of sticks to the grip without getting tired and the shaft was not tool large being just about right for my hand. My chum from whom I borrowed these from has rather large hands and he has never complained about the grip.

The long curved shaft was great for getting around bulges and I never bashed a knuckle while using these tools. They also have a nice pinkie rest at the bottom of the shaft that cuts down on fatigue and protects your little finger quite well.

The pick is not as radical as some other tools and I found that the head is a little to light. Even with the extra weights added when hitting into very hard ice I found it lacked power I am use to. It was also the tool that did the most fracturing and dinner plating of all the tools I tried most likely because to the picks come with a neutral pick angle. A change to a negative angle to get better placement on hard ice would most likely fix this problem. That being said they gave the best feedback of any of the tools I tried and when you stick these you can trust that they are stuck. The leash is designed to help extract you tools and with a bit of practice this system works quite well.

They worked well with wrist flicks as long as the ice cooperated on harder ice you still had to hit hard. However on very thin ice and verglas I found them to work the best of any tool that I have ever used. I do not think there is another tool out there that can beat these when you have to do delicate work around thin ice.

The hammer is asymmetrical and works well for jamming, as it is far enough away from the shaft not to place your arm in an awkward position like the Corbra did.

The picks are reasonably priced and I found them very easiest of any of the ones I tested to change in the field no tool are required you just use the spare pick.

As an alpine short axe I guess it would do in a pinch. I did try is for daggering and found it to not to be up to the task but then again it was not designed for this. Simond makes no claim that that is what they are for. Simond has a whole line of axes just for Alpine climbing so if you want an all round axe they assume you will go for their Piranha line of tools rather than the Naja line.

All in all it is an excellent tool but a purpose built tool. It is outstanding for thin ice, water ice climbing, dry tooling and competitions but was not designed for more rugged Alpine conditions of hard ice and snow plunging.

If you want an excellent tool that can almost be customized to your swing and climbing style this line of tools is what you want. I myself would go for one of its heaver brethren but keep the present shaft. If you are looking for a general-purpose tool then this is not the one you want.

I will still give it 5 stars as it does excel at what it was designed to do and it comes complete with and excellent leash that was tailor made for it.
Posted Mar 26, 2002 6:21 am

kheegsterGreat leashed tools

Hasn't voted

Simond's US supplier went out of business a couple of years ago so Simond gear has been available on huge discounts... I picked up this pair of Naja's at 50% discount. These are relatively lightweight but stick very well on waterfall ice. The leashes that came with it are very good for a twistlock model, but I attached BD Android clip leashes which has worked out very well for leading.

I'm hoping to see if I can get something like the Grivel Horn to convert them to leashless because they're such great tools that I don't want to give them up to go leashless (I believe the Simond Anaconda's are basically the same tool but with a pinky rest).

Another issue is the availability of picks. The picks are pretty sturdy but I've had several unfortunate encounters with rock so I'm looking to replace them after about 25 days' climbing. It's impossible to find replacement picks in the US, but I emailed Simond and they referred me to a store called Wicked Gravity in Calgary.
Posted Jan 20, 2010 2:26 pm

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