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All-around ice gear?

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All-around ice gear?

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:53 pm

I enjoy ice climbing, and will be going quite a few times a year. But, I'm not very hardcore and mostly do local, easy stuff. Also, I'm doing Mt. Washington in January and Rainier (Emmons Glacier) in June, and I'm sure I'll be doing lots more NE winter stuff in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

So, given my modest ambitions, is it possible to buy crampons and ice tools that will serve me well everywhere? I see Petzl and others make ax-length ice tools made for moderate technical pitches as well as glacier travel, and dual-purpose crampons as well. But, the traditional logic is that I'll be much better served by some rigid crampons and technical ice tools for steep stuff, and 10-pts and longish ax for glaciers. Does this still hold true, or does some of the new muti-use gear work well enough to be used on a variety of pitches by an uncommitted weekend warrior such as myself?

Here's an example - the ax I have me eye on. A couple of those in an adze/hammer combination would not only keep my gear collection trim, they would be great to have "just in case" on trips where an ax would usually suffice - either in an emergency like a crevasse fall, or if I just sumble on some cool technical route to try my hand at.

http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/classic ... xes/sumtec
Last edited by Autoxfil on Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MRoyer4 » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:18 pm

I've used Grivel G12's with success in the northeast and on alpine routes. They'll be just fine for ice up to WI4 in the east. Above that you may want vertical front points, but at that point you'll be climbing a lot and will probably have multiple sets.

As for tools: Since you're in the east, you'll probably spend more time on water ice than glaciers. I'd recommend something more along the lines of the Petzl Aztar or Grivel Matrix Light. They're still all-around type tools but will do much better on WI.
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Postby bird » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:36 pm

For glacier travel, a basic axe like a black diamond raven will suffice. Simple cheap light.
For ice, get petzl quarks or similar. Something with a pinkie guard.
If you get something for both, they'll suck at both. If you are going to climb grade 3-4 ice, you may not need the best tools, but bashing your knuckles sucks just as much on a grade 2 as it does on a grade 5.
Anyway, get one good pair of ice tools and a basic glacier axe and you'll be covered.
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Postby cbcbd » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:41 pm

What routes are you wanting to climb in the NE? And elsewhere?

I think the Sum'tec looks great but I think of it more as a specialty tool -great for doing long alpine routes with some technical sections. And by that I mean routes longer than anything you'll see in the NE.

I'd start out with a general use mountaineering axe which you'll be able to use on Rainier, steep snow routes in the Whites, and just general winter usage. Something like the BD Raven or Raven pro, or Petzl Snowalker.

If you start getting into pure ice climbing (which is where the NE really shines in terms of quality, quantity, and access) I'd invest in a real set of ice tools - BD Cobras or Vipers, Petzl Quarks, Camp Awax are some that will be great for vertical ice and could also be used for technical alpine routes.
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Postby MRoyer4 » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:17 pm

bird wrote:If you get something for both, they'll suck at both. If you are going to climb grade 3-4 ice, you may not need the best tools, but bashing your knuckles sucks just as much on a grade 2 as it does on a grade 5.
Anyway, get one good pair of ice tools and a basic glacier axe and you'll be covered.


I thought about making this suggestion as well, but I think it depends on future routes. Water-ice specific (i.e. leashless) tools are of little use on alpine routes where you wouldn't always make a full swing, but still use two tools (e.g. daggering up 55 degree snow). I only own one pair of tools, Grivel alp wings, which have a removable pinkie rest/guard and work great in both WI and alpine situations. Sadly, they aren't made anymore.

Anyway, it all depends on intended use.
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...

Postby robpatterson5 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:29 am

I think that would be fine, IMO combine with an Adzteryx hammer (the one w/ the metal shaft) for a nice setup. Maybe not as nice as Nomics on ice/mixed - but for alpine, great!
I'd get a pair of Sarken Crampons, that would be a nice setup for most alpine, walking and easier ice.
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Re: ...

Postby Dan Shorb » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:38 am

robpatterson5 wrote:a nice setup for most alpine, walking and easier ice.


I agree on the glacier axe as the tool you want first.

Also, If only doing a few ice routes a year, I'd just borrow some techy tools, and go straight shaft for a purchase. Remember, most of the ice routes you'll be on in your first several years of ice climbing were done in the seventies and eighties with straight shaft tools, especially if doing "alpine" routes with only some ice and plenty of need to plunge the sucka in the snow. Curved tools are like ski-helmets: most of us don't need'em, and there's enough out there to borrow them if you do need them a time or two. This will also let you try a bunch and find out what you like for what type of route you will "mostly" be doing...

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Postby woodsxc » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:22 am

BD Sabretooth is a very solid all-around crampon.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:27 am

Here's my All Around Alpine Ice/Alpine Glacier Set-Up...
G-12's
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BD Venom's 50cm Hammer/Adze Combo w/Slider's
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For vertical Tech Water Ice, I swap the Venom's for my Dual Hammer ImageQuasar's...

Image
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Postby JHH60 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:46 am

+1 on the BD Venoms. The reverse curved pick bites hard blue ice really well but the straight shaft can be plunged in snow. It doesn't swing quite as well as a really technical axe like a Cobra but is more versatile for alpine. Also nice to have a replaceable pick.
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Postby robpatterson5 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:41 am

Can I just say how much I wish I had bought a Tech(ish) piolet when I started out rather then my Raven Pro?
The number of times I have wanted to be able to swing easily into glacier ice and had that thing bounce off or take a dozen swings is almost equal to the amount of times that I have wished for a decent sized adz on it.
Dont get me wrong I love the weight - I just see my partner with his Air Tech Racing and a Quark climb WI3 and I'm jealous. I really wish I had bought one of those.

So my point is, get a decent piolet like the Air Tech series, Sumtec, Venom, ect. You will be amazed how awesome it is to have a decent pick and adz - oh and weight matters, I like the Grivels b/c they weigh like 10-12 oz each. The Venoms (which climb better) weigh more, but not that much more to worry.

I think a set of Venoms might be exactly what your looking for.

As an aside, I have the Saberteeth, they are not that great for ice IMO; I obviously prefer my G14s for that, but if rebuying for what you are talking about I would SERIOUSLY consider the Petzl Sarkens.
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Postby 96avs01 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:11 am

Has anyone used the Petzl Sum'Tec?

Image

Wondering if this may be the closest tool option for the OP's needs?
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:44 pm

96avs01 wrote:Has anyone used the Petzl Sum'Tec?

Image

Wondering if this may be the closest tool option for the OP's needs?


At $175.00 ea?????????

That's $50-65 more than a Venom. And it doesn't have a replaceable pick.....

I am not a BD fan by any means.

But, when I put my hands on the Venom's three years ago, I was highly impressed and had to get em.

One of the best general purpose Alpine axes ever made IMO.

Oh yeah, they are still made in the good ole U.S.A.
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Postby rhyang » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:22 pm

The Sum'Tec actually does have a replaceable pick. Cost probably has something to do with the dollar-to-euro exchange rate :)
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Re: All-around ice gear?

Postby bdynkin » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:47 pm

Autoxfil wrote:I enjoy ice climbing, and will be going quite a few times a year. But, I'm not very hardcore and mostly do local, easy stuff. Also, I'm doing Mt. Washington in January and Rainier (Emmons Glacier) in June, and I'm sure I'll be doing lots more NE winter stuff in the Adirondacks and Catskills.


Crampons is easy: hybrid crampons like G12 with front straps and heel bail can be both used on hard water ice routes and for general glacier travel.

Ice tools/ice axes - not so easy. Generally, you need a simple long ax for mountaineering (self arrest, plunging, general support, etc.) but short tools for water ice. Yes, you can climb alpine ice with some of those hybrid tools like Sum'tech or BD Venom but IMHO you have to be already good at climbing water ice to use and especially lead with these tools. Chief, do you agree? It maybe similsr $$ to buy a simple long ax and a set of used ice tools compared to a set of hybrid tools like Sum'tech or BD Venom which would be neither good enough for steep water ice climbing nor long enough for general mountaineering.

My own experience: I have one of those hybrid axes: DMM Raptor (hammer) with changeable picks. It's sad but I just never use it these days.
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