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All-around ice gear?

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Postby Autoxfil » Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:34 pm

Most of my activity will be on short WI routes - there are numerous waterfalls and wet rock faces within just a few miles of my house. Many of them are vertical rocky creek banks that provide WI3-4 climbing 10-30' tall, and I can top-rope most of those. I will be going to the Adirondacks and Catskills on ocassion as well, for moderate alpine climbing. That's a once-a-winter kind of trip for me, though.

I don't see anyone arguing against a Sum'Tec or Venom for Washington and Rainier - they just cost way more than a SnowWalker or Raven. If I was doing moderate WI alpine routes I think the technical alpine axes could really do it all, but it sounds like they'll fall short for my weekend attacks on fairly hard (but short) ice pitches.

I also agree that technical tools + ice ax is about the same money as a set of technical alpine tools - especially since they are new and not available used. I could very easily get lightly used Vipers and a Raven for $300, probably $200 if I shop for a while.

I see used Ravens selling for so cheap ($40) it seems silly to not add one to my kit, so I have something for self-arrest. If I end up replacing it with a more technical tool, I could just sell it.

Crampons look to be a home-run, however. It looks like most people agree Sarkens, G12s, or maybe Sabertooth crampons all should do everything I need with minimal comprimise.

Thanks for all the help! I'd steer us to ice ax length, but I think there's been more than enough written on that topic already - I'll just search and read.
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:15 pm

Autoxfil wrote:

I don't see anyone arguing against a Sum'Tec or Venom for Washington and Rainier - they just cost way more than a SnowWalker or Raven. If I was doing moderate WI alpine routes I think the technical alpine axes could really do it all, but it sounds like they'll fall short for my weekend attacks on fairly hard (but short) ice pitches.


Paired with a hammer, an axe like the Sum'Tech or Venom are useful for moderately technical routes on mountains. Think routes like Liberty Ridge on Rainier.

I think the best advice is to get a regular axe (my favorite is the Grivel Air Tech Racing) and a pair of good technical tools.
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Postby jonesa37 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:17 pm

if you are living on the east coast it sounds like you will need a glacier axe less and more often using a ice tool. If you are coming out west to climb the Emmons glacier just go to rei and rent it for super cheap. Spend the money and invest in some sick tools.
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Postby robpatterson5 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:58 am

I think thats good advice - only recomedation is to stay away from the Raven/Raven Pro. BD really makes those picks for snow climbing, if you are thinking of routes like Kain Route on Robson, Wooly and Didem, even stuff like Victoria, having a piolet with a real pick on it that can handle ice is really nice.
IMO Raven Pro, great for walking/sking on snow, but that's about it.
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Postby Autoxfil » Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:26 pm

Well, I found a brand new Raven Pro for $60 with free ship, so I snagged it. If I decide to replace it, I can sell it for about what I paid. But, it sound like it should be great for Washington and Rainier. Now to keep an eye out for cheap Cobras...
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Postby MRoyer4 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:01 pm

One thing you'll notice is that there are a million opinions on ice tools. They all have specific targets, but most can be used in multiple situations.

Something that hasn't been mentioned: try a bunch out before you purchase. More than just function, they all have a different feel to them. The weighting, grip, pick size, pick angle, etc. Based on your hand size and strength, one tool may just feel right to you while the others feel awkward. I know this is the case for me.

It's a bit difficult to try things out in PA (I feel your pain), but The Mountaineer in Keene or IME and EMS in North Conway are great places to even just pick up different tools.
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Postby connollyck » Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:54 pm

I can't believe no one's reccomended the Aztars. These are perfect tools for alpine/technical climbing. I've havent climbed WI yet, but from what I read they do fine there as well.

This is my setup...

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