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Ice Axes

Postby nyclimber673 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:23 pm

I am new to winter climbing and need to buy an ice axe. I have narrowed it down to Petzl and Black Diamond but i am still not sure which one to buy. I was hoping someone on here could give me some advice on which is a good route to take on this subject.
Thanks a lot
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:31 pm

I have owned, and still own both Petzl and BD ice tools. Either brand is fine, but I find Petzl picks to be more durable than BD. Are you looking for a piolet or technical ice climbing tools? What type of climbing/what mountains/routes are you interested in climbing?
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby nyclimber673 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:37 pm

Well I climb primarily in the Adirondacks so Im looking to do Mt. Marcy in about mid February. But I'm also looking to get into some ice climbing also
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby Dane1 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:52 pm

Moderate Ice climbing? Mt Marcy? Grivel, Air Tech Evolution Ice Axe. You'll just need one and you'll learn more.
Last edited by Dane1 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:52 pm

nyclimber673 wrote:Well I climb primarily in the Adirondacks so Im looking to do Mt. Marcy in about mid February. But I'm also looking to get into some ice climbing also


If you are interested in waterfall climbing I would recommend getting a matched set of tools. Petzl Quark and Black Diamond Cobra are the top of the line all around waterfall/alpine tools. Nomics and Reactors are great tools, but lack a proper hammer and adze that many alpinists want.

If you are looking at doing more traditional mountaineering and some moderate alpine ice/very easy water ice you could pair a techy piolet like the Petzl Sum'Tec with a light hammer like the Petzl Aztarex. Black Diamond makes the Venoms, a simmilar set up.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby nyclimber673 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:54 pm

Ok thankl you
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:56 pm

As Dane1 mentioned, Grivel also makes top flight ice tools, piolets, and crampons.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby Autoxfil » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:16 pm

For the northeast, there isn't a ton of call for an ice axe. Marcy can require one, but it's pretty rare. The slopes are very low-angle and rarely icy. For your first few trips, when you're learning basic skills and should be extra-cautious, you will want one. Just rent one from the Mountaineer:

http://mountaineer.com/

They can give great Daks-specific gear advice and are always willing to chat.

The real moderate prizes in the Adirondacks are Trap Dike, Gothics NF, Cascade waterfall, Chapel Pond Slab, and a few other low-angle, long routes. These are all hard enough that two tools are recommended for the novice. We don't have any long, 30-40 degree snow routes which really require an axe.

A pair of quarks would work well for any of those routes, and not give you any reason to upgrade until you're looking to break into leading really hard stuff - WI5+ and mixed climbing.

http://mountaineer.com/store/merchant.m ... ry_Code=41

A pair of Matrix Lights are much cheaper, would work better as an axe, and be a little more suited for those easy (WI2) climbs I listed. But, they fall short starting around WI4, which you will probably be top-roping your first or second time ice climbing. So if you can afford the Quarks, they are probably the most versatile tool out there. Many other tools are great as well (Cobra/Viper/Quantum Tech/Nomic/X-Ice), but none offer quite the same combination of versatility, light weight, high quality, and parts availability. That makes them a good choice for the beginner, since they will be capable no matter what you end up doing with them.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:47 am

I mainly used ski poles with old-style (no front-point) crampons in the Daks. I used an ice axe on Gothics when it was icy over the cables route.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby nyclimber673 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:01 am

Awesome Im hoping to take Marcy in February
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:21 am

Do you own snowshoes? If not you can rent them at the same time as an axe. You'll be required to have them in February.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby nyclimber673 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:22 am

Yea I own a good pair of snowshoes all Im lacking is the axe
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby Dane1 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:57 am

The whole need two tools thing is so over blown on moderate routes. A decent axe like the Grivel or other steel headed axes will get you up most grade three water ice.

Canadians often joke there is no harder water fall ice than Grade IV. Where most but no all will use two tools.

Get a good straight or almost straight axe and learn how to chop steps and actually climb.

Most of the stuff in Hutington's including Pinnacle Gully can be done with some skill and a single axe.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:55 pm

Dane-

Yes, you can do all these routes with a single axe. Doing so requires lots of skill, and if you start that way you will be a very balanced, composed climber. You also won't climb Pinnacle, Chapel Pond Slabs, or the Trap Dike in your first year of climbing.

But, why in the world would you want to chop steps up Pinnacle? Running up with two modern tools is hugely faster and more efficient. The OP's buddies want to go ice climbing with him, and they aren't going to be happy if he shows up with a single Evo and 10-point SMCs and spends 2 hours chopping steps up Buster (popular WI2+ beginner's route).

You're all about using modern, high-tech gear to take climbing to the next level. Haven't you been on the cutting edge of supporting the use of the Nomic, and now even the Ergo in the alpine? Why not give the beginner the same advantages? My preference is to hand the starting climber Rambo 4s and Nomics. Once they see how easy it is to climb hard with those heavy, powerful tools, you can back them down to simpler techniques to make them more versatile climbers. But face it - a huge number of ice climbers never hit anything but the crags and the moderate classics. Why do they need to know how to navigate steep ice with an axe? They are not going to unexpectedly hit an ice band on an ultra-fast-and-light FA somewhere in AK. They are going to two-tool up moderates happily for many years.
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Re: Ice Axes

Postby WDW4 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:36 am

I use the BD Raven. Not for technical stuff, but for self arrest and just walking up big old piles of snow, it is light and straightforward. And it is cheap.
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