blazin wrote: the one thing that is sort of bothering me about the Blue Ice tethers is the need to girth hitch them to the tool. On routes that combine snow slopes and ice--ie where you'll be plunging the shaft in snow (cane piolet) in addition to climbing ice--I would imagine that having the tethers attached to the spike, without an easy way to remove and re-attach them, could prove a PITA. Thoughts?
First off, my answer is, several options on tethers, buy or make what you think will work best for you.
Not a sales pitch just an observation. I choose to girth hitch the Blue Ice. But you can use what ever biner you think appropriate on them as well or have the option of doing either/or depending on the tools you use and the conditions you climb in. You don't have that option with Grivel or BD. Both of which I have seen people cut the production biners off and add their own. But no option to girth hitch with the original slings on BD or Grivel.
That said here is my take. I've used tethers for a long time. My first were home made and always tied to the tools and girth hitched to the harness. No option removing them easily on route. The crux (or at least the scariest part) for some big climbs, like Slipstream for example, is using your tools plunged into the snow on sketchy terrain with no pro available. The tools/tethers work fine that way. You just drive the tools into the snow and the tether follows. Used everything up to the old style Quarks done up with tied tethers and never had an issue. Not saying it was the best answer just saying it works. If you fall on the tool the leverage isn't the best. But if you fall snow climbing and loose the head of your tool ...a tether isn't likely to be a big help. Tether on ice with a good stick? Different story.
These days, I might also take a lwt aluminum axe with a simple wrist loop with me if I think I might need to do a lot of piolet canne. No tether attached, for the same reason, we are now talking about snow climbing. But I generally climb everything with either Nomics or Ergos. If I am not simply just reversing them for Piolet Canne, the added aluminum axe is worth the effort/weight because the technical tools climbs so well on steep ground. I'd be happy to take that same Nomic/Race axe combo on Slipstream if I were to do it again and likely be happier/safer as the end result.
I have, but seldom use the Cobra and the newest Quarks. I don't do a lot of climbing where I use piolet canne. If I did I would use those tools (or something better like a simple straight axe) more often. But if I am doing a lot of piolet canne I would generally just remove the tethers altogether with rare exceptions.
Clipping directly into an axe's spike with in a wire gate like the BD spinner is a quick way to loose a tool as the spike and wire gate easily lever the gate open. Pretty common occurance actually. Don't clip steel to steel unless you use a locker is my thought. The amount of time to remove a girth hitch on a Cobra or Quark and start doing piolet cane without a tether isn't time prohibative for me...it is just a few seconds. Obviously not as quick or as easy as a biner but the issue isn't the change over, it is loosing a tool when you make a mistake and drop it. No question the change over might well be the place you drop the tool though.
For me it gets boiled down to this: "What is my priority for the tether?"
1st..keep the tool attached
2nd..be as strong as possible
3rd..be fail safe for me the klutz (as in keep the tool attached)
The rest I can work around. You may not want to.