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tool or axe...

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tool or axe...

Postby s2kfire » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:53 pm

I am planning on the Kautz glacier route next year on Rainier. I am getting some gear together for this winter to practice and get familiar with. I was wondering what your guys' take is on climbing with either a one technical tool and an alpine axe or getting something hybrid like the Grivel Air Tech or BD Venom. I currently have a BD Raven. Should I spring for something like Grivel Matrix Light or Techs or Petzl Quark? Another option would be just to get the BD Venom hammer. I would like to try my hand at some easy WI. Being honest with myself I don't have a lot of friends that ice climb so I don't think I would get too heavy into it.
Prices I have seen around are about $400 for set of Quarks, $230 for set of Matrix Lights, $270 for Matrix Techs, 110 for the Air Tech or $150 for the Venom.
What do you guys think?
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:21 pm

It's very steep snow/alpine ice, but it's not "vertical," therefor, purely ice tools are not needed, and it can be done with a single non-technical general mountain ax. That doesn't mean you SHOULD take a basic ax, and it doesn't mean YOU wouldn't benefit from two tools, be they technical tools or piolets. It is a long route, though... keeping weight down is the crux.

Next time I attempt this route, I'll likely take a lightweight piolet and a 52cm Petzl Sum'Tec hammer.

The second tool will stay on your pack for 95% of the climb, so you want it to be about as light and compact as can be. It will add a huge level of comfort and security during the steepest sections.

My 2 cents.. good luck
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby s2kfire » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:27 pm

I like security. So if my piolet is 70cm is it ok to match it with a 50cm Venom hammer?
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby Ben Beckerich » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:54 am

That's probably gonna work well for you
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby pvnisher » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:45 pm

I have a 70cm straight, and then a matching set of 57cm Venoms, and that allows a fairly good mix and match.
I'm looking at Kautz for the summer and am planning on my 70cm "walking stick" axe and a single Venom.
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby Autoxfil » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:53 pm

s2kfire wrote:I like security. So if my piolet is 70cm is it ok to match it with a 50cm Venom hammer?


Yep, I like to be over-tooled and I'd bring something like that.
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby s2kfire » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:13 am

Thanks, for the advice. I will probably end up getting the Venom. However, would it be more useful than a new Quark Hammer? I understand you may have a better ability to plunge and self arrest with the Venom. Say I wanted to get a set of Quarks to try my hand at some light WI. Would it be worth it to have the Venom in my repertoire in addition to the Quarks?
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby Ben Beckerich » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:03 am

It's just a bit heavier than it needs to be, is all. They're great tools, and lighter than some more aggressive tools out there. If you have a plungeable tool, it doesn't matter if your secondary is plungeable. If it comes down to that being the tool(s) you have, there's certainly nothing outrageous about going that route. I've taken technical tools on routes that didn't necessitate them- if that's all you have, and one basic ax just isn't enough, then you just have to carry an extra lb or so.
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby pvnisher » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:44 am

I like the Venom since it is plungeable and has interchangeable picks. Doing a tamer route? Just put on the classic pick (with the adze) and you're set.
Little steeper or mixed? Swap out for the tech pick.
Will it climb steep WI or M as well as a quark? No. But it is a more versatile alpine tool, IMO.
The Quark is just too focused on doing one thing (although it does it well) for me to buy it.
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby s2kfire » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:30 am

Sounds like I need them ALL! haha. I will probably pick up the Quarks first and the Venom later. Just so I can get out and learn to place some ice pro.I was hoping the Quark hammer could fill the shoes of the Venom hammer. It sounds like the Venom is too versatile to pass up though. Good info. Thanks everyone!
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby Autoxfil » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:49 pm

A Quark is not even any heavier, and it plunges fine. It's just more money. It you are getting into ice climbing, go for the Quarks. As was said, if you have one axe already, you don't need another snow tool.
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby s2kfire » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:21 pm

Yeah I will definitely get the Quarks for this winter. If I can use them pretty well maybe I will skip on the Venom.
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Re: tool or axe...

Postby gcap » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:40 am

if it helps at all, 3 of us did the Kautz this July and all carried 70cm traditional axes and 1 technical tool each (bd viper, petzl aztar, petzl quark). as Ben B said, axes were in use 95% of the route. tools came out for maybe 10-20 swings on the ascent and then down climbing the steep section in dagger position.
Tech tool not totally necessary, but glad I had mine.
If you get the Quark's... done you're all set. no need for the venom unless you want to replace the raven.
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