How to trash a $300 ice tool ?


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Aya K

Trad climber
New York
May 4, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
Kathy - the top the top the top - on my grivel cascade picks, if I kept the tops (like a good two inches of it) razor sharp, it made cleaning MUCH easier. Also I tried rounding the nose on one of them, not sure if it made a difference but it might have. They also seemed to need filing just about every time I climbed, or else they'd get stuck. Very secure, and I agree, very easy to swing for those of us with puny upper body strength, but I found I was going through picks much more quickly than I do with Petzl or BD picks, and yes, fiddly to maintain and clean.

Social climber
way out there
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2009 - 01:11pm PT
Isn't this fun?

"as i need (ok, want) both an adze and a hammerhead on the more trivial stuff i prefer. i guess you nutty souls who like the almost upside down stuff have different needs. but how do you make a comfy sit-upon and feed your stove w/o an adze? how do you sink that escape lost arrow without a hammerhead?"

"Micro hammer shown was easy to mill but a standard adze and regular hammer will still bolt right on if required."

But with a little more work the adze can be done up as a micro as well. No question the sans hammer/adze gig is a new one for me as well and is taking some time to wrap my head around the possibilities and just maybe, the precieved limitations.

Having been in the same positions with full on kit, here are a couple of older photos by others that have changed my perceptions of what might be possible in the alpine with "modern" tools.

"Jon Walsh's photo of Chris Brazeau soloing Mt. Alberta's signature feature--the 500-meter, fifty-five-degree ice face, shaped like an inverted triangle, that lies below the north-face headwall."

Jon Walsh's photo again of Caroline George on Shooting gallery.
Same two pictured earlier in the thread on the n face of Droites with two hammer and one missing the back end.

Then there is Ueli Steck with Nomics and Griffith's photos.
The shots I don't have of a Steck using a Nomic dry tooling the Difficult crack was enlightening as well. I climbed it in crampons and verglass. It was a bitch. Doing it as a mixed pitch with Nomics would have made life much easier.

What I have found is climbing in the alpine with out adze or hammer hasn't made much difference the majority of time. The newest picks don't chop like a piolet pick did but they cna generall get the job done. Even a tiny adze will get a lot done if it isn't hard blue ice.

But then if the tool allows you to climb faster, be more secure and save a lot of energy in the process may be there is a rationale behind the over all design changes in ice tools.

All of which might have a few going back and adding one of these to there super light kit.


May 4, 2009 - 02:48pm PT
Pics of my grivel quantum tech pick mod .. such as they are :)

The x monster picks as found on these seem to have been refined slightly since the x-monsters came out originally.

I've knocked them against rock a few times and find that they don't mash all that badly, certainly not compared to quark picks.

Social climber
way out there
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2009 - 03:43pm PT

Couple of random thoughts on the Quark. Even after cutting down the Quark head to Nomic looks to have as much or may be a bit more aluminum supporting the pick. Nomic has 19mm x 21mm of aluminum head plus some heavy contouring and the biner hole to support the pick. The cut down lwt Quark has a full 22mm x 21mm of aluminum and no biner hole to support the pick. Neither tool supports the bottom of the pick on the shaft. Nomic picks (with or with out the bolt on pick weight)work in a standard Quark and have all the support of a normal Nomic. So the Nomic picks (and Quark picks) work in the chopped Quark as well.

Mini hammers seem to work (sorta) for the BD tools. Certainly changes the swing weight of the chopped Quark (or Nomic) but an option over using pick weights if you nee a hammer or want a little more weight for the sinker, one swing stick.

Either way the chopped Quark gives you the majority of advantages of the Quark for alpine and some of the advantages...but not all...of the Nomic.

Still working on cutting down an adze.

But a couple of options easy to do.

pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
May 4, 2009 - 09:38pm PT
> Isn't this fun?

yup! and the photos you posted are sah-weet. you almost got me
sold on the micro-hammer/micro-adze vision. for i do have a
micro-ass -- it's not like i need an avi shovel to scoop out a
micro butt perch.


certainly brave stuff pushing your quark's head into a grinding
wheel. gotta know your temper math.. i fear my command of
metallurgy is lacking. but i'm digging your train of thought.
perhaps with a file - perhaps just a wee bit at a time. but as
with all things human, one only know where the golden mean is
once you've passed it.

good thread... thanks.


Social climber
way out there
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2009 - 09:55pm PT
If ya want to be real careful a hand file will not hurt a thing temper/heat treat wise. On the other hand most of the metal that needs to be removed is aluminum and while it does get heat treated (I think) it also isn't all that big of deal to grind on....where a pick obviously is because you'll ruin the temper/heat treat and trash a pick quickly on a grinder.

Easy to keep the heat down on the aluminum head by continually dipping it in a bucket of cold water as you go with a grinder.
It is easy and I don't think you'll hurt it a bit if you take even the small precautions of going slow on a grinder and continually dipping the head in water.


Ice climber
canyon country,CA
May 4, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
I've found it usefull for mixed climbing to taper the hammer head kind of like the shape of a nut. Sticks in there great.

Sep 10, 2009 - 11:26pm PT
In re: getting all the features on one tool, there may be patent issues involved in this that the various companies haven't worked out among themselves yet or maybe won't ever, so you might just have to face the fact that if you want it all you'll have to start with what you have and customize yourself.
mark miller

Social climber
Sep 10, 2009 - 11:56pm PT
Shite I've done M6 with a 30 year ol' forrest metal 70 cm......with a clove hitch through the adze per Chouinards book.Same Ax I cut a head on car crash victim out of there car when the fire dept was scrachtin there heads on how to do it..."81'. Ask Jello ......Cowboy up and climb or cut limes for my beer when I return. But i really do like my ol' Stubai in on hand...

Ice climber
the ford VT
Dec 21, 2009 - 12:11pm PT

The CAMP leashless Awax's are pretty amazing tool. I usually climb on a pair of BD Reactors, but after liberating a pair of Awax's from a buddy for a month, I'm not sure if I want to go back.

I really don't see why the Awax's aren't on every craig? Seems that way with all CAMP's gear high quality but rarely seen...

Anyways what was most impressive is that they ditched the weight and hammer feel that all BD tools have, for a tool that goes in from the wrist. You can still bash to your hearts content... I see no downsides on them. And want to hear from someone with them who dislikes em.

Ice climber
Ice Caves at the Sads
Dec 22, 2009 - 12:51am PT
Jeff, the X15s were great about ten years ago.
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