|By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Feb 6, 2012
Not really a review, but my comments are as follows:
Had an opportunity to demo these tools this weekend and was really impressed with how they performed. They hook very well, swing weight is damn near perfect, they are relatively light, the pomel actually works, sticks to any kind of ice and picks can be found between $30-$35.00. By the way these tools retail for $219 which isn't too bad in this day of $400 tools!
We climbed a very steep and unsettled #1 gully (Crawford Notch, NH) yesterday. Conditions were sketchy as the sun has been taking a toll on all the south facing routes, but we wanted sunshine (the price you pay right?). It was very steep and somewhat beat out but the tools performed flawlessly displacing very little ice and hooking without any difficulty. The sticks were positive and if a light touch is used, the tools are easy to clean (though it is easy to overdrive them if one is not careful).
Following those two pitches, we humped it up through the woods to Cauliflower gully. Real sketchy ice was encountered there and probably fell down after we moved through the crux section...detached and somewhat hollow, we had to ticky-tack our way up the curtain. Once again, the tools were spot on...light swings and remarkably good sticks.
Despite their old school utilitarian design, these tools are among the best all around tools I have used to date. Great feedback on swings, dead on accuracy with the pick in all kinds of ice conditions, and are some of the best tools on the market when it comes to clearing bulges.
If you haven't had a chance to swing these, you really owe it to yourself to try them out.