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First ice tools, advice needed
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By Rory Macomber
From Redlands, California
Feb 19, 2013
Shark's Fin

Hey guys,

I'm looking to buy my first set of tools. I want 'em to last me while I progreess and also to be pretty versatile, water ice in the winter, alpine ice in the summer. How hard can a straight-shaft axe climb? I have the opportunity to pick up some DMM Flys for pretty cheap and was wondering if they would be worth it?

dmmclimbing.com/products/ice-axes/

The only other tool I've used are the older, leashed BD cobras. And I probably won't be doing all that much dry tooling.


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By Highlander
From Ouray, CO
Feb 19, 2013

Try to find a used pair of tools for your first set and save yourself a lot of money. Used pair of Petzl Quarks would be my advice, a tool that does everything well.


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By drmartindell
From Homer, Ak
Feb 19, 2013

Highlander beat me to it but I'll go ahead and place another vote for the used Quarks. It's really a no-brainer, Quarks is it. Could probably find a slightly older generation of em for around $200-$250. Have fun.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Feb 19, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on

Another plug for the Quarks!


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By Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Feb 19, 2013
Top of Jah-Man Sister Superior

X All Mountains best tool out there.\


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By 419
From Denver
Feb 19, 2013
JR Token

Straight shaft model Quarks, not the old ones with the offset grips.


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Feb 19, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial

Everyone is going to disagree on what tool will serve you purpose best, just how it is. if one tool worked for everyone we wouldn't have variety. Anyways the DMM's have merit and will climb as hard as you're able to push them. I used to have a very similar tool from Grivel that I was able to go into WI5-6 types of climbing so long as the ice wasn't chopped up. That being said there are tools that can make life a lot nicer, ie the quarks are more versatile if their swing agrees with you. And as the others have posted quarks will be sold used for some really good prices where the DMM's are not nearly as popular and therefor much harder to find used.


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By KathyS
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 19, 2013
Me at the summit of Inner Course (5.4) in the Outlets.  Long, lovely, mellow route.  Well protected even.  My favorite lead from the trip.

Inexpensive and excellent tools to get started with would be Grivel Matrix Techs, Cassin X-All Mountains or used Quarks. Check eBay, this site, Cascade Climbers and NEIce.com. You can also Google each one to find sale prices on new ones.


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By Aaron M
From Westminster, CO
Feb 19, 2013
Me

I will make three votes for the Cassin X-All Mountain.


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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Feb 19, 2013

I have old CF Cobras that fit that bill. Excellent tool. The quark is great too. Try to buy used if possible, at least till you figure out what you like


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By user id
Feb 19, 2013
DUDE! Your ankles....

scott cooney wrote:
Everyone is going to disagree on what tool will serve you purpose best, just how it is. if one tool worked for everyone we wouldn't have variety. Anyways the DMM's have merit and will climb as hard as you're able to push them. I used to have a very similar tool from Grivel that I was able to go into WI5-6 types of climbing so long as the ice wasn't chopped up. That being said there are tools that can make life a lot nicer, ie the quarks are more versatile if their swing agrees with you. And as the others have posted quarks will be sold used for some really good prices where the DMM's are not nearly as popular and therefor much harder to find used.

This post reeks of spray and noob. The end-all tool right now is the X-mountain.


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By Rory Macomber
From Redlands, California
Feb 19, 2013
Shark's Fin

Cool thanks for the replies.

My concern with the straighter axes was that when I make the move to more sustained vertical ice they would start to make life a little more pumpy and I would wish for a some more clearance.

I've been looking at the Cassin X-AMs too. They look sweet. I'll keep my eyes open for a deal on the Quarks as well.


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Feb 21, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Get the Cassin All mtns. You may out grow the Quarks if you get into mixed or steep ice. All it takes is sharing ropes with somebody who's got a TR on a mixed line and.. boom you're hooked.


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By michael voth
Feb 21, 2013
2nd pitch of Womb.

X all mountain. nice swing but the grips are fragile, the pinky catch/guard breaks and is held on by the rubber. still an awesome tool.


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By Cale Hoopes
From Sammamish, WA
Feb 21, 2013
Profile Icon

Can someone here explain WHY the All Mountain? I'm 4 years into the sport and haven't swung those. What makes em awesome? I currently own the CF Cobras...


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 21, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

Cale Hoopes wrote:
Can someone here explain WHY the All Mountain? I'm 4 years into the sport and haven't swung those. What makes em awesome? I currently own the CF Cobras...

They have a thin pick which seems to displace very little ice. A large amount of the time you get really solid one-hit sticks.

They have a decently aggressive clearance without being difficult or awkward to swing.

They're neither overly heavy nor ultra-lightweight so the swing is solid, but not tiring.

I wouldn't say they're the best tool available but they're almost certainly the best value. They're extremely affordable for the performance. I'd say they perform about as well as the CF Cobras for much cheaper. I have Nomics, which I love, but I've climbed on the All Mountains and they're pretty solid for pure water ice.


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Feb 22, 2013
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

dont get a non leashless tool or one that cant be made leashless. you just end up buying one in a season or two anyways.

cassin-x all mountain or a used pair of old quarks.


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By Cale Hoopes
From Sammamish, WA
Feb 22, 2013
Profile Icon

Thanks a ton Garret! Exactly the type of review I wanted.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Feb 22, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on

Kirby1013 wrote:
Get the Cassin All mtns. You may out grow the Quarks if you get into mixed or steep ice. All it takes is sharing ropes with somebody who's got a TR on a mixed line and.. boom you're hooked.


I think the Quarks work well for steep ice and mixed BS, you just have to adapt to avoid a little knuckle bashing, but they're amazing all around tools!


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By KathyS
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 22, 2013
Me at the summit of Inner Course (5.4) in the Outlets.  Long, lovely, mellow route.  Well protected even.  My favorite lead from the trip.

neice.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=2726&title=pet>>>


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By JonBates
From cody, wy
Feb 22, 2013

I don't know if this has already been suggested, but go check out an ice festival and demo the tools you're thinking about and see for yourself what you like and don't like. Sign up for a clinic where there will be bunch of people with a bunch of different tools and swap tools between laps to see if you like a different pair more. No one can tell you what tool is the best or what you are going to like. I've been pretty suprised before when I tried the "old crappy tools" and loved them or the "cutting edge new tools" and thought they really mediocre. Either try and score a used pair of known performer's cheap and hope for the best. Or get out there and do some home work before you plunk down a month's rent on tools you're told you're going to like. Just my 2 cents, good luck!


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By Rory Macomber
From Redlands, California
Feb 22, 2013
Shark's Fin

I really want to go to the Ouray Ice Festival next year. I'm alright with holding out on buying until I try some different tools, especially because I don't think I'll be able to get back out again before the season ends. But since it will be time to climb there probably won't be as many deals.


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By Cale Hoopes
From Sammamish, WA
Feb 22, 2013
Profile Icon

Um... great deal: cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1098852/Re_P>>>


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Feb 24, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Ben Brotelho wrote:
I think the Quarks work well for steep ice and mixed BS, you just have to adapt to avoid a little knuckle bashing, but they're amazing all around tools!


Nope have disagree.. I've never seen a guy who climbs on Nomics, All Mtns, Cobras etc. borrow a pair of Quarks for a lap and say "Wow I need a pair of Quarks!" I have lent out my Nomics many times to Quarks owners only for them to say "Wow I need a a pair of Nomics" when they finish getting lowered.

I believe Quarks have their place. Quarks are great for moderate ice but only if you have another set of tools for hard stuff. I think if you're going to have one set of ice tools for everything Nomics or the Cassins are the best choice. I have a friend who switched from Quarks to Reactors! That says it all.


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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Feb 24, 2013

Kirby1013 wrote:
Nope have disagree.. I've never seen a guy who climbs on Nomics, All Mtns, Cobras etc. borrow a pair of Quarks for a lap and say "Wow I need a pair of Quarks!" I have lent out my Nomics many times to Quarks owners only for them to say "Wow I need a a pair of Nomics" when they finish getting lowered. I believe Quarks have their place. Quarks are great for moderate ice but only if you have another set of tools for hard stuff. I think if you're going to have one set of ice tools for everything Nomics or the Cassins are the best choice. I have a friend who switched from Quarks to Reactors! That says it all.


Here's the thing, nomics (love mine) and other purpose built tools may not be the best first tool. A newbie isn't going to be hitting tons of super steep ice, they will be on more moderate stuff (at least they should be) learning skills that are more mountaineering oriented than pure ice climbing. For this type of stuff most of the purpose built tools lack significantly. I'd MUCH rather have my cobras for alpine type routes that may have snow climbing, low angle etc. between the steep stuff. Also, if an approach requires snow travel, a Cobra or Quark type of tool could be more useful. Or an ice axe may need to be carried. Just a thought.


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By LeftCoastGeek
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 24, 2013
Ice gear

Rory, I was in your shoes not to long ago. If I were you I would hold off on buying tools this season and rent/borrow for the rest of the year. Then I would head to an Ice Fest with some friends and have everyone demo different stuff. Try it all and see what works best for YOU. Then, it's not to hard to find tools if you're diligent, and definitely buy used.


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