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First ice tools, advice needed
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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Feb 25, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

JustSolo.. I see where you're coming from but respectably disagree. Most new climbers TR everything. It's pretty common for people to be TRing fours after a few days on ice. Newbies will top rope mostly unless they've got a friend who leads. In that case they'll be following 3s minimum. The. Nomics or All mtns are great for everything except 2s and even then not that bad. You just choke up on the handle. That said I think Nomics or the Cassins are a better choice. You can progress with those tools where as the Quarks are for moderate ice. I know climbers who use Quarks for WI5 and mixed but it always seems like they've never tried another tool. I just feel that if you get the Quarks sooner or later you're going to be looking at another set of tools to complement them like the Ergos, Nomics or X Dreams.

Again no disrespect just throwing out a different opinion.


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By Rory Macomber
From Redlands, California
Feb 25, 2013
Shark's Fin

Kirby1013 wrote:
That said I think Nomics or the Cassins are a better choice. You can progress with those tools where as the Quarks are for moderate ice.


Thanks Kirby
That is what I was wondering. I would like to buy the tools that will get me the farthest before I feel like I need to buy a complimentary set.

I've been reading up on the Cassins, I need to head up to the climbing shop again to see if they have em in store. Too bad its 5 hours away... I doubt any of the closer ones carry much more than a general mountaineering axe.


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Feb 26, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Rory, You might find them online. I've been looking for the X dreams which are made by Cassin but no luck. Remember I'm just throwing out my opinion. I doubt you'll go wrong with those All Mtns but try and run some laps with every tool you can get your hands on. That way you know what works for you and what doesn't.

I was fortunate enough to hire the same guide the first fifteen times I went ice climbing. Josh had every tool or knew who to talk to to get them. So I've used almost every tool on the market between Josh and ice festivals.

Oh.. Yes I used Nomics the first day and now every day I go out climbing.

Good luck Rory I hope you enjoy ice climbing!


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Feb 26, 2013

I have Cassin X-All. They are not that great on alpine (mellow) ice.


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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Feb 28, 2013

Kirby1013 wrote:
JustSolo.. I see where you're coming from but respectably disagree. Most new climbers TR everything. It's pretty common for people to be TRing fours after a few days on ice. Newbies will top rope mostly unless they've got a friend who leads. In that case they'll be following 3s minimum. The. Nomics or All mtns are great for everything except 2s and even then not that bad. You just choke up on the handle. That said I think Nomics or the Cassins are a better choice. You can progress with those tools where as the Quarks are for moderate ice. I know climbers who use Quarks for WI5 and mixed but it always seems like they've never tried another tool. I just feel that if you get the Quarks sooner or later you're going to be looking at another set of tools to complement them like the Ergos, Nomics or X Dreams. Again no disrespect just throwing out a different opinion.


No disrespect taken, and you are correct. My only point is, if the basic mountaineering skills are not learned and honed well first, clambering up anything on TR is close to pointless. Sure, someone can climb a 2 with a nomic, but can they use a nomic for all the "piolet" oriented movements that teach the key to ice climbing, footwork. I would argue, not so much. When was the last time you plunged a nomic? The new nomic has a sort of spike at the end, but not much. Like I said, I love my nomics, but if a climb has any sort of snow approach or otherwise, then either a third tool must be taken, or in this case, use tools that can work well on both. Just different perspectives.

The reality of modern tools is they allow newbies to "climb" up anything with crappy form, and IMO not really learning anything. Can't tell you how often I've seen climbers with little to no crampon skills running around easy access TR routes. This IMO is due to not spending the time learning the basics, which is NOT a good place for the tools mentioned.


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 3, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Sorry guys.. forgot the CU on a extended weekend to the Daks

Divnamite.. I'm surprised to hear that. It seems everyone I talk to likes them a lot of moderate ice and the X Dreams for steep stuff. I guess that's why I always say demo gear when you can.

Just Solo.. I enjoy discussing this with you and it not turning into a pissing contest! Unusual for MP. Haha. Your post makes me laugh because you are so right. I stopped by some popular TR spots this year and had flashbacks after reading your post. I think in that good instruction helps more than correct tool choice. I started with Nomics and enjoyed them from the start. But.. I had a guide for the first thirty days I started ice climbing. I feel that the average person can progress past grade 2 within days of getting into ice climbing. Proper instruction will accomplish this way more than a tool with a straighter shaft. I can only assume that Rory will go about learning the right techniques from basic movement to placing screws in strenuous positions. If so Rory will enjoy the Nomics or All mountains more so than Quarks. If not the Reactors are another ice tool to take a look at.

Theres tons of snow in the Adirondacks right now! I cleared three dump truck loads of snow off of Chouirnards Right two days ago. Lots of caning there and believe me that spike came in handy! The spike on the Cassin is even better.


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Mar 4, 2013
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

Kirby1013 wrote:
Rory, You might find them online. I've been looking for the X dreams which are made by Cassin but no luck. Remember I'm just throwing out my opinion. I doubt you'll go wrong with those All Mtns but try and run some laps with every tool you can get your hands on. That way you know what works for you and what doesn't. I was fortunate enough to hire the same guide the first fifteen times I went ice climbing. Josh had every tool or knew who to talk to to get them. So I've used almost every tool on the market between Josh and ice festivals. Oh.. Yes I used Nomics the first day and now every day I go out climbing. Good luck Rory I hope you enjoy ice climbing!



IME has the X-dreams in north conway NH


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By George Marsden
Mar 4, 2013

Kirby1013 wrote:
That said I think Nomics or the Cassins are a better choice. You can progress with those tools where as the Quarks are for moderate ice. I know climbers who use Quarks for WI5 and mixed but it always seems like they've never tried another tool. I just feel that if you get the Quarks sooner or later you're going to be looking at another set of tools to complement them like the Ergos, Nomics or X Dreams. Again no disrespect just throwing out a different opinion.


Having started in the era when straight shafts were pretty standard and is funny hear the Quarks described as a tool only for moderate ice. I have climbed with Nomics and some other leash less tools, but if I had to choose just 1 tool to own for steep ice and alpine it would be the Quarks.

Maybe this is the old guy in me, but folks need to learn some crampon and classic ice axe technique when they are starting out. It is scary to watch folks bumble around on low angle ice. They can bash their way up some near vertical stuff, but have no idea what to do with all those extra points on their crampons.

In closing "Get off my lawn ya damn leash less hooligans!"


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 4, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Superkick.. I was in North Conway last month. I got to swing them for a couple laps at Ice Fest but couldn't make up my mind on whether or not to pull the trigger. Now I'm either in Baltimore or the Daks. I will be back up the Mt Washington Valley in April but will be climbing the gullies in Huntington. No need for X Dreams up there Haha.. maybe next year!!


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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Mar 5, 2013

George Marsden wrote:
Having started in the era when straight shafts were pretty standard and is funny hear the Quarks described as a tool only for moderate ice. I have climbed with Nomics and some other leash less tools, but if I had to choose just 1 tool to own for steep ice and alpine it would be the Quarks. Maybe this is the old guy in me, but folks need to learn some crampon and classic ice axe technique when they are starting out. It is scary to watch folks bumble around on low angle ice. They can bash their way up some near vertical stuff, but have no idea what to do with all those extra points on their crampons. In closing "Get off my lawn ya damn leash less hooligans!"


Ha ha George, I must be in your camp. My first tools were the red handled X-15s, then I moved up to the first generation carbon fiber cobra. Still have them. There are my goto tool for the alpine. But I have have converted and am a leash-less fan. I even converted a viper hook for my cobras and usually use those leash-less. My nomics are sublime, almost makes it too easy sometimes!


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 5, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

I have a lot of respect for you two climbing with straight shaft axes. I take the first couple TR laps of the season with Hummingbirds. I can't imagine having to always pull down on my tools and the second I pull outwards the placement is gone. Between the screws and tools I'm amazed how far R&D departments have come.

That said, get with the times. Leashless is where it's at. Radically bent tools are fun to climb with. They'll not choice for alpine but you can use any tool on grade 2 if you have good technique and get out more than a few days a year.


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By Dane
Mar 7, 2013
Cham '11

I've argued for a straight shafted axe more than once in the time I have climbed.

And more recently I have offered the opinion for a beginning technical climber to just buy an Ergo and be done with it.

I have some favorites when it comes to tools and what I use where but in the last few years I've settled on the Nomic for anything I would ever need a technical tool on.

A couple of weeks ago I took a beginner out to climb some ice. It quickly became obvious to me that real ice was out of the question for the time and skills involved. And I've taught a lot of ice climbing. What we really needed was more basic. We ended up top roping some steep snow..perfect neve in fact.

My friend's first instruction on steep snow was using a pair of Nomics. Helped that I have climbed a lot of steep snow and moderate ice with a Nomic...as well as straight shafted tools and everything in between.

When we were done for the day I had to rethink all that. The first lesson was a "mistake" I was thinking wrong tool (Nomic) for the job and teaching. Now on reflection I would intentionally start a beginner on steep snow and ice with a Nomic. No problems and I suspect they would be better for it in the end if they really wanted to proficient at climbing technical snow and ice at any level.

Kinda reminded me of the difference in climbing with a 10 point crampon to learn French technique before you could learn to front point on the other 2 points. Basically? Why wait? Just buy a Nomic and be done with it. Then learn how to use the tool to best effect.


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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Mar 9, 2013

Dane wrote:
I've argued for a straight shafted axe more than once in the time I have climbed. And more recently I have offered the opinion for a beginning technical climber to just buy an Ergo and be done with it. I have some favorites when it comes to tools and what I use where but in the last few years I've settled on the Nomic for anything I would ever need a technical tool on. A couple of weeks ago I took a beginner out to climb some ice. It quickly became obvious to me that real ice was out of the question for the time and skills involved. And I've taught a lot of ice climbing. What we really needed was more basic. We ended up top roping some steep snow..perfect neve in fact. My friend's first instruction on steep snow was using a pair of Nomics. Helped that I have climbed a lot of steep snow and moderate ice with a Nomic...as well as straight shafted tools and everything in between. When we were done for the day I had to rethink all that. The first lesson was a "mistake" I was thinking wrong tool (Nomic) for the job and teaching. Now on reflection I would intentionally start a beginner on steep snow and ice with a Nomic. No problems and I suspect they would be better for it in the end if they really wanted to proficient at climbing technical snow and ice at any level. Kinda reminded me of the difference in climbing with a 10 point crampon to learn French technique before you could learn to front point on the other 2 points. Basically? Why wait? Just buy a Nomic and be done with it. Then learn how to use the tool to best effect.


Hey Dane, does the new lower pomel on the Nomic retro-fit to the old ones? That would be a nice addition in the alpine...


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By Unassigned User
Mar 9, 2013

I agree with Dane honestly.

I have a BD Viper that is a very nice tool and a Petzl Nomic tool as well. Have to say - my votes goes to the Nomic honestly.

I just like the Petzl better - tho I wish the Nomic's came with a hammer head factory stock like my Viper did!

There are many ncie tools out there these days - I have a friend that does a lot of good climbing (ice and alpine) on his Cassin's and does very well with them. I'm just more impressed these days with Petzl products....except their ropes whcih I hear are hit or miss. I am more of a Mammut and Sterling rope fan...


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Mar 9, 2013
Cleo's Needle

Michael Urban wrote:
I agree with Dane honestly. I have a BD Viper that is a very nice tool and a Petzl Nomic tool as well. Have to say - my votes goes to the Nomic honestly. I just like the Petzl better - tho I wish the Nomic's came with a hammer head factory stock like my Viper did! There are many ncie tools out there these days - I have a friend that does a lot of good climbing (ice and alpine) on his Cassin's and does very well with them. I'm just more impressed these days with Petzl products....except their ropes whcih I hear are hit or miss. I am more of a Mammut and Sterling rope fan...


Petzl makes a hammer for Nomics. Besides, about 99% of the Nomic buyers don't need a hammer.

I think a good tool combo is a pair of Nomics and a Pair of Sum'Tecs. Cobras, Vipers, Quarks, etc blow for plunging. If you're doing steep snow with a little ice (like most of the lower Cascades) where you'd want good plunging and a little swinging, the Sum'Tec is more than enough.


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By Dane
Mar 9, 2013
Cham '11

Just Solo wrote:
Hey Dane, does the new lower pomel on the Nomic retro-fit to the old ones? That would be a nice addition in the alpine...


They will bolt on but they don't actually fit. I have both and originally thought that would be a big improvement....I no longer hold that opinion. I prefer the original Nomic...having used both models.

Nomic hammers?

Agree with Ray...few ever need a hammer with a Nomic. For those that do? Petzl makes two versions of a hammer for a Nomic. I have been making a third much longer than they have offered one (or 2).


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By Dane
Mar 9, 2013
Cham '11

"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?"

"How hard will a straight shafted axe climb"

Bridalveil in Telluride was first done with straight shafted axes. So they will climb anything you/we are capable of.

Problem these days is everyone wants a pair of axes. So few learn to climb with a single tool and gain the required skills. You won't be doing any self arrests with a pair of tools.

If you want "ice tools" Buy ice climbing specific tools, like a Nomic. If you want some thing versital buy curved pick tool with an adze that you can chop a step with and self arrest with. a decent bend in the head of the shaft will help high daggering and not keep you from plunging the tools. Cool part is you only need one. Petzl Summit and Grivel Air tech Evo come to mind off hand.

A classic axe alone will get you up any of the Cascade's classic "ice" routes" which are generally just steep snow for the most part 9 months year.


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Mar 9, 2013

First ice tools: Quarks are fairly versatile for a mix of water ice, alpine ice, mixed climbs. Nomics get fairly specialized, great for their niche. Leashes or umbilicals will be nice for multi-pitch and summer alpine. DMM Flys will be pretty good, nice and light (good for summer alpine), too. If the price is low and money is tight, go for it.

FWIW, on that Bridal Veil FA, one of those straight shafted, wooden ice axes actually broke.

Octopussy, M8, was first done with old Pulsars (ow, my knuckles).

Steve House had this terrific video clip on his collection of ice axes. He has done some really, really tough climbs with straight shafted tools.

In the end, it's the climber more than the tools, but for us ordinary knucklebashers, tools can make it easier...and less painful.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Mar 9, 2013
Cleo's Needle

Buy whatever tools you want and focus more on your feet. I have my own personal preferences but footwork is far more important than jerking off to the latest/greatest equipment. However, if you can afford the best (whatever you consider the best) then buy it because it will last longer and cost less over time.


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By Unassigned User
Mar 9, 2013

PS. I have a brand new Nomic for sale on the forum here for $245.00.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Mar 9, 2013
Cleo's Needle

Can't be brand new if you filed the picks. FWIW I paid less for my brand brand new Nomics. You should have left them alone, I'd rather buy used tools with unmolested picks.


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By Dane
Mar 9, 2013
Cham '11

"Buy whatever tools you want and focus more on your feet. I have my own personal preferences but footwork is far more important"

right on...

Picks?
as far as modified picks go? Sorry that is not the way I have ever suggested modifing a Petzl pick...nor would I.


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By Unassigned User
Mar 9, 2013

Ray Pinpillage wrote:
Can't be brand new if you filed the picks. FWIW I paid less for my brand brand new Nomics. You should have left them alone, I'd rather buy used tools with unmolested picks.


They'll sell and if not, I'll just keep it. No biggie.

I'm sold lots of gear - pick(s) filed or not honestly!


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Mar 9, 2013
Cleo's Needle

Michael Urban wrote:
They'll sell and if not, I'll just keep it. No biggie. I'm sold lots of gear - pick(s) filed or not honestly!


LOL, kind of is a biggie because the condition you listed isn't the condition the tool is in. Your Ebay ad is worse than the FS post here because Ebay has condition definitions and you are knowingly misrepresenting the item.

pages.ebay.com/help/sell/contextual/condition_11.html
"Condition
New

A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is applicable). Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See the seller's listing for full details.

New other (see details)

A new, unused item with absolutely no signs of wear. The item may be missing the original packaging, or in the original packaging but not sealed. The item may be a factory second or a new, unused item with defects. See the seller's listing for full details and description of any imperfections.

Used

An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller's listing for full details and description of any imperfections.

For parts or not working

An item that does not function as intended and is not fully operational. This includes items that are defective in ways that render them difficult to use, items that require service or repair, or items missing essential components. See the seller's listing for full details."

Assuming someone wins you're tool on Ebay for $200 you'll end up with about $175. You may as well describe the tool accurately (used) and price it accordingly.


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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Mar 10, 2013

Dane wrote:
They will bolt on but they don't actually fit. I have both and originally thought that would be a big improvement....I no longer hold that opinion. I prefer the original Nomic...having used both models.


Cool! More money for beer... Thanks!


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