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Nomic set up...adze? hammer?
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By JohnnyG
Nov 23, 2012

Hey miscreant ice climbers - What's your preferred set up for the nomics? Do you like the hammer? mini-hammer? adze? cold thistle hammer? or nothing?

Do you have hammers on both tools? Or one tool with and one without?


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By shoo
Nov 23, 2012
Rock wars, Red River Gorge

For the vast, vast majority of ice climbers, go with nothing. You almost certainly will not need to hammer in pitons or chop steps, both of which the nomic would do poorly anyway given its curve.


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By Chris Graham
From Bartlett, NH
Nov 23, 2012
portrait <br />

I climbed with mine for close to 10 years with nothing and don't think I wished I had either the hammer or adze once. IT certainly will depend on the climbing you intend to do, but I would say for a majority of the climbing most of us do, you really wouldn't need either.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Nov 23, 2012

Leave the hammer and adze at home for ice climbing. Also, try them without the pick weight. You might like it better.


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By Joe Palma
From Stouffville, Ontario
Nov 23, 2012

Tried the standard Petzl hammer and found it messed up the balance and swing too much for my liking. I've machined off most (about half) of the head weights and like the feel of that much better. Trying out the Petzl mini-hammer this season for the occasional pin bashing, like the light weight a trim dimensions of the mini-hammer; doesn't seem to change the balance or swing much.

Haven't had an adze on an ice tool in almost 15 years; haven't missed it in the least.


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By JohnnyG
Nov 23, 2012

Thanks for the solid advice!


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Nov 23, 2012

I drive pins on a fairly regular basis with ice tools, but I wouldn't want a hammer on a, Nomic. The handle is too curved to be comfortable swinging reversed. I think you'd be better off buying a cheap hammered tool with a straight-ish shaft if you ever needed piton-driving capability. Climb alpine choss with that in one hand, and the Nomic in the other.


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By Dane
Nov 23, 2012
Cham '11

I agree on a couple of points. Most don't need a hammer on a Nomic. Adze even less so. Both are better used and likely designed for the current Quark. If you do need to hammer a lot of pins a piton hammer is a much better tool than any hammer on a Nomic's curved shaft. Even the pick weights change the balance on the Nomic. Depending on the quality (hardness) of the ice you generally climb on pick weights may or may not be an advantage. Seldom seen on alpine Neve climbs, and almost always on Canadian winter water ice.

As Joe noticed as have many others the original Petzl hammer really changes the balance of the Nomic..and not for the better. Too much weight behind the tool head is the reason. The LWT version of the Petzl hammer is much better but simply the original hammer chopped off behind the lightening hole. That helps on the balance but doesn't protect the head of the Nomic when it is used as a hammer. Not a lot went into the design effort there. And a quick way to trash your tools head in use. The Cold Thistle hammer is designed to be light weight and not change the balance any more than required while still protecting the Nomic's head when used as a hammer or as a a cammed tool in cracks. But it is not a replacement for a piton hammer if you want to bang in a lot of pins.

I designed and make the CT hammer. On pure ice I never use a hammer. On mixed climbs or in the alpine I take one or more likely a pair of hammers on my Nomics if I think a hammer might be required. But I'll remove the pick weights if I add the hammers.

Petzl hammers
Petzl hammers


CT hammer
CT hammer


CT hammer
CT hammer


Ally Swinton with CT hammers on the Colton/Mac G.J.
Ally Swinton with CT hammers on the Colton/Mac G.J.


More info on the CT hammers here:

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2012/10/cold-thistle-nomic-quark-er>>>


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Nov 23, 2012
Bocan

I climb with vipers, but don't any of you ever use your hammer to chip away ice to get a screw driven down all the way, or to quickly flatten out an area?

I wouldn't say I depend on a hammer, but it's sure nice to have.


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By Dane
Nov 23, 2012
Cham '11

Scott McMahon wrote:
don't any of you ever use your hammer to chip away ice to get a screw driven down all the way, or to quickly flatten out an area?


The aluminum head of a Nomic (with no hammer) will do all that easy enough.

FYI some may have missed this originally. The original Astro picks (first gen Nomics) stood proud of the Nomic's head a tiny bit in back so the rear of the pick could be used as a hammer. Not very effective, but you could generally get the job done at least once :)


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By JohnnyG
Nov 25, 2012

Thanks Dane - I'm glad you replied because I imagine you have thought about this as much as anyone. And yes, your hammers look superior.

Interesting how people play around with the weights. If anything, I've seen an evolution toward appreciation for lighter tools (e.g. the Cassin X - all mountain), even for cold hard ice like we see here in the Northeast. I'm finding I like a lighter tool too.


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By shoo
Nov 26, 2012
Rock wars, Red River Gorge

It's less about total weight as much as weight distribution, or balance. It just so happens that the lighter tools nowadays also tend to have excellent balance.


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By Joe Palma
From Stouffville, Ontario
Nov 26, 2012

The CT hammers would be my first choice, unfortunately I missed the latest run from Dane and went with the Petzl mini version for the time being.


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By Dane
Nov 26, 2012
Cham '11

shoo wrote:
It's less about total weight as much as weight distribution, or balance. It just so happens that the lighter tools nowadays also tend to have excellent balance.


That comment is right on. In addition to BALANCE I'll add the quality of the picks. Nomic and the newest Cassin tools are good examples of great balance and exceptional picks. Hopefully the new Trango Rapor will be along similar lines.

Between the lightest here and the heaviest (9oz or less on a 2# tool is huge) there is several light years difference in the performance. Balance is some of it, (head heavy) the quality and design of the picks and the arc required on the swing (or not swing but more easily just hook by shaft design) may be even more.

Original Petzl Quark with hammmer 1# 8oz / 682g
Current Quark with hammer 588g or 1# 2oz / 528g with no hammer.
Petzl Nomic with mixed pick/weight 1# 6.8oz / 648g
Nomic with just a pick..no weights or hammer 1# 3.5oz / 558g
Trango Raptor 1# 3oz / 540g / 605g with pick weight
Black Diamond Cobra or 1# 5 oz (mini hammer) / 600g
Black Diamond Viper or 1# 6 oz (mini hammer) / 625g
Black Diamond Fusion (green) 1# 9oz / 680g
Chouinard 55cm bamboo 1# 11oz / 770g
Terrodactyl hammer 1# 12oz / 790g

The CT hammers are very expensive and time consuming to make. Unlike the Petzl versions which are cast, the CT hammers are milled one at a time from tool steel and then heat treated to hammer hardness. So I don't make a lot of them. Usually two runs every winter. 100 or so hammers per run. Next production run will finished late Dec. 2012. More info here if you are interested: coldthistle.blogspot.com/2012/10/cold-thistle-nomic-quark-er>>>


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