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Opinion on leashless setup for BD Vipers
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By Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
Mar 1, 2007
Profiley Styley

I bought some Vipers this year (first year ice climbing) and thought I might switch back and forth between leashes and leashless. After climbing a few days in RMNP and Ouray I really feel that leashless is the way to go. Until I start leading multi-pitch ice or long alpine routes I doubt I'll go back to leashes and even then I just might carry an extra tool. The Vipers came with the fang (pinky rest) and I bought the strikes (bumps) to add to the shaft. I know they are supposed to be added close to the grip, primarily for matching, but I moved them up the shaft so I could have three hand positions: the grip, above the grip (using the strike as an index finger rest) and above the strike as a pinky rest. I hockey taped the shaft for better grip, too.

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My only issue with this setup is that I am thinking I might bash the strike against a bulge now and then. Does anyone else have a setup similar to this and what is your opinion on the mid-shaft grip? I'm going to try them out soon and if they don't work well then I'll probably move it down towards the grip more.


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By Christopher Jones
From Denver, Colorado
Mar 1, 2007
Climbing So Wild at Thunder Ridge photo by Kevin McLaughlin.

I bought leashes for my new Vipers and only used them a few times. I wish I never spent the $80 for the leashes but they may be nice to have on a long muti-pitch route. I've been going leashless without the strikes and have had no problems.


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By Adam Catalano
From Albany, New York
Mar 1, 2007
me

My friend added a similar feature to his quarks and found that not only do they bash the bulges but they also LEVER THE TOOL OUT on even minor bulges, which would be even more of a danger.
Beware while you test.
I think he ended up taking the hook off the "front" and just having a bump on the "side" which helped his hand from sliding. A month later he ordered the Nomics.


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By Jim Amidon
Mar 1, 2007
J TREE

I have the Vipers and have never had a leash on them and never plan to. It looks like you have the fang installed a bit high. Mine are just at the top of the hand grip. It looks like you installed yours at about the spot you can put leash attachments on the tools.

Drop the fangs down some, so they don't slide of get in the way.

Super nice no frills tool.....


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By Michael Catlett
From Middleburg, VA
Mar 4, 2007
Mike Doing his Thing in Alps Winter 07

Dude,

Stay leashless with these tools. Once you get use to them and you get into condition, there is not much reason for the leash. I can tell you these tools are not very good on alpine routes as they are geared for vertical and technical ice. They can be used on WI3 and lower, but they do not start to shine till WI4 and above.

I have a love hate relationship with mine, but I do lover them for hooking fluted ice and on technical stuff.

Good Luck,

Michael


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By Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
Mar 6, 2007
Profiley Styley

Jim Amidon wrote:
It looks like you have the fang installed a bit high. Mine are just at the top of the hand grip. It looks like you installed yours at about the spot you can put leash attachments on the tools. Drop the fangs down some, so they don't slide of get in the way.


They were installed a bit below the leash attachments, but they would have gotten in the way, I've moved them down closer to the grip. Thanks for all the feedback!


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By James K Purcell
Aug 17, 2007
torry peak

I switch between leashes and leashless all the time. I do think that for most things they don't need the leash, give you way more tool to work with. I have say every time i use the leashes i will end a pitch un-clipped, or vice versa.


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By Unassigned User
Feb 5, 2013

gee the wish the pic was still here so I could see where you had mounted the strike...


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By Andrew Blease
From 4runner, parking lot, USA
Feb 5, 2013

I just made umbilicals out of webbing, stretchy cord and carabiners that I already had. They cost $20. They are only used when climbing routes where a dropped tool would be irrecoverable. There's some pretty good self sealing, well insulated electrical tape at Lowe's that I use to wrap the higher postions and prevent cold hands.


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By Unassigned User
Feb 6, 2013

A store manager at EMS once told me about making some 'retractable' leashes out of bungee cord inside of 1" tubular webbing to make a harness-to-tool leash/connection for dicey spots, etc. but I forgot how he told me he made them - specifics on how much bungee cord and/or webbing length, how it's all tied together, etc.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Feb 6, 2013

Michael Urban wrote:
A store manager at EMS once told me about making some 'retractable' leashes out of bungee cord inside of 1" tubular webbing to make a harness-to-tool leash/connection for dicey spots, etc. but I forgot how he told me he made them - specifics on how much bungee cord and/or webbing length, how it's all tied together, etc.


1" webbing is dumb. There are many ways to make leashes at home, and so far, all of them suffer one simple problem, especially climbing in the North East.

From my previous post:


My biggest complain about home made version is that the wedding tend to soak up water much much faster than BD version. My home made version got wet and frozen too easily for me to use it for ice climbing.

My suggestion, go leashless at crags. Get BD, Blue Ice, Grivel, Cassin leashes on alpine.


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By Unassigned User
Feb 6, 2013

OK thanks for the info...


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Feb 6, 2013
At the matching crux

The original Viper had the Strike mounted with a hose clamp - you could mount it anywhere on the shaft.

Michael - your orange vipers have the Strike preinstalled at a fixed point. No need to worry about location.

Also, having owned and climbed for a full season each on the old vipers, new vipers, and new cobras, I've never had a scenario where the Strike levered a tool out of its placement. That's pure conjecture, and seeing as that comment is many years old (and from an era where leashless climbing was juuuuust beginning to be a mainstream thing), I would suspect that the original comment above was something he heard somewhere and parroted here on MP.

Don't buy leashes. Get umbilicals if you're climbing stuff 3 pitches or taller. It's easy to bail off anything 1 or 2 pitches. Otherwise just go leashless all the way. End of story.


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By Tim Zander
Feb 6, 2013

Lots of posts being dragged up from 5 years ago today!

Yes, somethings haven't changed in that time, but gear has definitely changed in the last 5 years!


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By Unassigned User
Feb 6, 2013

Jon H wrote:
The original Viper had the Strike mounted with a hose clamp - you could mount it anywhere on the shaft. Michael - your orange vipers have the Strike preinstalled at a fixed point. No need to worry about location. Also, having owned and climbed for a full season each on the old vipers, new vipers, and new cobras, I've never had a scenario where the Strike levered a tool out of its placement. That's pure conjecture, and seeing as that comment is many years old (and from an era where leashless climbing was juuuuust beginning to be a mainstream thing), I would suspect that the original comment above was something he heard somewhere and parroted here on MP. Don't buy leashes. Get umbilicals if you're climbing stuff 3 pitches or taller. It's easy to bail off anything 1 or 2 pitches. Otherwise just go leashless all the way. End of story.


Thanks John,
We plan to climb multi-pitch routes for sure!


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By Unassigned User
Feb 6, 2013

Jon H wrote:
The original Viper had the Strike mounted with a hose clamp - you could mount it anywhere on the shaft. Michael - your orange vipers have the Strike preinstalled at a fixed point. No need to worry about location. Also, having owned and climbed for a full season each on the old vipers, new vipers, and new cobras, I've never had a scenario where the Strike levered a tool out of its placement. That's pure conjecture, and seeing as that comment is many years old (and from an era where leashless climbing was juuuuust beginning to be a mainstream thing), I would suspect that the original comment above was something he heard somewhere and parroted here on MP. Don't buy leashes. Get umbilicals if you're climbing stuff 3 pitches or taller. It's easy to bail off anything 1 or 2 pitches. Otherwise just go leashless all the way. End of story.


John,
what do you suggest for umbicials? Homemade? If so out of webbing or power cord or something? Or made out of sewn runners?


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