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Trango Raptor Ice tools
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By John D
Oct 20, 2012

Has anyone used these tools? I just saw them and they look pretty sweet. I've been using a set of Trango Mantis tools for a couple of years and they're nice but I'd like to move to some leashless tools and these look good and are rather inexpensive.


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By John Graefe
Oct 24, 2012

I've had my eye on these since Cold Thistle had a post about them last December. Have you actually seen them in the flesh and been able to feel their balance, etc? You can by them right from Trango cheeper than anywhere else.


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By John D
Oct 25, 2012

I haven't seen them in person, but stumbled upon them on Trango's website. I wonder if bentgate or neptune mountaineering might have some. They look pretty good and they're so inexpensive compared to others. I've loved my mantises, though I've always wished I'd sprung for the leashless handles when they were available.


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By Dane
Oct 26, 2012
Cham '11

Funny to see this today. I have been trying to get a pair of these for the last 18 months or so. And had finally just given up.

From my first impress and being a HUGE Petzl Nomic and Ergo fan I was impressed playing with the Raptor at the OR winter show.

My thought back in Jan of 2011? "Trango's new ice tool.....which I seriously think will be pretty good in comparison to the "big boys"!
I should have a pair or two to play with in Bozeman early Dec. A review will follow on CT once I get a chance to play with them outside. For the asking price of $350 for the pair I can tell you I would have bought a set a long time ago if I could have found them.


Trango Raptor
Trango Raptor


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 27, 2012
Cleo's Needle

Dane wrote:
Funny to see this today. I have been trying to get a pair of these for the last 18 months or so. And had finally just given up. From my first impress and being a HUGE Petzl Nomic and Ergo fan I was impressed playing with the Raptor at the OR winter show. My thought back in Jan of 2011? "Trango's new ice tool.....which I seriously think will be pretty good in comparison to the "big boys"! I should have a pair or two to play with in Bozeman early Dec. A review will follow on CT once I get a chance to play with them outside. For the asking price of $350 for the pair I can tell you I would have bought a set a long time ago if I could have found them.


For a little more you can get a used set of Nomics. I'd pass.


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By Dane
Oct 27, 2012
Cham '11

Ray Pinpillage wrote:
For a little more you can get a used set of Nomics. I'd pass.



Here is what made me look at them as serious alternative during the OR show two winters ago. Back then the Fusions had just come out. And there was some learning to do. I had no clue what the price would be. Still think they might well be a very good option ot a Nomic or Fusion. But only swinging them for real will prove it.

Quick run down as a Nomic/Fusion comparison...

Excellent swing weight and balance
Better head imo and much easier to clip to your harness on raps (having found a total of 6 Nomics now seems people leave a lot of Nomics at raps sations...gotta wonder why)

I think the lack of hammer on Nomic or Raptor is a better basics than the Fusion's head. Having climbed on both Nomic and Fusion a good bit. Enough so that I have spend a number of seasons trying to prefect the perfect bolt on Nomic hammer after Petzl has blown it twice.

Nomic pommels still suck imo. I have had both old and new and stick with my old well worn first gen Nomics. The Raptor's grips are fixed, nothing to loosen up. The Fusion blew this I think as the grips don't rotate as easily in hand compared to the Nomic. I have to wonder where the Raptor will be.

And finally a no dicking around spike and clip in point on the Raptor. AKA more like the the Fusions. Where the Nomic is still lacking purpose. I might want to grind it down some or cut it off but at least the tool starts with a "real" one. That I am told will take full weight what ever that is but I'll find out eventually.

Looked to me like they had the best of the Nomic and the Fusion done up and are willing to sell at half the retail price. But we all know by now that copies don't always turn out like you had hoped. The Fusion is a classic example of that fact. The Raptor might be as well.

How the picks work/climb/last on ice and mixed will eventually make or break the Rapor in the market. I'm interested to see just how good they actually do climb and last.

But Ray is right, $400 is not an unreasonable price for a decent pair of used Nomics. Unless the Raptor turns out to be every bit as good or better of course.


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By John Graefe
Nov 21, 2012

Dane, anything new to report about the Trango Raptor ice tools? Anyone else out there tried them? How do they compare to Nomics, etc.?


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By Dane
Nov 22, 2012
Cham '11

Hi John, I haven't seen mine yet. They should be here next week. Hopefully I'll get out on them soon after they arrive and report back on the blog.


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By Steven N
From CO
Nov 24, 2012

I've got some of the Madame Hook leashless handles I could probably part with if you're interested.


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By Dane
Nov 26, 2012
Cham '11

My pair are now in transit. I'll have them in hand by the end of the week and know more shortly. Here is what I do know. T rated shaft and picks. Head is investment cast stainless (nice!) and shaft is drawn 7075 T6 alloy. Tools and spare picks ($37.00 retail on the picks) are in stock and shipping @ Trango.

I'd asked on the pull strength for the spike. I was hopeing for something over 1500#. "Green Fusion's spike will go to around 1500lbs with the maximum amount of spacers allowed(3) before the bolt breaks." Raptor is 2200#+. Good enough!


Love the color on this one!

trango raptor
trango raptor



Weight is right in between the Quark and a Nomic.
540 g without pick weigts / 605 g with weights

Quark with hammer 588g or 1# 2oz / 528g with no hammer or weight.
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 weights
Black Diamond Fusion (green) 1# 9oz / 680g


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By John Graefe
Nov 27, 2012

Thanks for the update, Dane. I hope they climb as well as they look and spec out! I look forward to your post here and on the CT blog!


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By Jon Miller on the WS
Nov 27, 2012

I have a pair of Raptors in my shop in Telluride. They are pretty sweet. Weight feels about the same as a Nomic in the hand when compared side by side, although the Raptor's is balanced more toward the head than the Nomic. Shaft configuration is very similar to the Nomic as well. The shaft diameter is much thinner than a Nomic. The pick is really nice. I haven't climbed on them (it would be hard to sell them to a customer after all!) but they feel nice in the hand.

My general impression of them is that they are not quite as refined as other more premium tools on the market, but pretty damn close. Call it 90% of a Nomic with a decent spike and at almost half the price. That is a steal any way you look at it. I think they are going to sell really well and make a lot of people happy!


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By Dane
Nov 27, 2012
Cham '11

Just updated the previous info from a Trango email. Pull strength on the spike is 2200# +. Good enough :)


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By Steven N
From CO
Dec 13, 2012

Kendra Stritch using the Raptors at the Bozeman Ice festival:

new.livestream.com/BIF/BIF/videos/7532739


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By Paul Stock
Jan 4, 2013

Can anyone give an update on how these axes perform on ice and mixed? I'm thinking of getting some but they are not available in the UK so I am relying on your feedback?


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By iksander
Jan 12, 2013

Hi Dane et al - what is the size of the handle like? I've got 9" hands (nomic "big") would the fit when gloved in the Raptors I wonder? cheers


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By Dane
Jan 12, 2013
Cham '11

Big hands is one of the few things the Raptor does poorly.

More here on the details from last week.

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/01/trango-raptor-ice-tool.html


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By John Graefe
Jan 13, 2013

Hi Dane, thanks for the review of the Trango Raptors on the CT blog. Looks like you liked climbing with them. I just got a pair from Trango (with black molded handles), but have yet to climb with them. The information in the CT blog about using them with and without the pick weights was particularly useful. I will respond here once I have had a chance to climb with them. My initial impression from "dry swinging" them is that they feel quite similar in balance to my original first generation Quarks or the Nomics as you mentioned in the blog. To the person who asked about the grip size, I would agree with Dane that the grip is not designed to accommodate large hands.


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By Dane
Jan 13, 2013
Cham '11

For a little more comfort with a large hand I think you could open up the bottom of the grip with a dremel's round drum sander. I've done the same to a number of Black Diamond Fusions shafts.

Haven't yet on the Raptor. The way the grips of the two tools are made is a little different. Either way easy to get some extra room in the bottom of the grip if required.


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By Matt Glue
From Dillon, CO
Jan 15, 2013

I'd been holding out to try these before deciding on them or a pair of Nomics. Sad to hear that the grips are fixed in size, and small.

I'll have to try and demo these anyway, and decide if a Dremel could fix the grip for me or not. How would that be done exactly? Just shave off some of the rubber? Or actually get into the metal, then add some tape? Doesn't sound like it would make a big difference either way. Thanks, Dane.


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By Dane
Jan 15, 2013
Cham '11

Better to be too small than too big. Easy fix. Most will likely be able to get enough room to be comfortable in the grip for length. I use XL gloves and I can. BD Fusion isn't adjustable here either (where your little finger is) and just as tight and uncomfortable for me. You just need to cut them up on the very bottom of the grip where your little finger sets and get a more rounded/open support area. The Trango grip (BD Fusion as well) is tight on the little finger not in the length.

Sorry for the confusion.


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By Gunkiemike
Feb 21, 2013

I just posted my Raptor review on NEice.com if anyone's interested. I don't have the Nomic and Fusion experience that Dane does; my comments come more from a pure ice tool (first Gen. Quark) baseline. And compared to that sort of tool, the Raptors are quite different, and it's not all positive.

link to NEice(and-second)-impressions


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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Feb 21, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial

Gunkiemike wrote:
and it's not all positive.


so I agree with your review, they rock for hooking and really open up another realm of creativity for me. as far as the swing I do agree at first its very tricky to not just blast the ice. However last night I took a few turns on a pair again and I am finding that once you start figuring out the swing it does become possible to get good sticks regularly on pure unblazed ice. biggest thing to keep in mind when trying to figure out the swing is how to be very lose handed on the grip in the more "karate chop" postion, I found myself burying the pick to the hilt last night by actively thinking about gripping like such. and no the ice wasn't plastic at all.


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By Dane
Feb 21, 2013
Cham '11

Just an opinion, so take it for what it is worth. Coming from the heavier and original Quark, likely with Cascade picks puts Mike's NEI review into perspective.

I likely will never use the pick weights on my Raptors. And would have no problem recommending the Raptor as a first tool for a beginner set up like that. No pick weights. A beginner is usually open to new technques not knowing anything else.

I would have no problem owning a set of Raptors as my only ice tools. (I generally use a Nomic now) I don't personally modify my picks, Trangos or Petzls. I don't see the need. I would have to open up the grip for my XL size hands how ever.

If I could modify the Raptor I would drop the pick angle 2 maybe 3 degrees. And I'd make the stainless head a hammer face without adding any more weight. And I'd change the grip a bit. Same thing could be said of a current green Fusion. Basically a better Nomic...imagine that ;) But I can live with the Raptor as they are. More importantly if I was looking for a first tool...the Raptor would be a no brainier. IMO it is a better tool than the Fusion. The Raptor could easily take a beginner (or an expert) any where they want to climb long into the future.


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