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Cassin X-All Mountain VS. X-Dream Ice Tools
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By tsciacca
From Silverton, CO
Nov 11, 2013
Crackula, 5.8, Sandia Mtns, ABQ, NM

Hi everyone,
Looking for much needed advice on some tools. Just getting back in to it after a long hiatus, but have been climbing some easier (WI3-5) multi-pitch routes and am looking to upgrade my ancient tools. Multi-pitch routes (hopefully longer and longer with each outing) of these grades is probably what's in store for the near future, but might also like to try harder/mixed routes as well soon enough. I can't afford two sets and was wondering if anyone has tried either of these tools and what they think of them and what they might recommend. By the way, I'm going with Cassin because money is tight and I can get a deal on them.
Thanks!!


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Nov 11, 2013

If I had a choice, I would use All Mountains for ice/alpine and Dreams for hard mixed.

The geometry of the All Mountains never feels limiting on ice, but can be hard to match on the delicate edges that the Dreams preform so well on.


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By Scott Bennett
Nov 11, 2013
photo by Forest Woodward

I think the All Mtn tools are the perfect single set of tools. They're better as hammers, which is nice for more adventurous routes when you'll need to place pins. The angle is perfect for ice, allowing really subtle swings when the going gets thin and delicate.

The Dreams are great tools, and you can get a hammer for them if you need (although the more aggressive handle makes sustained hammering difficult). The offset grips are like cheating on steep terrain.

I guess it comes down to what you'll use them for, but I guess the All mtn is more of a "jack-of-all-trades" tool and the Dreams are a bit more specialized. The All Mtns are also 8 grams lighter (:

Hope that helps!
Scott

Smear of Fear
Smear of Fear


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Nov 11, 2013

The family

Cassins
Cassins


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By Patrick Carey
From Keene, NY
Nov 11, 2013

Let me start by saying, you're in the right ballpark, no matter which model you pick. My wife and I both have a pair of each and they both have their strengths. We had both moved to All Mtns a season and a half ago from other brands of tools. We thought we'd found perfection, but our routes started to become a steady diet of 4's and harder and we both started to find them limiting. Plenty of people cruise 5's all day with them, but we both found ourselves wanting something with a more positive handle.

Enter the Dreams. Cassin (and our local boys Ian and Todd) leapfrogged the entire industry with the handle geometry of these tools. They can be adjusted for lots of different hand sizes and just lock your hands in perfectly. They have better pick geometry and maintain that perfect Cassin/Camp swing.

So long rant short, think about what you're going to do with them. If you're going to stay on the mellow side of grade 4, get the All Mtns. If you're going to do 4's and harder primarily, get the Dreams. We still use our All Mtns for long grade 2-3 alpine routes. Everything else, it's Dreams all the way.


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Nov 12, 2013

Oh, and to add one more thing, the All Mountain head is the best bottle opener of any ice tool. (Very important)


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 12, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

Dobson wrote:
The family

Looks a lot like The Fat One? I just bought a pair of X-Dreams to add to my collection. Climbed on them at the Lake City Ice Fest earlier this year and they were fantastic. Nice light swing and the handle is so recessed it's just about impossible to ding your hands and fingers on ice. The All Mountains have a nice swing too, but the grips aren't quite as ergonomic for mixed and steep ice. I don't do much in the way of alpine climbing so I tend to think of my ice tools strictly for water ice.


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By Brad M
Nov 12, 2013

On the all-mountains, are the caribiner clip-in points on the spikes fully rated, or at least meant for more than just lanyards?


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By Patrick Carey
From Keene, NY
Nov 12, 2013

They're attached quite solidly - 1/4" or so bolt straight through both sides of the shaft and the spike. I'm sure you could hang off one all day. Same deal with the clip or tether hole in the middle of the Dream handle. That goes straight through the metal frame, so it's at least as strong as what you're holding on to all day.


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Nov 12, 2013

Garret Nuzzo-Jones wrote:
Looks a lot like The Fat One? I just bought a pair of X-Dreams to add to my collection. Climbed on them at the Lake City Ice Fest earlier this year and they were fantastic. Nice light swing and the handle is so recessed it's just about impossible to ding your hands and fingers on ice. The All Mountains have a nice swing too, but the grips aren't quite as ergonomic for mixed and steep ice. I don't do much in the way of alpine climbing so I tend to think of my ice tools strictly for water ice.


Good eyes.

I was demoing the tools, and the Unnamed is the perfect place to get on the whole gamut of climbing. Fat easy ice all the way to figure 4s in the Cave. Fun day.


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Nov 12, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

That's asking which asking which car should I buy.. Porsche GT2 or 911 turbo. I would say either one will do the job. You just need to take both tools out for a test drive to see which one you like better.

I've climbed 3-3+ with the Dreams and they're fine on moderate ice.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Nov 12, 2013

tsciacca wrote:
Hi everyone, Looking for much needed advice on some tools. Just getting back in to it after a long hiatus, but have been climbing some easier (WI3-5) multi-pitch routes and am looking to upgrade my ancient tools. Multi-pitch routes (hopefully longer and longer with each outing)


I would suggest the all mountains if you plan to pound pins at all. They have the beast hammer. WI3-5 either the X-mountain or the X-dreams will be fine. I ran a rolling 600 ft WI2 last year with the X-dream and they did quite well. The x-dreams were meant for mixed and pure ice, you can get a hammer for it but it was not designed for pounding.


tsciacca wrote:
but might also like to try harder/mixed routes as well soon enough. I can't afford two sets and was wondering if anyone has tried either of these tools and what they think of them and what they might recommend. By the way, I'm going with Cassin because money is tight and I can get a deal on them. Thanks!!


With mixed the X-Dreams hands down. The off set handles and grip and pick angle are much better and easier to hold for a longer amount of time.


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By tsciacca
From Silverton, CO
Nov 12, 2013
Crackula, 5.8, Sandia Mtns, ABQ, NM

Really appreciate everyone's input, thanks so much! Looks like I can't really go too wrong either way, if only I had an extra few hundies to buy both sets :) So, just to throw it out there...I still have some 1st generation BD Fusions (the ones that most folks seem to hate on). I used them once in Ouray on some 4's and 5's and got so frustrated with them I haven't used them since (it's been YEARS and YEARS). Go with the all mountains and keep the fusions for when I eventually decided to get gnarly? :) Or are those fusions just something I should get rid of? Kind of a stupid question, I know, but just throwin' it out there


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By Chris Wenker
From Santa Fe
Nov 12, 2013
Bandera

I've been swinging the All Mountains around for 2 years; previously had the Awax.
All Mountains are a great improvement over the old Awax: actual useable clip-in points on the head, and the pommel, etc. I don't climb hard enough to be able to comment on their subtleties on WI5 though.

However, one point that I have a reservation about: the rivets attaching the head to the shaft. Back when I had the Awax, I busted one of the tools while pounding out a stubborn piton. Repeated hammerings on the piton actually loosened the tool's rivets, so the head wobbled unacceptably after that. (And that's how I ended up with the All Mountains, through a warranty replacement, since the Awax was out of production by then).
From what I can tell, the All Mountain uses the same rivet gauge and design as did the Awax. So, maybe take it a little easy on the hammering?


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Nov 12, 2013

Keeping the Fusions might be just the ticket. The orange Fusions are good at the steep dry climbing that the X-All lacks performance in. All of that ice climbing that Fusions suck for is just what the X-All is best for.

Trash the Fusions on sporty mixed, and keep the Cassins razor sharp for waterfall ice and big mountain. It's a combo that I'd personally be very happy with.


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By Christopher G
From New Hartford, NY
Nov 13, 2013
Adirondacks

For alpine use (gullies and the such), which would be better, X-All Mountains or Quarks? Are they even comparable??


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By Patrick Carey
From Keene, NY
Nov 13, 2013

They're definitely comparable. I would say the quarks might be the slightest bit better in true alpine, but I wouldn't trade my All Mtns to get a pair. I've heard people complain they skate a little when caning, due to the angle of the handle, but I've had no such problems myself.

Agree on the Fusion and All-Mountain combo. That would be perfect.


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By Christopher G
From New Hartford, NY
Nov 14, 2013
Adirondacks

That was one thing I was taking into consideration - the amount of arc in handle of the Cassin's compared to the Quarks. Thanks!


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By D Sharp
From Boulder, CO
Nov 15, 2013

Patrick Carey wrote:
They're attached quite solidly - 1/4" or so bolt straight through both sides of the shaft and the spike.


The bolt certainly goes through the shaft. But it's far from 1/4": it actually clocks in at a trust-inspiring 1/8". Still, it will certainly hold body-weight all day. Belaying off it, is likely suicidal though.

I reached out to CAMP and they confirmed that the spike is not officially rated, and if anything they prefer you use the clip-in point on the top of the tool (which may or may not be a better idea, depending on the angle of the terrain, position of the tool etc).

Anyway, I love the All Mountains, and while they certainly are no Nomics, they are a pleasure to climb with. Especially frozen alpine choss.


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