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creating the right tool combination
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By John Fatseas
From Denver, CO
Dec 29, 2011
Lake City, CO mixin it up
I'm taking an intro to ice climbing course in february. By the end of the course I will get to lead an easy climb.
I already own a 57cm BD Venom with adze. Which tool should I get for this course? Will the matching BD Venom with hammer be sufficient or should I get a real technical tool? or a pair of technical tools and forget the venom?
Any advise is appreciated. Oh, and money is definitely a concern.
Thanks,
John

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Dec 29, 2011
Bocan
You can certainly climb easy ice with the venoms, but there is a world of difference between them and a technical tool. The venoms are meant more for snow and ice steps in mountain terrain, and are pretty much a different animal.

Doesn't the school have tool for the students to use? I'm assuming since its an intro class they don't expect everyone to be rocking brand new Cobras. Or borrow / rent a pair till you get the cash and decide what you want.

I think it would be better to borrow or rent a set instead of spending the cash on a second snow tool. Put that money towards real ice gear.

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By Derek W
Dec 29, 2011
First summit of First Flatiron
I would agree with Scott's advice. Especially if you are going to be leading by the end, I would think technical tools will make your life much easier.

I also suggest trying out a few different tools, when I started a few years ago I was amazed at how each tool felt and how some felt natural and some were awkward to me.

I ended up with a pair of Trango Scorpions which run about $300 for a pair (vs. $600 for a pair of new Nomics...) I found they swung the best for me and had the best price point. They are even on sale at Mountain Gear right now.

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By Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Dec 29, 2011
Top of Jah-Man Sister Superior
I would try to get out on as many different tools as you can before you buy. There are some really great tools out on the market with slight differences in how they climb. I own New Cobras, Nomics, Grivel Quantum Techs, Matrix Techs, Cassin X All Mountains and a couple of other pair. My favorite tool out of all of these are the Cassin X All Mountain hands down. It is the tool that I choose to climb on when I am going out on my own or when I am running a group. But I am into minimal effort in placing my tools. I was out yesterday and watched a guy with Nomics swinging 5-7 times per placement. I was swinging 1-2 times per placement. Multiply that over the course of a day and guess who is less fatigued at the end of the day. Swing count matters.

Get out and try lots of tools before you buy.
Dallen

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 30, 2011
Sunny-D wrote:
I was out yesterday and watched a guy with Nomics swinging 5-7 times per placement. I was swinging 1-2 times per placement. Multiply that over the course of a day and guess who is less fatigued at the end of the day. Dallen



Wow that guy with the nomics must have been a biginner and did not know what a good stick felt/sounded like. I rarely have to swing more than three time with my nomics to get a solid stick, useualy 1-2 time is fine unless the ice in really cold and hard.

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By iceman777
From Colorado Springs
Dec 30, 2011
0
swing count matters.....hummm ok I guess.never realy gave it much thought cuz....

I always thought it realy depended on the quality of the ice ????


Blue hard bullet proof ice . good luck w/2 swing sticks

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By Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Dec 30, 2011
Top of Jah-Man Sister Superior
Quality of the ice is important, I would say more then anything else-however if you are having to swing more times you will get tired sooner then if you have to swing less. If I am climbing cold brittle ice and am having to swing multiple times to get a stick that is going to be much more taxing them if I can get good sticks in one or two swings without shattering out the ice. Im going to be less tired at the end of the day and probably able to place gear and think straighter if I am not worried about the pump going on in my arms. So yes swing count matters too.
Dallen

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By Bud Martin
From Bozeman, MT
Dec 30, 2011
I am fine with 2-3 swing sticks with my Nomics most of the time. But after watching dudes who have been climbing ice for 20+ years I have noticed that they swing more than I do, I'm thinking because they are strong enough and know the value of a super bomber stick.

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By iceman777
From Colorado Springs
Jan 2, 2012
0
Thanks Bud
While I haven't been climbing ice for 20 years , I know some top ice climbers who have
And when asked if swing count matters they said they don't count swings they just listen for that reassuring thunk of a good stick. If it takes 1 swing or 5 .

Now we're not talking top roping here ether just lead climbing.

I agree with them 1000%.

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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Jan 2, 2012
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
Sunny-D wrote:
was out yesterday and watched a guy with Nomics swinging 5-7 times per placement. I was swinging 1-2 times per placement.


Theres a million reasons that could have been the case. He could have had bad or really dull picks, could have been a first timer or beginner, etc. I personally don't own or use Nomics, but they seem to be the tool of choice of many people so I don't think they could be THAT bad.

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By paintrain
Jan 3, 2012
Chuck Norris can Divide by Zero
I personally think the nomics are one of the best tools out there for ice. I have tried the cobras (old and new), vipers (old and new), quarks, the new and old ergos. I like the headweights and I find I can stick them with less effort than any of the tools I rattled off.

There is a lot to be said about fitting your swing or learning to swing the tools as they were designed. All of the more modern tools can climb steep ice, you just have to learn how to use them and how they fit your climbing style (I like to bury my picks).

PT

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By John Fatseas
From Denver, CO
Jan 3, 2012
Lake City, CO mixin it up
Thanks for all the responses.

Sounds like I will need to try out a few tools before I purchase, and two matching technical tools is the way to go.

I've been looking at the Nomics, as those seem to be the best by consensus. Not to mention, Ueli Steck uses the Nomics. I'd like to climb like Ueli Steck.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jan 3, 2012
Bocan
John Fatseas wrote:
Thanks for all the responses. Sounds like I will need to try out a few tools before I purchase, and two matching technical tools is the way to go. I've been looking at the Nomics, as those seem to be the best by consensus. Not to mention, Ueli Steck uses the Nomics. I'd like to climb like Ueli Steck.


You'll find this out anyways, but it's not always about what tool is the "best". The BD vipers work best with my smaller hands. The nomics didn't. Once you start swinging the tools you can figure out what works best for you.

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By Topher42
Feb 18, 2012
I had the BD reactors. I really liked them. However I got the chance to use the new Grivel quantum techs and fell in love. sent the reactors back and got the quantums.
Swing as many tools as you can in the shop going to festivals and demos are great. everyone has their favs.
good luck happy swinging.

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By JohnnyG
Feb 18, 2012
So John...what did you end up getting?

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By David Joslin
Jul 8, 2012
Dragonfly Creek, February 2012
I use the BD Reactors as well. A pretty versatile set of tools for a decent price.

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