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Nomic (ice pick) modification
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By Mike Washburn
From Orem, Utah
Jan 17, 2012
This is an idea I have been toying with for a few days. I'm interested on others feed back before I improve/screw up my pick.

I climb on new gen Nomics and love them. The other day I spent the morning experimenting with my buddies new cassin x mountains. I climbed a few routes twice, once with each set of tools, and one route with one of each tool in either hand. I prefer the swing of the nomic and grip of the nomic, but the picks on the cassin tool seem to displace less ice and have a very satisfying stick. The difference isn't big enough to change tools, I definitely like the nomics better, but if I could try the cassin picks on the nomic...

I haven't measured with a micrometer yet but width on the two picks seems close to the same. The nomic pick is a little taller and more square than the cassin though. I'm considering shaving a couple of millimeters off the top of the first couple of inches of the nomic pick. Essentially I would just remove the portion along the top that is sharpened, then resharpen the now flat surface. I also am considering making the pick round into a point rather than have the angular point that it currently has.

Thoughts on this? A picture may help here so if I have time I'll post a drawing a little later. Thanks for your ideas.

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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Jan 17, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012
the fact that the cassins displace less ice probably isn't solely the result of the pick shape. It is a combination of the shape of the pick, the swing of the tool, and the geometry of the pick to the tool itself. give it a try but no nomic will swing the same way that a x-mountain will.

disclaimer, I haven't used either tool, so this is just a armchair thought. on a similar note do people who use bd vipers notice they dinnerplate ice like a mofo? maybe it's just the fact that I'm a pussy and love to have my tool(s) as deep inside (the ice) as possible. or I swing like a tard. who knows.

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By Syndicate
Jan 17, 2012
Hi Mike,

you aren't out to lunch on the feel of your tools - the new petzl picks have a different geometry than the previous gen, I find they bounce off the ice a lot more with the same swing.

I round off the front of mine heavily, more in line with a BD pick. I also flatten the first three points a bit, removing the first one entirely. This really makes it a better pick.

You will also find that a bit of extra wrist flick on vertical ice stops the bouncing.

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By Thomas G.
From SLC, Utah
Jan 17, 2012
hardcore bouldering
When you say that you round off the pick, do you mean that you round the angled tip that transitions from the point of the pick up to the upper blade?

The instructions on Cold Thistle (Dane's blog) are excellent for modifying your picks. I followed those pretty closely and I'm pretty happy with the results. The tools are a TON easier to clean--something that took a little getting used to--but I'm very pleased with the results.

Dane's instructions:

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/...

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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Jan 17, 2012
I had a very similar thought when I first climbed with the Cassins. I believe that part of what makes them stick so well is good geometry at the end of the pick.

I have since heavily modified my picks (Laser picks on Vipers) to displace less ice. I thinned out the height at the tip and added more of a distal taper. I also polished the picks, but that's more of a appearance/corrosion-resistance thing.

The result is considerably less fracturing and lower required swing force. This is great for delicate moves on thin, brittle ice. They still don't quite have the same feel as the Cassins, but there is a lot of improvement over the stock geometry. There is a little bit less durability than my slightly heavier rock picks, but they held up surprisingly well after two solid weeks of climbing (the longest I've gone without a touch up).

I use a VFD-controlled 2x72 belt grinder with Cubitron and Norax belts to shape and finish my picks. This allows me to efficiently and precisely modify my pick geometry while keeping the steel cool. A progression of files and sandpaper would work too with some patience.

Phillip

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By ebnhils
Jan 17, 2012
Let me start by saying I am fairly new to ice climbing and this is my 1st set of ice tools. I picked up an older set of nomics with astro picks a coupe months ago, the picks were in bad shape. The first time out with them they shattered the ice and did not stick well. I read Dane's post referred to above and some others. I cheched the pick thickness and found it to be at 4mm so I filled both sides of the pick untill I was at 3mm. Then removed the first tooth as it was very close to the tip due to being sharpened many times. I also made the first few teeth shorter and then reworked the angles on the teeth to a tapper on all sides. The picks stick much better and clean easy, I am much happier with them now. Note the picks were in very bad shape.

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By jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Jan 18, 2012
Mean Green P2
Dobson did the same modification to my Nomics and they work very well. On the other hand, I don't do it myself beacause I don't have a belt grinder and I am impatient.

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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Jan 18, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012
I wouldn't use a power grinder to mod climbing equipment, not only will you fuck up the temper but it's just too easy to take off too much metal. A standard metal file works well and you'll have more control and there's no chance of weakening the metal.

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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Jan 18, 2012
Keenan Waeschle wrote:
I wouldn't use a power grinder to mod climbing equipment, not only will you fuck up the temper but it's just too easy to take off too much metal. A standard metal file works well and you'll have more control and there's no chance of weakening the metal.


That is a good cautionary statement. I don't want people to go modify their tools with a dremel or bench grinder.

Bench grinders run much too fast, and cut poorly. They are hard to control, and overheat the blade, potentially ruining the heat treat. However, professional-level belt grinders are in a whole different league. They are designed to cut metal smoothly and precisely without heating the steel. With a fresh belt and low speed, it is possible to get more precise geometry than even hand sanding can accomplish (the blade stays cooler, too). Compared to grinding a straight razor with a two-thousandths inch thick blade, climbing picks are casual. After all, the picks were ground on a machine in the factory in the first place. Very roughly ground at that.

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By Gunkiemike
Jan 18, 2012
Mike Washburn wrote:
I definitely like the nomics better, but if I could try the cassin picks on the nomic...


It's been done. Joe Szot (upstate NY uber-hardman) has a CAMP Awax pick (the precursor to the Cassin tools) on his Nomic. Ian Osteyee is one of the local guides and he made the modification. You can ask him about it:

ianosteyee@adirondackmountainguides.com

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By Rob Man
From SLC UT
Feb 2, 2012
mountain sunset
I have had good results with an small angle grinder with a sanding disk instead of a stone wheel :))

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By Dane
Feb 8, 2012
Cham '11
If you have concerns about the lack of the previous Cascade picks being available there is a contact at Petzl and some discussion here:

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2012/...

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By Rob Man
From SLC UT
Feb 13, 2012
mountain sunset
I contacted a source at petzl America and he informed me that the cascade picks are DONE no more ;( so if you can buy up what ever you can find and or get antiquated with shaping the new style "ice" picks to your liking...

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By Dane
Feb 14, 2012
Cham '11
This is the content I got from Petzl a few days ago.

"As for the picks they were redesigned to be a better all-around pick. The first tooth is now a bit steeper/ more aggressive making more of a hook greatly improving its performance on thin hook placements (rock or ice). That said when you get a good deep stick in ice it can be a little more difficult to clean. Despite what our goal was , Iíll take yours and the other comments Iíve received on the picks and pass them onto our design team."

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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Feb 14, 2012
Rob Man wrote:
I contacted a source at petzl America and he informed me that the cascade picks are DONE no more ;( so if you can buy up what ever you can find and or get antiquated with shaping the new style "ice" picks to your liking...

Can you post the email? This is opposite of what a rep from Petzl USA said to me.

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By Rob Man
From SLC UT
Feb 15, 2012
mountain sunset
Divna,

Can you post the email? This is opposite of what a rep from Petzl USA said to me.





Yep, the new picks are geared more for mixed (rock) terrain. With a little filing you can taper the clearance on the top end of the pick for easier removal from solid ice sticks, particularly in these plastic ice conditions! The cascade is, no more. It's funny... we had a lot of complaints about the cascade not holding well on mixed terrain so it's kind of a catch 22 situation... either way... someone's going to have to do a little filing from the factory "best fit" situation.


The above in a quote from my friend at Petzl

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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Feb 15, 2012
Thanks, Rob! I think I got confused. Petzl has discontinued Cascade pick for Nomic, but not for the old Quark. It's funny, if you look closely, you can easy refit the Quark Cascade pick to both new and old Nomics.

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Feb 20, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!
So it seems the new Nomic pick is not optimal for waterfall ice. How about that same pick on the Quark? So far, I have used the quark and the cobra for comparison, and the Quark does not seems to penetrate the ice as the cobra. To be fair, these two tools are configurated differently.

So I wonder if anyone of you has any obvious problem with the Quark's pick in pure ice?

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By Rob Man
From SLC UT
Feb 21, 2012
mountain sunset
Bang,
Does your pick say "ice" or "cascade" on it?
The cascade pick, when sharp is the best on water ice IMO.
The ice pick is works better on mixed/ dry and not as good on water ice

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Feb 21, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!
Rob Man wrote:
Bang, Does your pick say "ice" or "cascade" on it? The cascade pick, when sharp is the best on water ice IMO. The ice pick is works better on mixed/ dry and not as good on water ice


Hi Rob,

Yeah they are the ICE pick on the new quark. I figure people using NOMIC need to modify it because of the NOMIC's aggressive swing comparing to the Quarks. I have not use the quark extensively enough to justify whether I need to do the mod or not on pure ice.

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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 21, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012
I just detuned the first tooth on the ice picks for the nomics like dane suggested and they climb and clean way better than my old BD tools, the swing has a very pronounced wrist flick at the end, takes a little getting used to but I had pretty much figured it out after on pitch.

With nomics I can consistently get one swing sticks, whereas my vipers required 2-4 swings. petzl is da bomb.

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Feb 22, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!
I wonder if modifying the ICE pick for pure water ice will compromise its performance on long alpine route (where one may encounter mixed terrains).

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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 22, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012
the first tooth might help on small iced up holds for hooks, but the main point is very hooked and will work much better than anything that alex used back in the day, he climbed all those burly routes with leashed (basically) straight shafted tools. I think any problem there would be more due to the user and not the first tooth on the ice pick.

The Matriarch in Hyalite Canyon

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