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Petzl Nomics vs Grivel Force/Master Alloy
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By coop
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Dec 16, 2013
Indian Creek Climbing

Anyone directly compare these two tools?


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By Woodchuck ATC
Dec 16, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I've directly compared the cost of either one as being outrageous and not in my budget...that's as much as I know.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 16, 2013

coop wrote:
Anyone directly compare these two tools?


I own a set of 1st gen Nomics and Love them, they climb ice well (better when the cascade pick was available). and dry tool closely second to the BD (green) fusions with the mixed pick, simply based on that the fusion handle is a bit more comfortable on long over hangs,I climb M5 to M6.

The Grivles, I had a chance to Demo these this last weekend at an ice fest. They climb ice WI4+ - WI5) quite well. They drytool amazingly well, I like the splattered rubberized grip but the handle is thinner than the nomic and after a few hours start to hurt my finger joints more than the Nomics.

If you get the chance and are more of a Ice climber than a mixed climber I would also recommend keeping the Cassin X-Dreams as a option. I pretty much replaced my Nomics for pure ice with these.


IMHO either tool is great, the Grivels get style points for sure, but you can not go wrong with either of those tools. I would recommend trying both on and see what works for you.


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By coop
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Dec 16, 2013
Indian Creek Climbing

I have the new nomics. I'm going to try out a few of the Grivel tools this winter as well as those X Dreams. Thanks for the information and opinion.


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By seth0687
From Fort Collins
Dec 16, 2013
Leading the first ice pitch of the NW Gully-Thatchtop

I'll take your new nomics off your hands ; ).


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By Kirby1013
From Baltimore Maryland
Dec 18, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Jeff J wrote:
I own a set of 1st gen Nomics and Love them, they climb ice well (better when the cascade pick was available). and dry tool closely second to the BD (green) fusions with the mixed pick, simply based on that the fusion handle is a bit more comfortable on long over hangs,I climb M5 to M6. The Grivles, I had a chance to Demo these this last weekend at an ice fest. They climb ice WI4+ - WI5) quite well. They drytool amazingly well, I like the splattered rubberized grip but the handle is thinner than the nomic and after a few hours start to hurt my finger joints more than the Nomics. If you get the chance and are more of a Ice climber than a mixed climber I would also recommend keeping the Cassin X-Dreams as a option. I pretty much replaced my Nomics for pure ice with these. IMHO either tool is great, the Grivels get style points for sure, but you can not go wrong with either of those tools. I would recommend trying both on and see what works for you.


So you're saying the BD Fusions are really good for mixed? Wanna check those out. I would like to have a pair of tools just for drytooling that aren't another pair of X Dreams. I drop my tools lots when climbing mixed. Too fat for all that crazy M whatever action!


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By Jon H
From Northern NJ
Dec 18, 2013
At the matching crux

Here are my impressions on the currently available tools I've climbed with over the years. Ice tools no longer in production are excluded.

Me: 6'2", 185lbs, been ice climbing 5 years, rock climbing for 13 years. Generally climb 30+ days of ice/season.
Lead WI5, M6 on gear, M8 on bolts. Have followed WI6 and TR'ed up to M9.

BD COBRA
One of my favorite all around tools, especially for alpinism. Only sold it because matching on the upper grip causes pick shift which is kinda scary, especially when you're run out. Took it to Chamonix for 3 weeks and was happy with my choice, especially with a set of Aermet picks.

BD VIPER
Like the Cobra but a bit clunkier, heavier, and not as well damped on vibration. Cheaper though.

PETZL NOMIC
Currently have a pair. Great for mixed climbing and even drytooling. Not crazy about them for pure ice, even steep 5+ waterfalls. I find the pick angle too aggressive and rarely get first-swing sticks. This applies across the board using Ice, Dry, and older Cascade picks.

PETZL QUARKS (2nd gen)
Didn't like them at all. Very light, great all around tool, but uncomfortable for my hand, hated the "trigger" and bashed my knuckles more than any other tool. Sold them off after 3-4 days.

PETZL ERGO
Too Ergo for me. Took them to Ouray and up routes like Tic Tac (M6/7) and Seamstress (M8) and the angle was just too aggressive for me. Almost a full "C" shape. They would probably be ideal for pulling through tiered roofs where you have an unstable, blind hook each time you need to pull through, but for consistent 10-deg-past-vertical walls they were a bit awkward. This tool personified the "more is not always better" axiom, at least with regards to ice tool geometry aggressiveness. Stronger climbers (like local NE hardman PCooke who bought them from me) may disagree.

BD FUSION
Mediocre on ice - pick is too steep. Forces you to "chop" unnaturally at the ice in a downward angle instead of swinging in to it horizontally. Great at mixed routes with minimal/thin ice that warrants gentle taps. Even better drytooling/hooking/torquing. Comfortable handle. Haven't had a chance to try out the "Fusion Ice" pick yet so can't comment on that, but I've heard good things.

GRIVEL QUANTUM TECH
My favorite pure ice tool ever. Light, balanced, first-swing sticks almost every single time. Love the picks too - Grivel has the best metallurgy I've yet to encounter. Only complaint is "perceived" fragility - I'm not 100% comfortable torquing on them or even worse, torquing the shaft in a crack. Also it has a poor upper "shelf" for matching but that can be easily fixed with some MacGyver skills. The pinky hook could stand to be a bit bigger (larger radius, to be specific) as well - can be uncomfortable for those with big hands (i.e. me).

GRIVEL CARBON FORCE
Drytooling beast. Climbs like nothing else I've ever used. Would hate to have to climb much ice though. It hooks way better than it swings. The Force Alloy should be better at all around climbing, but I've only held it my hands, never climbed on it.



CONCLUSIONS
It's easy to find a tool to fit a single niche. I'm still loving my Quantums for pure ice and pretty happy with the Nomics for mixed. I have yet to find an ice tool that I truly love for alpine use. If I was going to Chamonix or Canmore tomorrow I would probably take Quantums. Nomics if it was a thin season or objectively knew there would be substantial mixed sections on the routes we're aiming for.

If they could fix the pick shift on the Cobras it would be a one-tool quiver, but that would take a heavy redesign.

For HARD drytooling, get the Grivel Force (Carbon or Alloy) if you've got the coin, otherwise you'll still be very happy with Fusions or Nomics. There are some efficiencies to be gained if your tools share the same pick system. I personally prefer BD picks attachment style (and hate Petzl's) but the Petzl picks generally win overall, so I've got Nomics. The new BD Fuels are interesting and could bring me back to BD if they get it right.


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By Dane
Dec 18, 2013
Cham '11

this.....when they become available.

Grivel Machine  3.0
Grivel Machine 3.0



Nomic climbs ice extemely well and mixed very well. The Force/Master climbs mixed extremely well and climbs ice if forced.

X-Dream and Mtn are good. More like the Petzl tools. Big fan myself of a new Quark. Not a lot of differerence between them for me climbing, since it has the Nomic's actual head and the majority of the shaft profile.


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By doligo
Dec 18, 2013
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

Jon, Ergos are an overkill for vertical techy climbs like Seamstress. Nomics would've been better. Ergos are more suitable for overhanging cave climbs

Surprised to hear you didn't like Nomics for pure ice - they are a dream on anything WI4 and above. Especially with a pair fresh out of factory picks, you can climb really cold hard ice, all you need is few mm penetration (this is per Petzl tech guy). The problem with people who are used to climbing on other tools is that they try to drive in the picks too deep.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Dec 18, 2013
Bohemian grove

Jon H wrote:
BD COBRA One of my favorite all around tools, especially for alpinism. Only sold it because matching on the upper grip causes pick shift which is kinda scary, especially when you're run out.


I've noticed this as well, the upper pinky rest is both too small and has mediocre balance.


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 18, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

I originally had the latest generation Quarks, loved them for steep ice but the upper grip was garbage and broke on me. Switched to Nomics and climbed all last season on them. They're a great all-around tool but the picks leave something to be desired for ice. Bought X-Dreams this season and I've never had so many one-hit sticks before. You can rail them into the ice with no trouble and they clean easily. The grip and structure takes a minute to get used to since it's so heavily recessed.


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By Willy P
From the Climber Cave
Dec 18, 2013

^^^^ What Jon H said!

In addition the Grivel Matrix Tech climbs ice like the Quantum but has a stronger shaft for mixed. I highly recommend them for pure ice up to WI 5. Also check out the DMM Apex. They climb similar to the Nomic but have a straight grip allowing for better alpine performance IMO. The Apex is a bit too aggressive on anything less than WI 4 but I found they hook like a dream on steep ice and mixed.


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By Kirby1013
From Baltimore Maryland
Dec 18, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Thanks Jon! I appreciate all the information.. Lots to think about. I agree with everything you said about tools I've used. sounds like you haven't tried the X-dreams. You can try mine if you return my email. Haha.

Dane, Nomics are great but the X Dreams and All Mtns are good? To each their own I guess.

Doligo, I thought the Ergos were sweet on WI4. I thought crazy angle of the shaft would limit performance but the design worked well on ice for me. I felt the Ergos really shine when using them to gain the ice at the end of a mixed pitch.

Garret, Finally someone says the same thing I do about the X Dreams! Haha


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By coop
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Dec 18, 2013
Indian Creek Climbing

Thank you all for your opinions and information, it is very helpful. I stopped in Ouray Mountain Sports again today and checked out there great stock of tools. I think I'm going to try a pair of the Quantum Techs for pure waterfall ice this year. I have really enjoyed my 2nd gen nomics thus far, but they seem to be more suited for mixed climbing.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 19, 2013

Kirby1013 wrote:
So you're saying the BD Fusions are really good for mixed? Wanna check those out. I would like to have a pair of tools just for drytooling that aren't another pair of X Dreams. I drop my tools lots when climbing mixed. Too fat for all that crazy M whatever action!



IMHO - I really like the fusions for dry tooling, the titan pick is quite durable, they excel on the rock way over how the fusions do on the ice.
There are other tools out there that are splendid as well, but the Fusion handle really fits my hand well and is comfortable for extended overhanging climbs. The tool hooks dime edges well for me and feel secure. I have used my X-dreams and Nomics as well they do just fine but I just like the Fusion the most for dry routes. The X-dream climbs Ice way better but on rock I find that the pick really take a beating on rock. BD's titan pick last much longer. That my 2 cents anywho


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Dec 19, 2013
Bohemian grove

I agree with the consensus here about the Fusions on ice, hell, Black Diamond even knows this, hence the new Fuel tools. But I've always found it interesting that when I see videos of Josh Wharton alpine climbing he oftentimes uses the Fusions, even in situations where he's opted to use crampons with horizontal front points. Obviously, the dude is way better at climbing than any of us. But still, seems like he would have noticed the same limitations we all have.

But again, dude it a beast, he could probably get up WI6 with two ball pin hammers and a pair of Yak Traks...


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By Kirby1013
From Baltimore Maryland
Dec 19, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Jeff J wrote:
IMHO - I really like the fusions for dry tooling, the titan pick is quite durable, they excel on the rock way over how the fusions do on the ice. There are other tools out there that are splendid as well, but the Fusion handle really fits my hand well and is comfortable for extended overhanging climbs. The tool hooks dime edges well for me and feel secure. I have used my X-dreams and Nomics as well they do just fine but I just like the Fusion the most for dry routes. The X-dream climbs Ice way better but on rock I find that the pick really take a beating on rock. BD's titan pick last much longer. That my 2 cents anywho


I appreciate your 2 cents! I also have noticed that Cassin picks don't stay sharp as long as others. I thought it was due the fact that when I get desperate I start taking a swing at the rock. Well it's probably that too.

Blueprint.. When you're a pro you use what the sponsor tells you! Haha


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By Dane
Dec 19, 2013
Cham '11

Blueprint wrote:
I agree with the consensus here about the Fusions on ice, hell, Black Diamond even knows this, hence the new Fuel tools...


Fuel prototypes have been around at least since 2011/2012 when I first saw them in SLC. Looks unchanged for the most part other than the typical bitches about the Fusion 2. I wouldn't get your hopes up that the Fuel is any better on ice than the Fusion 2 is now. More open pommel, no hammer on the head to unbalance it and an option in BD picks is still not going to make a Fusion/Fuel a Nomic or a X Dream on ice.

Nice new paint job though. Those horizontal front points? Often a better choice on the typical Canadian WI6 than vertical fronts btw.


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 19, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

Kirby1013 wrote:
I appreciate your 2 cents! I also have noticed that Cassin picks don't stay sharp as long as others. I thought it was due the fact that when I get desperate I start taking a swing at the rock. Well it's probably that too. Blueprint.. When you're a pro you use what the sponsor tells you! Haha


The Cassin picks are thin and fairly small. Definitely an advantage on ice but if you compare them to the Nomic picks, they're notably more delicate. I find the Cassin picks displace less ice in general.

Once my Petzl picks were filed down a bit and more shaped they performed quite a bit better. Not sure why they're so crappy right out of the box.

The Cassin picks are $10-15 cheaper than Petzl picks, which is nice too.


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By Dane
Dec 19, 2013
Cham '11

Petzl's original Cascade picks changed a couple of seasons ago to a DRY and a ICE pick. Neither are as good on ice IMO as the original Cascade pick was. The newer picks were designed to improve their ability on mixed. The re-design wasn't a big help on pure water ice. Too much hook on the front tooth is part of the cause. But not all. Angle changed as well. It got steeper. To help hooking on hard mixed as well. Both new Petzl picks are T rated now. The Cascade wasn't T rated but performed like a T pick in the field and would out perform and out last anything that was currently available at the time.

Picks are always a trade off. Super thin and sticks in ice are easier. Too much tooth and angle they are sticky getting out but sticky to keep you on with a minimal placement. Thin picks don't last long and need resharpening often. Thick picks last for ever but are dismal on ice. They shatter what is there for ice and keep you swinging too long to get a good stick.

The real issue climbing ice is how quickly you get a stick and how easy that stick is to get back out. Repeat. Waste time and energy and you strength eventually goes. Doesn't matter if you are climbing 3s or 6s. Same issues. Durability comes into play once you start climbing a lot or doing mixed. "Pick" the options most important to you and your own use or pocket book. Usually it becomes a combination of all those things.

Any of the new tools climb ice well enough no matter what brand, including the Fusion. Some are marginally easier to use than others. Learn how to use any specific tool (including a old Chouinard Piolet) and they will all climb better than most anyone using them is capable.


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By Kirby1013
From Baltimore Maryland
Dec 20, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Oh boy, I know it's coming.. The ol Fancy ice tools don't matter if your footwork is there comment! Wait for it.. Wait for it..


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By Dane
Dec 20, 2013
Cham '11

What your foot work suck or something Kirby? I would have thought a big boy like you would have to use their feet. On steep ice good technique gets really important if you want to have any arms left.

Point is, the specific tool doesn't matter a whole lot when you are are looking at Jon's list above. Good write up btw Jon. Not that we agree on every comment :) What does matter is how easy they are to get in and more importantly how easy they are to get out. Much of the choices you will make are defined by your skill set and your personal perception of how well you think the tool may or may not climb well.

I've climbed 5+ (we use to call it 6) with a Piolet and current 6 with Nomics, Ergo, Cobra, Fusions, Raptor and the X Dream. I could just as easily pick a color I like to support the claim which is "best". They all climb well enough by comparison.

Everyone generally ends up with a favorite..because it matches their current abilities and techniques. I'm not very critical of ice tools short of a durability issue. Pommel and pick failures come to mind off hand. It use to be shaft and pick failures. No big deal. Things like that are annoying. Having to adapt my technique to a specific tool...not so much.

Single swing sticks are awesome as long as the effort required to remove them is similar. It is a two step dance on tools.

Asuuming of course you have a clue on how to use your feet. Climbing in crampons hasn't changed much since Laurent Grivel invented the 12 point crampon in 1929. Figure most have that sorted out well enough. May be not if you are fixated on how well a tool works. Always good to have something to bitch about though.

'73 Terro,  and a Nomic from '09.
'73 Terro, and a Nomic from '09.


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By Dane
Dec 20, 2013
Cham '11

Forgot...

Much of "good" attributes bestowed on a mixed tool is the quality of the steel and temper used on the pick. Soft steel is stickier and noticable on rock as "good" as opposed to something heat tempered to a glass hardness and "slick" on rock.

How steep the terrain is gets addressed one way or the other by the angle or multi angles of the shaft and grips. Rigidity of the shaft also effects the pick shift (as does shaft angles and grips).

Some like a very rigid shaft, other just as skilled like a little flex in the shaft. Tools available for both tastes.

Tool choices are generally made by the terrian you do climb in or envision yourself climbing on. Eastern ice, Canadian water falls, Cascadian winter mixed, full on over hanging bolted "M" routes with no ice in sight or a Chamonix winter season. Top ropes, leading or soloing. May be all three? What you choose for a tool might be really important...or not important at all.


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By Kirby1013
From Baltimore Maryland
Dec 20, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Come on Dane, you know me by now. I'm just talking shit and trying to be funny. What the hell do I know?

Big Boy? Technique? Tell me about it! I miltary press 225 and row 95 lb dumb bells and cant TR M6 clean. Thank God ice isnt overhanging. Sucks being fat and too lazy to do anything about it! Haha.

It seems everytime we start talking about what ice tool is the best for whatever somebody, not just you brings up the fact that the choice of tools doesn't matter. That footwork is all you need. If it's not footwork it's back in my day.... oh shit, you did just brought that up. Sorry.

You know I sincerely still feel bad about the misunderstanding concerning the Arcteryx Dually.


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By Dane
Dec 20, 2013
Cham '11

Kirby the point I was trying to make is don't let the tools get in the way of enjoying the climbing. I have tools that I really like and tools I don't like all that much. I own most of what has been listed here. But I only climb on one or two of them if it is serious for me. They happen to fit my lazy techniques. But I am not fool enough to believe that one is any better than the other on water ice the majority of the time.

I find the grip equally as important as the pick. Both will save you energy if they fit you and what you are doing.

Terro is still cool and fun to climb with...bad grip obviously makes WI5 a little harder with one :)

Just because I don't like a tool doesn't mean you won't. Just because one guy says a tool is a POS doesn't mean it actually is. Or what he is climbing on is the best tool for you.

BITD?..with a few decades of continious ice climbing and now having used literally dozens of tools I have an opinion on ice tools based on my own experience :-) As you said previous, "to each their own".

Just an opinion nothing more.

Here is a fun example. Jon in his comments seemed to really dislike the new Petzl Quark. Same exact head and if IRC same exact angle as the Nomic. A tool that Jon does at least tolerate if he still owns a pair. Only different between the tow is handles. My buddy Jack and I liked the Nomic for WI6 stuff. He used a Nomic exclusivly there until sponsored by another company. But when Jack came to Chamonix he brought the new Quark and pulled M9/10 with it no problem. Ueli use to climb everyhing with a Nomic. And like Jack he had a choice of any tool he wants. You most often see Ueli on a Quark as well these days. The BD sponsored climbers are on the green Fusion or a Cobra and now the what ever else is new. Sure there are differeneces...and the differences are know if you've had ato climb on everything. But do the differences matter? If they did and you wanted to win, every competitor would be using the same tool at the comps.

Think the local practice ice and I susepct one tool will dominate....because the conditions are so similar.

I know Jon, I have a good feel for how he climbs and what he has done. I'd climb with him anytime. Even if he uses a Grivel tool that isn't my choice. Grivel is Steve House's choice how ever...and again Steve has a choice as well. My bet is BD would pay House more than Grivel does given the chance. But it aint always about money is it? I don't care what Jon/Steve/Ueli or Jack thinks is the best ice tool or the worse. But I respect his opinion based on their experience.


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By Kirby1013
From Baltimore Maryland
Dec 20, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Dane, thank you for writing down all this information down. I really was just trying to be funny. You made alot of good points and I will remember them next time I disagree with someone, and not just about ice tools. I was very narrow minded after I had a pair of X Dreams in my hands at the end of last season. I've toned it down a little since then. Now I just say take a lap with one kind of tool in one hand and other kind in the other. See which one you like better. I feel if you're in the market for new ice tools you should try as many tools as you can get your hands on. There's an ice tool out there for everyone. I started writing on this thread to find another tool besides the X Dream.

I understand we all have opinions. I mean heck, what do I know! I just starting leading 4s safely. By safely I mean I'm not at the topout debating on whether to fire a screw in because I'm so pumped. Funny how when it all comes together leading steep ice is kinda anticlimactic. Therefore what's my opinion worth anyway? Really I was making a joke. I didn't want to offend.

Now if I could only explain to you the math pertaining to buying that jacket way back when we would really be on the same page


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