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Modifying Ice Axes for Kids (Tools for Slabby to Vertical Ice)


Original Post
coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

I'm curious about everyones experiences with modifying ice axes for kids for vertical ice. Thanks for the information and pictures are always great to see.

iceman777 · · Colorado Springs · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 60

Go find them a pair of used quasar compacts , remove the hammers . Short , good enough grip and they swing ok . He'll I have a pair that I still climb with just for old times sake . And to show the so called experts ( ex-spurts!) that its not the tool just the operator !

If they have enough upper arm strength then go with Grivel monsters .

Or a full sized ice tool , you may have to remove the head weights if the tool in question
Comes with them . One or two tools come to mind for this the new style quark or the X all mountain . Both about comparable in weight . With the added bonus that they won't out grow them and can progress with a familiar tool .

Myself I'm not convinced that kids ice climbing is a good idea . At least until there at the age where they can understand this ain't the gym , this ain't sport or trad climbing but on that note I've seen a lot of grown people who I think have no business climbing ice ether so meh . That's ur call pard .

GhaMby Eagan · · Heaven · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 385

Whats the worst thing that can happen if the kid is wearing a helmet??? I can't imagine anything worse than a few dozen stitches, something a lot of kids used to get. . .

I have seen people put tennis balls on the adze side to keep from taking the adze in the face.

iceman777 · · Colorado Springs · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 60
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Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Dont have a pic handy , but cut down the handle of an old terrydactyl ice tool to make it a small 'hooking tool for kids. Added some one inch webbing for a wrist sling. It works fine. Also the Omega Pacific Bulldog tools from several years ago came in very short lengths(like 40 or 45 cm?) and were perfect kid tools once rigged with a wrist sling. Also any old tool that is an axe, with an adze, MUST have a tennis ball duct taped over the adze to keep that sharp edge from making head contact with the kids. Of course, a helmet on their heads. Kids seem to place tools right in front of their faces alot to start. Slabs and pocketed vertical are best ways to start them off for sure.
Pic included breaks most of the rules, but it worked that day. Lauren had a great time on first day climbing at age 8, in her shirt sleeves rolled up, 50 degree meltdown day, no helmet, long tools, and vertical headwall 25 ft. high.

Lauren Danforth on her first great ice day.
BWIce · · Ithaca, NY · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 70

Grivel makes a kid friendly tool, the Alp Monster. It comes in 38cm.

moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/…;ad_id=GooglePlusBox&adtype=pla&gclid=CM6EqJeZjrwCFclQOgodNgQA9g

robrobrobrob · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 10

http://www.mountaingear.com/webstore/Gear/Climbing/Ice-tools/Grivel/Lil-Monster-Ice-Tool/_/R-111861P.htm

I thought the alp monsters were third tools and the lil monsters were kids tools. Pretty much anything small will work, my kids have even swung most of my axes at one time or another. Bonus, the lil monsters are $10 cheaper per tool.

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Yeah, have seen those 'lil monsters, but they lack any weight at all IF you want your kid to learn to swing a pic into the ice at all. Just work for hooking pretty much for a rookie. Takes a skill to punch one into hard ice with any force. Cheap, but not quite for under 11 yrs old I'd say.

Jeff J · · Bozeman · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 110
Woodchuck ATC wrote:Yeah, have seen those 'lil monsters, but they lack any weight at all IF you want your kid to learn to swing a pic into the ice at all. Just work for hooking pretty much for a rookie. Takes a skill to punch one into hard ice with any force. Cheap, but not quite for under 11 yrs old I'd say.
What about drilling and installing a set of Nomic pick weights to assist?
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

What about buying a couple of old school coonyard ice hammers?

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

Anything new on making tools for kids?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

I would recommend NOT shortening "full size" tools. I shortened the handles on some old BD X-15s and they never worked right afterwards. Turned out that a shorter handle drastically changed the angle that the pick is loaded at. The result was that it would pull the pick straight out of even bomber placements.

Check out the Venoms this guy just posted (link below). If I were you I'd be all over those; can't go wrong for the price.

mountainproject.com/v/huge-…

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

How bout a set of Hummingbirds?

Oscar Fors · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

My daughter started climbing ice last year at age 7; I climbed next to her and helped her hook the tools. We both had a great time.

This year I've cut a pair of old Fusions, reduced the weight in the head and taken about 1/2" off the pick length. Picture says it all.

I removed all old paint with a soft wheel on a grider and added about 10 layers of paint to make it look the way she wanted it. These things seem to matter when you're 8... Then I dipped the end in "rubber dip paint" for a handle.

Tool now weights about 480g each which still feels a little heavy. If she likes ice climbing this year again I may do something lighter for next year.

Kids ice tool from Black Diamond Fusion
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

Oscar, that's awesome!

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

Any updates on making kid tools?

Anyone have a pair of old fusions they want to sell for cheap? My son would be extremely happy.

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

these look pretty sweet as kid tools

backcountry.com/petzl-sumte…

Zac St. Jules · · New Hampshire · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 1,133

The 43cm sumtecs look like the best bet without having to modify.

T-Bob · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 50

I second the vote for the little Sumtec. I was able to get one on sale last year and my 3 year old loves it. He's tried a little dry-tooling and wants to get on ice this winter. I'm going to put some small metal cleats in his winter boots and we're going to play around on the creek with his axe and "crampons".

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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