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DMM apex tools
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Aug 10, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: turtle flats area in Alaska
Some recent posts on this forum brought me to the sets of ice tools/axes that DMM offers. I was looking at the Apex brand specifically. Are these tools on par with petzls tools and black diamonds? Anybody who has owned a pair tell us what some of the pros and cons to the tools are? The Apex has peaked my interest for purchase. Are they worth purchasing over other tools like the Nomics? And are they a fair price ($165)? Thanks so much! I'll add photos when I'm off my mobile app.
Rock Climbing Photo: DMM Apex
DMM Apex
Hayden Webster
From Estes park
Joined May 11, 2016
25 points
Aug 11, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Euphorie M8
save yourself some BS and get some X-Dreams ! Theriault
From Quebec, Quebec
Joined Apr 13, 2011
321 points
Aug 11, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: The dangler
I have the Apex's and I love them. They aren't my only set of tools, but they are definitely on par with Petzl and I think they are better than my BD's. They have a similar curvature to the Petzl Ergo, but without the set back grip. They climb very well and have a really nice natural swing, unlike my BD Fusions. If you are going to be climbing mostly ice, they aren't going to hold you back that's for sure. They aren't a dedicated mixed tool, but I have climbed mixed with them and they still work well.

As far as build quality goes, they are DMM. They are some of the best put together tools I have had. Honestly, at $165 a tool, I would buy them and I would buy a set of X-Dreams, too, later on. They both have their place.
Andrewww
From Concord, NH
Joined Mar 19, 2014
542 points
Aug 11, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Personal photo
They're fine tools, especially at the price. Only thing to dislike is that they're pretty heavy compared to other tools in their class. And you'll have to judge the handles for your own needs - the Apex's straight shaft & spike are better for snow slogging than the Nomic, but it's got a less comfortable grip than the Nomic for vertical ice. The DMM Switch partly addresses this (the grip part).

But of course, Dane describes the decision process better than anyone else can. coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/...
Emmett Lyman
From Somerville, MA
Joined Feb 7, 2011
168 points
Aug 11, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: wiped
i dont have the apex tools, but i do have the switches which are fairly similar in shape to the nomics. they are great tools. dmm is known for their great manufacturing. im sure you will find similar durability with the apex.

theres been at least one comment on the weight of the tools. i definitely agree that these tools are heavy. i climbed with the pick weights on and it was just fine for ice and dry tooling. just get stronger if you think they are too heavy. i feel like they stick better than the BD vipers i have, due to the weight. also, i dont end up swinging as hard with these tools as i do with the vipers, so maybe that helps me not notice they are heavier as it saves energy.

not sure how well the apex dry tool, but the switches are awesome. you can really REALLY crank on them with no concerns or worries.
Jake wander
Joined Aug 11, 2014
168 points
Aug 11, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Jack on Corner Crack
At $165, they're $150-$200 less than a pair of nomics (from what I see nomics are usually 240 each or so). So they do have price point working in their favor, that's for sure. I bought my pair for 180 each and consider them worth that price. Typical of DMM, the construction is extremely solid as Jake said. The only thing I can think of manufacturing wise is there is some over-molding where the machine didn't cut closely enough on my grips (or something like that; I don't know their manufacturing process of course). Does it get in the way? No, not at all and I could definitely take a razor to it if so inclined. That's a nit-pic.

Pros:

durability-I fully expect these tools to last me the next ten years of WI

clearance- Like most modern leashless tools, the radically curved shaft helps in pulling over bulges immensely and keeps your hands of the snow when shooting up lower angle gullies. This is by no means a design that other companies haven't been utilizing themselves for years, if course.

handle- Unlike the nomic, BD fuel, Grivel tech machine, etc., the DMM apex seems to match the shaft bend but feature a handle much more like a quark than a nomic. This is a pro in terms of snow plunging for bigger objectives but that brings us to...

Ratings- you can tether yourself in an hang off any of the clip in points on these tools, something all the competitors can't boast about.

Cons:

weight-these suckers are kind of heavy in hand. Due to their durability, matched with the shafts of mine taped in their entirety (DMM gives you wrenches and enough tape to wrap both shapes 1.5 times or so which is cool) and the pick weights, they aren't the lightest pair you can haul up a mountain. Compared to, say, the Cassin x-alls, you really can tell a difference. These tools are very good at climbing thick, hard ice where having their thicker pick doesn't matter so much (you're going to displace a bunch of ice anyways) and having the extra weight to swing can save you multiple swings. In that sense, they're probably lighter (per swing) than something like the x-all. My friend owns a pair of those and, while the DMM's take some getting accustomed to, he raved about their ability to let the weight do all the work.

handle- It really isn't all that comfortable compared to the more ergonomic tool handles of the models stated above. If I hang them from a board or string them up they are quite uncomfortable to do pull-ups off of. For that reason I wouldn't be surprised if nobody does any hard mixed with them but I supposed DMM could argue the Switch is for that. And you can get the switch, the nomic equivalent basically, for about the same price as a nomic anyways. I've never seen a broken DMM tool while I've seen some nomic handles that are trashed (they're also much more popular so that's probably why I've seen more broken ones).

Picks- They are on the thicker side. Durability is they're but they're no x-all for thin ice (but what is?). I've smashed right into rocks climbing thin ice and AI without messing up the tip too much, something that would surely have play-doh'd a cassin pick. On the other hand, the picks are $55 or so and hard to come by by my experience in the states. Cassin picks go for half of that or so.

Sorry for the novel but, hey, maybe that's what you wanted. In summary: I like them a lot. For easier WI (5 or so), AI, and if you're only gonna have one tool, I'd go with the really durable Apex. The extra weight is noticeable but sometimes helpful and, lets face it, every climb is just training for your next one so carrying up the extra weight isn't necessarily a bad thing. These aren't your overhanging testpiece mixed route tools but they hold their own in every other realm I get into (not a glacier guy myself-there aren't any in the Midwest).

Hope some of this helped and I didn't repeat too much.
Jack C.
From back of my truck, Utah current
Joined Mar 28, 2013
219 points
Aug 11, 2016
Climbed on um. Not a performance tool. Climb similar to the quark or viper. Better on ice WI4 and under Max Forbes
From Burlington, VT
Joined Jan 6, 2014
94 points


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