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 Post subject: What ice toolsor axe do you use?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:08 pm
Posts: 28
Location: Bend, OR
So I'm a bum, I gots no money but when I do I spend it on my toys. I rock climb and I snowboard, the two passions in my life. So I figured why not combine the two of them. I was wondering what ice tool folks are swingin out there. I have been looking at the BD venom since it seems to be a cross between a mountaineering axe and a technical ice tool. Any other suggestions?
Also I can't wait for a soft snowboard boot that takes step in crampons!
-rouge


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:45 pm
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Location: Reno
I use the C.A.M.P. Alpax... lightweight, strudy as hell, just enough bend in the shaft to be versatile, and they come in varying sizes.

I'm also trying to get my hands on a set of C.A.M.P Divaxes... they're designed for women, but that just means they're super light... similar design to the Alpax.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:04 am
Posts: 80
either charlet moser aztars
or a
cut down (45 cm) grivel pamir


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 10:30 am
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Location: Mendham, NJ
I use a Black Diamond Raven (65cm) for self arrest...although ive been told to go shorter....

Once the cash becomes availble, i wanna get Quarks. They fit my hand better than the BD Vipers.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:46 am
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I think technical axes with inverted picks (Quarks, Aztars etc...) are designed for climbing on steep ice or snow or mixed stuff but not great for self arrest (pick easily flicks out of snow when trying to self arrest). A safer option for self arrest is a traditional axe with a curved pick - which are also fine on steep snow but not great on water ice.

Unless you are climbing very technical stuff (unlikely with a snowboard on your back) I think an axe with an inverted pick is not a good choice.

I'm using a Grivel Evolution axe for both summer mountaineering and snowboarding - it's light and has a T rated shaft so fine for belaying and for using as a deadman.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:45 pm
Posts: 158
Location: Reno
iw wrote:
I think technical axes with inverted picks (Quarks, Aztars etc...) are designed for climbing on steep ice or snow or mixed stuff but not great for self arrest (pick easily flicks out of snow when trying to self arrest). A safer option for self arrest is a traditional axe with a curved pick - which are also fine on steep snow but not great on water ice.

Unless you are climbing very technical stuff (unlikely with a snowboard on your back) I think an axe with an inverted pick is not a good choice.

I'm using a Grivel Evolution axe for both summer mountaineering and snowboarding - it's light and has a T rated shaft so fine for belaying and for using as a deadman.


Not necessarily true... it seems to be the most common opinion that traditional-curve picks are the best for self-arrest, but it really depends on what type of terrain you're talking about.

On low-angle glaciers, no-doubt a standard piolet is the best option, because you're typically trying to hold a lot of weight (partners on the rope, large packs, etc..). However, on high-angle terrain (a lot of the stuff we go after in spring or hig-mountain conditions), the situation should be totally different:

1. It's often safer to be soloing than roped up... in which case, you'd just better not fall
2. above 35 degrees or so, in firm conditions, good luck self-arresting... better to have a reverse-curve pick and a leash, so you can catch yourself before you start moving... or you can have enough points in to keep from falling..
3. I wouldn't want to try to use a piolet as part of a self-arrest, when I'm boarding... the adze is a recipe for disaster. I prefer to use a revers-curve pick, with a hammer on the other side, along with the edges on my board... way more options for holding the head of the axe, and less concern about the adze killing me.

Zach

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:09 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 1:43 pm
Posts: 439
Location: Western Washington
[
3. I wouldn't want to try to use a piolet as part of a self-arrest, when I'm boarding... the adze is a recipe for disaster. I prefer to use a revers-curve pick, with a hammer on the other side, along with the edges on my board... way more options for holding the head of the axe, and less concern about the adze killing me.

Zach[/quote] I second Zach on this. If you have ever self-arrested on a board the extra points to puncture you are a consideration. You've got enough to worry about as you accelarate downhill! Ask me, I know!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:46 am
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2. above 35 degrees or so, in firm conditions, good luck self-arresting... better to have a reverse-curve pick and a leash, so you can catch yourself before you start moving... or you can have enough points in to keep from falling..


- I don't understand your thinking here. I don't think a reverse pick is going to stop you any better than a normal pick, in fact I think there would be a tendency for it to catch and flick out of the snow. Most people use a normal ice axe for classic summer mountaineering tours (with slopes <45).

I agree with the adze and maybe it's safer to have a hammer when doing a self arrest, but on the other hand it's nice to have normal adze to cut steps or chop out belay stances.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:45 pm
Posts: 158
Location: Reno
right... and, I chuckle when I see people using a piolet in some of these conditions.

I see folks chugging up avalanche gulche on Shasta, on bullet-proof, pre-dawn snow, with a piolet... makes me chuckle. In the 3 times I've been on Shasta, I've seen or heard of 1 person each time that went rocketing down that route.... it's relatively low angle.

I like to have at least 1 tool with a reverse curve and a leash, so I can slam it in real quick, when I feel off-balance, or just in the first moments of a fall... much more instinctive to swing an axe than to try to get into the self-arrest position.

I didn't always have this opinion... reading Mark Twight's "Extreme Alpinism" kind of changed my mind... that and talking to more experienced snowboard mountaineers.

Zach

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:46 am
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Zach - I can't see any reference in Twights book regarding the merits of classic versus curved picks for self arrest. I am yet to be convinced that a reverse pick is better than a classic pick for self arrest.

It's important to go with what you feel comfortable with - and if that's a reverse pick then fine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:56 pm
Posts: 470
Location: Meyers, CA
Seems to me there are two different points here.

On steeper stuff with hard snow more of a modern ice tool might be best. This is basically a no falls zone, so self arrest is sorta pointless.

On lower angle and certainly glacier travel a traditional axe (and seems to me most importantly a shaft that can penetrate) is the best.

Maybe Avi Gulch (gaper gulch) is somewhere between the two, but I would put it more in the mellow category. With decent technique and one light traditional mountaineering ax folks shouldn't be falling there. But anyone who has seen the circus at Helen Lake on a weekend knows that many folks headed up that route ain't up for it.


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