B1 Intermediate US 185 Folder Collection
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If you want to know how to pick the best ice climbing axe?
Then keep watching!
But before I answer that question
if you are new to alpine climbing
or ice climbing, or maybe you have been climbing for a few years
remember to subscribe to our channel
to recieve more videos about gear advice
and alpine and ice climbing around Europe.
So, a frew weeks ago I did a comparison between the mountaineering axe
and the technical ice climbing axe
but this time I will try to look at what are the actual details around
the technical ice climbing axe
and how do you select and pick out the best one for you.
So, the four different different ice climbing axes we are going to look at that is
the Grivel Tech Machine
The Petzl Nomic
The Black Diamond Fuel
and the Petzl Quark (2018).
But let's take a look at the different features that we will be looking at.
(Curvature, handle, modularity, spike and pick)
(Strength)
First of all, ice climbing axes are rated according to their strength.
They can either be B-rated or T-rated
based on tests on their shaft and their pick.
A B-rated (Basic) axe would be tested against 280 kg of force
while a T-rated (Technical) would be tested against 400 kg.
So, why does this even matter?
Well, it matters because when you are doing hard Ice
and you repeatedly bang you ice axe against the ice
this could eventually break it, if it is not strong enough.
And actually if you are doing mixed climbing as well
where you have to use rock
and you have to torque the ice climbing axe
or you have to
to pull on rock with the axe
it could eventually break as well.
(Curvature)
So, the second thing you have to notice about ice climbing axes
is the curvature of the shaft.
This is also what you should refer to as the "Aggressiveness".
The right amount of aggressiveness
helps on getting bite into the ice
and that's why it is really important that you get
the right curvature of the shaft.
To less curvature means that the ice axe
potentially could pop out of the ice
and you would take a fall.
And too much would actually mean that
you can't get the right angle for penetrating the ice.
So, what you obviously want is the right amount of curvature.
So, I've brought four different technical ice climbing axes to show.
And they all have the right amount of curvature.
So, the third thing you need to look for that is the teeth and the blade itself.
So, the technical ice climbing axe has a very different blade
than the traditional mountaineering axe.
As you can see the blade is much sharper
and the teeth are much more aggressive and sharp as well.
And this is for penetrating the ice more easily.
However, some of the technical ice climbing axes
actually have a bit of a different design than others.
So the Black Diamond Fuel has a more sharper and narrow pick
than the others
which is insanely awesome for penetrating ice.
Where as you can see on the Grivel Tech Machine
and the Petzl Nomic that the design is a bit different.
This is good for mixed ground, where you have to climb on rock as well
but still penetrate ice quite easily.
And speaking of blades, you need to keep them sharp.
With a blunt blade you won't be able to penetrate the ice efficiently
and that will just make a very poor ice climbing experience
So, there a bit of maintenance when handling ice axes.
I will be doing a vlog on a later time regarding
how you actually maintain your ice axes
and how you keep the pick sharp.
But if you have some tips of your own leave a comment below.
So, one feature that is often overlooked
that's the eye at the top of the shaft.
This is for placing carabiners, so you can use the axe as a deadman anchor
buy burying it in the snow.
But one thing I also use the eye for
that is to stash my ice axe on an ice clipper on my climbing harness
when I need both hands.
So, having a big eye like the Grivel Tech Machine
is definitely something that would help.
And as you can see on the Petzl Nomic and the Petzl Quark (2018)
the eye is much smaller
making it a bit harder to clip it on your climbing harness
or getting a carabiner through.
Most ice axes are modular built
meaning that you can actually switch different parts if you want to.
Like the Grivel Tech Machine, where you can get different blades
for mixed climbing or dedicated ice climbing.
or you can add a hammer or and adze.
Or, with the Petzl Nomic, where you can actually add some weights
to get some more swing.
On mixed terrain, where you need to place a 'Bulldog' in an icy crack
or in frozen turf.
And then a hammer would be really efficient.
Or, if you have to dig out some space to pitch a tent
then the adze help you doing that.
But if you are looking for dedicated ice climbing axes
a hammer and an adze are less important.
So, another thing when choosing the best ice climbing axe
that is to look at the handle itself.
You need to consider that you are climbing in thick gloves
and you need a handle that can suit that.
On some of the ice climbing axes
like the Black Diamond Fuel
you can actually adjust the handle
by setting in some small rings.
Something that I really, really like about that design.
As oppose to the Grivel Tech Machine that you can't adjust at all.
Something that is pretty important for alpine climbing
that is the spike at the bottom
Some ice climbing axes have these.
Others don't.
But what you use this feature for
is when you are hiking in
or you are crossing a glacier
you can use the ice climbing axe as a kind of a trekking pole.
to help you keep your balance.
So, I guess whether you want to prioritize this
is something that relies on
whether you are doing dedicated ice climbing
or you might see yourself doing some alpine climbing too.
If you are new to ice climbing
I would definitely recommend that
you climb with leashes.
A leash is an elastric string
that attaches the ice climbing axe to your climbing harness
meaning that should you take a fall or you drop you ice axe
it is not lost.
And even though I become more experienced, I must admit
that I still use leashes at some points of times.
Especially on multi-pitch ice climbing, where I don't want to loose my ice axes.
You attach the leashes to the ice climbing axe
on the spike at the bottom, where there usually is an eye for that.
But as you can see on the Petzl Nomic this kinda lacks
there is a hole in the handle itself
which I really don't understand why they put there
because it will just be in the way for your hand.
But as you can see on, both for the Petzl Quark (2018), the Grivel Tech Machine
and the Black Diamond Fuel there is plenty of room for that.
So I really hope that these tips
have helped you out on deciding
which is the best ice climbing axe for you.
And if not...
Leave a comment below with your questions
and let's answer them together.
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How to choose the RIGHT and best ice axe or ice tool (2019) | Climbing Vlog Ep. 14

185 Folder Collection
Jane Chang published on January 8, 2019
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