2014 Staff Picks
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Jan 3, 2015 at 9:14 am #2161155AnonymousInactive
"watch your compass/lanyard rig in strong wind, it can whip up around and corner poke you in the eye."
So i have this great idea for a plot for A Christmas Story 3… (funny enough, i didn't know there was a 2 until just now, i checked for some reason).Jan 3, 2015 at 9:26 am #2161159
Those uiaa ratings are there for a reason
An ice axes used for self belay and arrest should be able to do so consistently without breaking
This means you should pick any one out of a bin and have full confidence that it would withstand its rating
You need to do all of what is shown in this video repeatedly over and over again … And involving some speed as well as theres been plenty of incidents where folks slipped, had a delayed reaction and couldnt self arrest at velocity … An axe needs to survive this
Reputable climbing companies will do random testing of samples for quality control on any climbing gear
Now if you should choose a carbon fiber walking stick or ski poles for this purpose thats entirely up to you
However i would NOT suggest that its suitable for self arrest or self belay in an article
Thats like me buying a hemp rope at walmart thats rated for 500 lbs and saying its fine for top rope climbing on
Its not even though you might be able to get away with it
Heres a broken carbon fiber non uiaa "ice axe"
A B rated axe meant for walking, glacier travel and non technical use holds at its rating 200kg (2 KN) pick and shaft … Consistently
Theres a reason why life dependant safety gear is rated and tested for quality control these days
The camp corsa weights 3 oz more but is a certified UIAA B rated axe made by a reputable climbing company
What folks use is their own choice (unless yr part of a team) … But its a good question to ask if carrying a 4.5 oz single use cabon fiber "ice tool" with unknown quality control procedures and is unrated, vs a 7.5 oz rated axe thats much cheaper and can be uses for more purposes … Is an example of "stupid light"
;)Jan 3, 2015 at 1:17 pm #2161228
You are right, but you are also completely wrong in this context.
What Doug chose as one of his picks is the Suluk titanium/CF hill walking axe. It has been tested using the UIAA protcols and the test results have been published (in my review). Yes, it has limited strength and does not meet the full UIAA requirements for an ice climbing tool, but the user can form his own judgement as to its suitability for what use he wants to make of it (like hill walking). I would point out that there is no UIAA specification for a 'hill walking axe', which is a pity.
The picture you show is of a ULA Helix Potty Trowel, which is a totally different thing made by a totally different company. ULA very carefully avoid any suggestion that it is an ice axe, and from memory they even state that it is not. This too is mentioned in my review. The Potty Trowel does not have any published performance specifications.
To use a picture of a broken Potty Trowel to criticise a Suluk hill walking axe is both very poor form and completely irrelevant. Sorry to be so harsh, but.
CheersJan 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm #2161243
B rated axes are meant for self arrest, glacier travel, and scrambling/moderate mountaineering
T rated are meant for technical terrain
To put it simply IMO if you need to self arrest, then theres probably some injury thats a consequence of a failure
What quality control procedures does suluk use to insure that each ice tool meets its own "rating"
Climbing companies usually perform random testing or pull test to 50%+ of the load for climbing gear or both …
Earlier this year i met a fairly inexperienced climbing group that uses homemade and sewn unrated slings … They swore it was fine even though the webbing wasnt climbing rated … And they use an X single stitch pattern with god knows what thread
It may "work" for their application but its not something id ever recommend or climb on
Theres a reason why this gear is rated …
Its up to the individual if they want to save 3 oz and spend an extra 70$ or so for something thats unrated and not recommended where theres something at stake
;)Jan 3, 2015 at 6:01 pm #2161287
The uppers are still fine.
I walk on forest trail and a bit of concrete sidewalk with these everyday. 3 miles Lugs wear off in short order. Then the midsole collapses. I don't find that a Vibram sole has added any benefit at all to NB shoes. These last less long.
Once the lugs wear off then the sole readies itself to delaminate. You can just make out the circular area in the upper right wear it will bubble. These are my third pair of these and all have done the same things. The little diamond shaped edge cleats are great for holding onto single blades of grass which in itself is a bit of an annoyance.Jan 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm #2161289John S.BPL Member
Concrete will wear out any shoe in short time.Jan 3, 2015 at 6:33 pm #2161291
The point is that the Vibram soles last less long than other NB soles that I have worn. The Vibram soles do wear the same from pair to pair. I'm sure we are being charged a premium for that Vibram tag. I am also sure that it is not worth it.Jan 3, 2015 at 7:13 pm #2161303
Well, I dunno. I see what you mean, but neither Sue nor I have had that sort of thing happen to our Leadvilles – or to other NB joggers either. We just don't see that sort of abrasion.
That makes me wonder whether the wearing out you are experiencing is due to something other than the soles themselves. Concrete surface, walking action, weight – I dunno. All very strange.
CheersJan 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm #2161308
> B rated axes are meant for self arrest, glacier travel, and scrambling/moderate
> T rated are meant for technical terrain
And what rating does the UIAA have for simple hill walking? NONE.
Does the UIAA own the name 'ice axe'? NO
Are there any legal requirements in the USA for something to have a UIAA B/T rating before it can be called an 'ice axe'? NO. (At least as far as I know.)
Have there ever been ice axes sold without a UIAA rating? YES, tens of thousands of them were sold and used all around the world, before the UIAA rating ever existed (ie before 1978). Are you saying none of them can be called 'ice axes'? Actually, the UIAA rating has been superceded these days by a CEN rating.
Does this mean we are not allowed to go hill walking, or not allowed to use something a step up from a CF trekking pole as an aid while hill walking? And precisely who is going to 'allow' us anyhow? Is such thinking a sign of a police state?
You are confusing ONE certification system (yes, there are others) with ownership of the label 'ice axe'. Well, I don't buy that.
And I definitely do NOT buy using a picture of a broken Potty Trowel to criticise a Suluk axe. That may have been accidental, but it is still wrong.
Nor would I countenance using a picture of a flattened cheapie pop-up tent to criticise a quality mountain tent just because it is made of the same materials. Same arguement.
It's a free world (still, mostly). If I or Doug want to call the Suluk Ti/CF thing we have an 'ice axe', there are NO laws to say we cannot. So I do. What matters is HOW I use it.
CheersJan 3, 2015 at 8:27 pm #2161312
The problem isnt the use as a "walking stick"
Its with the self arrest … Which means that you are using on a slope with snow, perhaps hard packed icy snow (you might find that out after you choose to take your new UL tool) …
If you need to self arrest theres a very good chance that theres nasty boulders, rocks, rivers, cliffs below you …
Sure one can use those old ice axes from the old days …. One can also go climbing on those old hemp or goldline ropes … No one does that anymore
The other thing to remeber is that while there was and still is some unrated gear that folks use … Those tend to be overbuilt
This "ice tool" is not something that can be considered an unrated "bomber" piece of gear with known quality control from a reputable climbing company
If you dont need to self arrest and just need something for balance, a stick/pole will work just fine … Snowshoers use em all the time
Modern climbing gear that is tested and rated has greatly reduced gear failure
One can use what one wants thats your call
But perhaps BPL should put a disclaimer about it not being suitable where life or limb (per the manufacturer) is at stake when one states
It self-arrests and self-belays with conviction
You are after all self arresting to stop yourself from sliding down the hill, often on the way to hitting or falling off something
Again for 3 oz more and 70$ less you get something thats tried tested and true by a reputable climbing company
;)Jan 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm #2161313
"But perhaps BPL should put a disclaimer about it not being suitable where life or limb (per the manufacturer) is at stake when one states
It self-arrests and self-belays with conviction"
+1 for Eric… perfectly reasonable…
but… ho… Roger will no doubt even argue against that…
me thinks Roger has 'gota win'itis…
BillyJan 3, 2015 at 8:43 pm #2161315
> "But perhaps BPL should put a disclaimer about it not being suitable where life or
> limb (per the manufacturer) is at stake when one states
> It self-arrests and self-belays with conviction"
Doug DOES say 'NON-technical …' so maybe we are already there?
> me thinks Roger has 'gota win'itis…
Nah, couldn't be bothered. Just don't like someone else telling me I cannot use my judgement as to what gear I carry. Makes me snarky!
The next axe up is +3 oz, and this IS Backpacking LIGHT. I think both Doug and I see this as being the perfect intermediate stage between a CF trekking pole and a somewhat heavier CEN-rated ice axe, for NON technical walks.
Hey, if I want to go climbing icy flagpoles, I sure would not be using one of these!
CheersJan 3, 2015 at 8:43 pm #2161316
Theres no "winning" or "losing" !!!
Folks including myself use gear in ways that manufacturers dont recommend … I use petzl devices as simulclimbing protection for example, totally not endorsed be them
The problem is that BPL appeals to a non-tehnical (climbing) audience that might be fairly new
The first thought i got when reading the review was an endorsement for such a device for self arrest and belays …. Without explaining the risks or that the manufacturer basically doesnt recommend it if theres anything at stake
Folks use what they want, thats their call
However if i said to the public, especially new climbers "hey this rope sold at home depot is rated to 500 kg, and i use it just fine to haul folks up climbs" …
Well someone better call me out on that
Edit … Just for entertainment the home depot "climbing rope" rated for 330 lbs !!!
No one could get the wrong idea from the pics … NahhhJan 3, 2015 at 9:26 pm #2161329
> No one could get the wrong idea from the pics … Nahhh
"Oh, they are just pretty pics. We never said you should use this rope for that …"
Sigh. With you there. (And it's not even nylon!)
CheersJan 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm #2161346Monty MontanaBPL Member
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Interesting discussion on an interesting piece of gear; I remember the potty trowel offered by ULA and greatly coveted it, but as it was pricy I kept putting it off until – oh, woe – it was removed from their offerings because the head would sometimes break off, even when digging a cat hole (the advertised use). This is a classic example where my conservative pecuniary leanings perchance saved me from certain misadventure.
Still coveting something lighter than my 1 lb 10 oz Laprade Desmaison that accompanied me faithfully for decades, I finally acquired a 9.5 oz, 70 cm Camp Corsa from an REI closeout sale for only $45. Good things come to those who wait! And it's just the ticket. Did I use the Laprade, with it's huge and heavy adz and pick, to its full potential? No. I,m just crossing snow fields, not climbing steep ice fields, so it was overkill. And besides, I had previously added something else to my quiver.
A few years back I began using instep crampons for a better purchase on steep snow, and since I hike in trail runners (Saucony Exodus…Roger, you should check these out, similar to NB 1210) steep snow is precluded without aid. Having tried – and failed – using Yak Tracks, I decided to give instep crampons a try. The first pair were a 4 point CroMo set that weighed over 9 oz. Kind of heavy I decided, so I kept looking until I came across a 7 oz, 6 point, aluminum set from Camp. Lighter, better harness and more stability.
Now for the piece de resistance as stated in the literature accompanying Camp's Ramponcino 6 Punte Ligh: "The crampons of the 'Non Slip' line are designed for walking on snow or slippery areas. They are not suitable for mountaineering use." The same would apply to the above "ice ax" being discussed. The alu crampons paired with the CF ice ax would be perfectly suitable and adequately light for moving across snow fields in a safe manner but neither were ever intended for ice work or technical mountaineering. Now I have another thing to start saving my pennies for…oh, God, will it ever end!Jan 4, 2015 at 12:37 am #2161351
I had a look at the Saucony Xodus. Yes, they look nice, BUT 'width medium' – which usually means a D fitting. That would be pain and suffering for me: I'm a 4E. It seems Saucony are too small to be able to afford to make anything more than the one width – which I know is usually a D. Most of the smaller brands are in the same boat.
> Having tried – and failed – using Yak Tracks,
Thanks for that feedback. I did hesitate over them myself (and eventually did not).
> The alu crampons paired with the CF ice ax would be perfectly suitable and adequately
> light for moving across snow fields in a safe manner but neither were ever intended
> for ice work or technical mountaineering.
Exactly. Just that little bit extra security, but not a huge cost in weight.
CheersJan 4, 2015 at 4:12 am #2161358Donna CBPL Member
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
I'm disgusted. Why are there no women on the staff? This site is beginning to turn into Outside Magazine. This is 2015 for crying out loud. Get some women on the team and have them do some gear reviews as well. Would it even hurt if they reviewed some gear for women??? Sheesh. Ryan, shame on you.Jan 4, 2015 at 4:49 am #2161360
I hear you Donna. I am always surprised as to who is considered staff. Does not seem to be anyone who take care of say to day stuff
anymore. I miss Addie.
No offense but where has Doug been? His BPL bio is from '07. Still trekking systems editor?
Eric has one post, but has something to do with the school that we almost never hear about.
Kevin, had no idea he was considered staff. What is his position?
Roger, we get his opinion whether wanted or not.
No Darin Banner or Mike Martin?
What happened between BPL and Mike Clelland? Skurka use to be around much more. Remember the Great Western Loop podcasts?Jan 4, 2015 at 8:59 am #2161404Donna CBPL Member
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
Ya know…there are lots of women hikers out there who are pretty accomplished and have some great blogs. It couldn't hurt to ask a few to give their input on gear. It doesn't have to be women-specific, either. But to know that it works for a woman in conditions that most will encounter is good feedback. I think it even would help the guys in deciding for themselves and for their wives/daughters/SO/ you name it.Jan 4, 2015 at 9:50 am #2161412
Of all the complaints you can come up with, no women on the staff is it? If there are no women on the staff, then do you just want them to make them up? Geez. There have been women's picks before and there probably will again. Kristin and Addie both had picks before when they were "staff". If you can find women to work for RJ for peanuts then maybe you can get some female staff…
It is like you are trying to find something to complain about.Jan 4, 2015 at 10:32 am #2161416
"It is like you are trying to find something to complain about."
I think she made a reasonable comment and I appreciate her point of view as I am a guy and seldom think or those things. To me it seems that is is YOU who are trying to find something to complain about, Michael…
BillyJan 4, 2015 at 10:47 am #2161424
Well Billy, you'd be wrong.
There have been women on staff, but this field is dominated by men. Addie left because she had kids. It is probably hard to keep women on the staff when RJ can't(won't) afford anything…
As she pointed out, there are also plenty of blogs out there already.Jan 4, 2015 at 10:51 am #2161425
"There have been women on staff, but this field is dominated by men. Addie left because she had kids. It is probably hard to keep women on the staff when RJ can't(won't) afford anything…
As she pointed out, there are also plenty of blogs out there already."
None of that negates her comment. Why can't you just accept her comment?
No instead you attached her as just trying to find something to complain about.
And for the record… It is YOU who are WRONG, Michael :) (just kidding, of course)
billyJan 4, 2015 at 11:08 am #2161430
You know what. I think she has a point now that I re-read her post. I initially took it as a complaint that we didn't have women staff picks. Taken as complaint about women writers when a decent number of subs on here are women….
I know we have had a number of women authored articles in the past. But maybe considering the number of women hikers and women on BPL, more women authored articles would be good. I probably don't notice since most of the articles I ignore. I come for the forums and there are tons of women posting so maybe I'm just not paying attention. That coupled with the fact that most of the hiking blogs I read and follow are females, I get plenty of female viewpoints.Jan 4, 2015 at 11:15 am #2161431Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
The point being made is this –
MATCH YOUR GEAR TO THE TRIP AND YOUR SKILL LEVEL.
Err on whichever side of caution (or pack weight) makes you the most comfortable, but don't blame someone else if you choose wrong. The final responsibility is yours alone.
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