Colin Haley photo of Bjørn-Eivind Årtun on their new route, Dracula, Mt Foraker, June 2010.
"The old Nomic and a pair of C-T hammers"
Up front...the old Nomic is every bit the equal for climbing difficult ground as the new Nomic.
No need to panic.
Major change on the new Nomic? It is the new pommel that has a serrated stainless blade. It will add some stability on hard ice and can be used to give the pommel some stability as a cane on easy terrain. Better yet just use the top of the Astro or Dry pick while reversing the tool in that same easy terrain. Not suggested by Petzl but the new pommel can be retro fitted to the old Nomic. Just bolt it on...no issues what so ever.
Biggest over all improvement? New pommel fits bigger hands and thicker gloves much, much better. But it can be bolted right on no fuss, no muss to the older tools if that is something you want to try. The new Pommel offers a tiny bit more support and more coverage and hand protection on the upward curve towards the ice. Maybe the most important improvement is a metal to metal interface where they mate up on the end of the shaft. BUT...the metal to metal female/male fittings have some slop in the mating surfaces so they move backwards and forwards a bit even when cranked down tight . That is not an improvement. You won't get every advantage of the size improvements for big hands using the new pommel on the old tools but a good bit of it. Worth buying that piece of kit and trying it on your old tools. It is an option now.
I don't like the serrated blade in some places on hard technical climbing...it gets in the way during extreme rotation. I put the old pommel on my new Ergos because of it. But I do like having the option.
Hammer and adze? Yes you can add either the hammer or the adze designed for the new Quark to the Nomic. A small bit of round file or Dremel work to the tool head will allow you to fit the new Petzl hammer to the old style Nomic head. (see the detail photos below) But why would you? Needing a hammer is one thing, using the one Petzl made for the Quark is another. There is a better answer that is about to get even better shortly. That would be the Cold Thistle, 4mm, Nomic hammer. If it was not a LOT better than Petzl's offering I wouldn't bother making it. C-T hammers will also be much, much easier to change in the field using the newest Petzl picks or older style picks we cut for you. And the C-T hammer will fit the old and the new Nomic head with NO changes. Having it difficult to fit the hammer or change picks with the required spacer is a down side to the newest Petzl pick/hammer design. The new pick and spacer is truly a bitch to change in the field if the pair of Nomics I have here is any example.
C-T hammer info and pricing can be found in this link:
The new umbilical attachment? Good move on Petzl's part but if you want it to hold more than TOOL weight on your umbilicals you need to do a small mod on the newest Nomic's pommel. There isn't enough clearance between plastic and aluminum to get even 3mm cord through which you'll need to opened up for 4mm + cord. The hole Petzl drilled in my samples are 5.9mm. But these samples had some threads showing internally which will need to be taken out if you want to use 4 or 5mm cord there. The edges of the hole are well chambered on these but I would check that as well and do it if there is a sharp edge on either side of the shaft. Easy enough to drill out and chamfer the hole. I like 5mm cord there because you always know what the knot will do and it is easy to inspect cord for wear. Again easy to modify the older Nomic and now even easy enough to modify the new Nomic as well.
After cutting up the pommels on my first new set of Nomics I might modify these a bit different the next time around and cut up the grip a bit instead of going under the pommel. Looks like to me that you could now easily run a cord from the full strength hole in the handle and go behind the new smaller pommel. Done right it might be a better answer. I'm undecided at the moment. But the new tools are easy to cut with a Dremel or a round file where I used a vertical milling machine on the original Nomic's pommel. The best answer on the new tools is still a work in progress. What ever the answer the factory version isn't it for me.
New picks...DRY and ICE? Same materials, same heat treat, slightly different designs from the Astro and the Cascade. Still great picks...all still 3mm tips. Now rated as T picks instead of B picks. Little or no change in strength more likely just the label. Truly awesome picks, old or new!
Old picks fit new tools, new picks fit old tools. New picks require a spacer...which is a major PAIN to replace in the field. Buy the old Astro or Cascade if you need to carry spares and think you'll break or bend a pick or need to replace them on a climb. I like the original Cascade pick design on pure ice better FWIW. Either way buy the old picks because they are easier to replace and no spacer required if you aren't using a hammer.
Is it worth selling your old Nomic to get the new one? Obviously not....no way in fact. Worth making a few mods on either tool to suit your own climbing...you bet.
My old Nomic and umibilical about to pull a bulge on Curtain Call
Here are the details:
old shaft 366g (+4g)
new shaft 362g
pommel old 20g (-4g)
pommel new 24g
old Cascade pick w/weight 188g (+8g)
new Cascade pick w/weight 180g
Old Nomic is 8g heavier with the old pick design. Old Nomic is the same weight with the new "ICE" pick design.
8g = 1.4 oz. Dbl click the pictures for the details where required.