Pageviews past week

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wrapping tool shafts?

The reason I wrap my tools almost full shaft (2" shy of the head) is I like to do a lot of high dagger position on easier alpine terrain. And I actually like climbing easier terrain with radically curved tools. I'll run my hand from the upper grip to the head of the tool to avoid as many placements as possible. Just to save strength and climb faster. A good tape job keeps the hands warmer on aluminum when it is really cold out. And I like the rubber texture over bare aluminum or carbon fiber. On steep ice I like to match on the second grip so I wrap there with better tape than Petzl supplies and wrap over the the BD Fusion/Cobra upper grip and higher on the shaft just for consistancy. While you are at it, easy enough to wrap farther up the tool and can't see that it hurts anything besides adding a bit of weight. If for no other reason, it helps me at least feel more secure.

Climbing Shooting Gallery on Andromeda a couple of winters ago in -30 temps and some deep snow was the first time I needed more insulation on the shaft for the high dagger position. Freaking cold tools that bite back and then cold hands through the powder snow to get a good stick. Not on my long list of "fun".

A quick look at several of the pictures in the blog will show a high dagger position (anyone climbing on Nomics) where a wrapped shaft will be warmer.

> What is the name of the tape that you use on your tools? I
> have been using electrical friction tape but I think there is
> something better out there more similar to the tape on the >Nomic.

You can generally buy this stuff at Lowe's, Home Depot or any big hardware store and on line.
There is a link in the comments after the post. Depending on how you wrap your tools one role of tape can do two tools. I use the tape for insulation so I use one roll per tool and throw the extra away. Stuff is fairly cheap....under $10 per roll.

Petzl Nomic tape is a little thin for my taste and not that durable but it is light in weight and sticky enough. I suspect it is the 3M Temflex.

3M Temflex #2155 Rubber splicing Tape

What I like better is similar but thicker, way stickier and offers better insulation.

Scotch brand 2228 Moisture sealing Electrical tape

3M Temflex 2155, "rubber splicing tape" is the same stuff Petzl uses but a lot cheaper in this form. One role will easily do two tools.

The better choice imo is Scotch brand 2228 Moisture sealing electrical tape. One role of 1" x 4" does one tool for me. It is heavier/thicker/way stickier than 3M and has lasted me 4 seasons so far (with no end in sight, on ice and alpine) and is always sticky, wet or dry. I use one role per tool with a tiny bit to spare on a Nomic (1" X 4') . You just need to watch what you lay the tools against 'cuz the stuff is so sticky it will wrap around anything, clothing, your other tool, get the idea. Kinda like the climbing version of silly putty.

You don't need to tape the ends on either as it is self sealing and is easy to apply.

Nothing else even close that I have seen. 3M is cheaper and works fine. The thicker Scotch brand stuff is what I use to wrap the tools I climb with.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scarpa Phantom Ultra?

I got an email pointing out a mistake I made identifying the "Phantom Ultra" as a "prototype Phantom 6000" in Jon Griffith's photo of Steck on le Droites. Thanks for the heads up Will!

Way beyond the sales hype. Jonathan Griffith's photo of Ueli Steck soloing the Ginat on Le Droites early in 2010 in what appears to be the super lwt version of the Phantom single, the "Ultra" which is down around 1600g in weight per pair for a 42, where the Guide is 1800g and the 6000 is 2000g in that size.

This boot is not available in North American that I can find but is in Europe and England. The over all weight is getting down to an ounce or so of the slightly more traditional fabric "silver bullet" boot, La Sportiva's Trango Extreme Evo Gortex. With a full boot gaiter though the Ultra offers much more protection in nasty, wet, cold conditions. The Ultra looks by the numbers to be lighter and LESS expensive than the Phantom Guide. That could be any where from 3 to 4 ounces per boot in a size 12us/45. Or another 8oz altogether!

Part of the weight savings is using the thinner and lighter sole/mid sole system also used on the Phantom 6000 and noted in that review earlier. Lacing inside the Ultra looks to be the same system that is used in the Guide. Slightly different material on the Ultra's gaiter for reinforcement and durability with crampons.
While making inquiries about these boots, Scarpa NA and several retailers who stock the Ultra in England gave similar replies.
"Re: The Ultra,
Boot is less stiff and less warm than the Guide. Sole is very fragile. Sole is not as durable as the Guide. Only the Guide is available in 1/2 sizes."
Me thinks they protest too much. No retailer wants to carry such a specialised alpine climbing boot in a full size run (and 1/2s) which would sell directly against the Phantom Guide even if the Ultra is $50. less expensive. I might even swallow the "less durable" issue with the boot soles as they are a lwt version also used on the Phantom 6000. Not a boot I'd use on a lot of rock but might well be a nice advantage to drop another pound off your feet on alpine ice and mixed routes where you'd be wearing 'pons anyway.

BTW, both the Guides and 6000 boots I got this year came with Gortex and Primaloft tags. Spring of next year (2011) they are suppose to be lined with "Outdry" at Steck's suggestion, replacing the time proven Gortex liner. Not a huge amount of added info but I used the new Mtn Hardware gloves that are again Steck's designs and lined with Outdry all of last winter and was happy with them. I've not seen Goretex in a glove system do as well.

"SCARPA announced they have teamed up with OutDry in order to make my all time favorite technical mountaineering boots even better. OutDry's waterproof breathable technology will appear in SCARPA's Phantom Collection for Spring 2011.

Both SCARPA and OutDry worked with renowned alpinist and speed-climber Ueli Steck on the design of the new Phantom Collection. Steck wanted a technical mountaineering boot with improved waterproofness that would cut down on the boot's "wet weight" while climbing in wet snow conditions.

OutDry is currently used in gloves from Mountain Hardwear and footwear from Lafuma among others. OutDry uses a three-dimensional laminating technology to adhere a windproof and waterproof breathable membrane to the inside of the outer most layer of shoes, boots and gloves. The permanent membrane bond creates a flawless fit with no folds, seams or the requirement for seam-sealing tape.

The waterproof breathable membrane will be laminated directly to the inner side of the K-tech boot upper on the SCARPA Phantom technical mountaineering boots. The use of OutDry in the boots also allows the addition of Primaloft for increased insulation qualities.

OutDry will be featured in all the new SCARPA Phantom styles including the Phantom 6000, Phantom Guide and the Phantom Ultra."

By the numbers:
upper S- TECH
lining : WATERPROOF - OD /
insole : FIBER - PRO XT
Last : AG
sizes: 37-48 ( WITH 1 / 2)
weight : 800 GR (42 - 1 / 2 PAIR )
Read more and make your own comparisons:

Will's photos:

Nomic mods?

A number of climbers have asked about modifying the original Nomic to change the umbilical attachment point like the new generation. The following is from a post I made on a climbing forum last winter after the OR show in SLC.

One of the new features Petzl has incorporated into the newest Nomic and other tools coming out the fall of 2010 is a way to add an umbilical attachment leash without it being under your hand while climbing.

Basically what they did is drill a hole through the aluminum section the protrudes into the pommel and then mill some of the Delrin pommel away to fit sling material down both sides and out the pommel. What Petzl showed at the OR show was some pretty thin cord (2mm or something like it). Not enough for my liking, thanks. So I did the same with a thicker diameter cord that would take something more than body weight. I have been using 4mm cord that tests at 900#

Easy mod to do to the old Nomic with a hand drill and a file if need be. I used a hand drill and a mill. Much cleaner answer than what I have been using.

Original attachment

Cut Pommel

Additional 5mm hole drilled.

both sides are then counter sunk and a new cord added

New cord slotted in the pommel, "New" Nomic!

After looking at this more closely I find it hard to believe that the new Nomic pommels with the serrated "spike" won't retro fit the old tools.

While looking at the new tools (all prototypes) and taking them apart at the OR show my guess was the old Nomics will take both the new picks and the new Pommel. Although Petzl originally said no on both, my Nomic pick/hammer fit their newest Nomic (I actually fit it to their tool)...but like I said they were prototypes at the OR show. I'll have mine shortly and will up date this blog entry when that happens.

More on the use of 4 and 5mm cord.

From an earlier BD email exchange last winter when I asked about the issue of the small BD biner (worried about the sharp edged proto types that I was using. The new Production stuff has much better and rounded edges) on 4 and 5mm cord laced to Nomics with a BD Spinner umbilical.

Black Diamond said:
"Just tested this to 800lbs (single leg). No damage to the 4mm cord or our steel clip (production quality with more tumbling to the part); the bungee webbing breaks first. Then pull tested our steel biner clipped to 5mm cord, this went to 1600lbs before the cord broke."

I would also make sure to use a knot like a dbl Fisherman's in drop form instead of an Over Hand which is typical and much weaker (30% less or more?) in this application. And something like half of the original tensile strength of the rope! Easy bet the cord broke at the knot no matter what knot he was using. But worth hedging your bets here for several reasons. But 4mm seems a good compromise for size (getting it under the pommel or in your hand) and strength. Hanging on a tool is not a dynamic load. Fall far enough and require static cord and webbing to take the dynamic impact load and you'll blow through 5mm or the webbing easily.

Either way I think the newest leash attachment is a good improvement on the tools...and worth doing on the older ones if you are so inclined. It isn't much work and I don't see a down side.

For those that asked. New Nomic picks (if they are cut for the hammer) will fit the old Nomic heads with a spacer...a simple washer will work there for a spacer. If they are not cut for the hammer the pick will bolt right up as normal.

From the prototypes shown at OR this winter the Petzl hammer and adze will not work without cutting up your old head a tiny bit. They were prototypes but I suspect very close to what we will see as production.

The new Petzl in cut head is to further support the hammer and adze in use. I used a similar technique to support the CT Nomic hammer without cutting the aluminum tool head and got a lower profile and better balance as advantages.

More details and photos in the link below.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ice commeth!

If you haven't seen it, great video! Ignore the product speil. (or not as all three are exceptional tools ;)