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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sharpening picks specifically for mixed?

I don't agree with everything shown here but then I don't climb a lot of hard modern mixed either.
If you do or just aspire to, Mark is likely a good voice to listen to.

Check out Mark's web site and blog.


Daniel Harro said...

what do you not agree with dane? what would you do differently?

Dane said...

Hey Daniel. After dealing with and discussing picks with guys like Colin Haley and my limited experience, my priorities are completely different than Colin's or Mark's. I want my pick to stay as sharp as possible as long as possible while still being able to dry tool with them.

A lot of guys want a really sharp pointed pick end. Which will last one good swing if it hits rock and then you have a dull tool generally at full pick thickness. It becomes really shitty on pure water ice and likely to fracture or dinner plate everything. Either requires more swings.

So I like a typical old style Petzl Cascade pick profile or BD Titan (gone too far there though) for longevity. Big and relativley blunt. It will last longer and be consistant before I have to use a file. And on long routes I'll bring a file. Seems silly not to if it speeds up your climbing. And a sharp pick will speed up your climbing on hard ice.

Teeth? As I said not a sport specific mixed I have different priorities. I want the tool to be easy to remove. And again the older Cascade style picks make it easy even in hard ice. Sharpen the teeth or have big exposed teeth like the DRY or Astro and you get a sticky pick. A big hook on the first tooth will only make it worse. Mind you on really hard mixed you want the pick to stick on rock and are not worried about the performance on ice.

I want my picks easy enough to get in and really easy to get out.

I am never going to be pulling on dime size edges in the mountains. M6 or less doesn't generally require dime size edges in the mtns. But I know I will be climbing lots of ice. So I would tune for moderate ice. Mind you i could tune for nothing but thin or really hard technical ice but the route likely isn't going to be long, so durability on the pick isn't going to be important. If it is I can change picks or take the time to file the pick sharp again. Road side attactions and gym climbing I don't think is a test of gear. Good comparison is if you are using fruit boots likely better be specifically tuning your pics for mixed. If you aren't I'd suggest you tune for longevity.

Get on anything long and hard and you'll trash what ever pick or shape you are using. Best plan ahead.

Erik W said...

My pure drytooling and roadside mixed picks are shaped pretty identical to Mark's in the video (i use Fusions). Interestingly enough, these are also my preference for alpine lines. I think it has a lot to do with what your region's "alpine" consists of. Here in the Front Range of CO (i.e., RMNP etc) alpine lines are primarily rock with a giggle of ice thrown in here and there. So for me the main priority for an alpine pick is rock performance, which means clearance and hooking ability. I look at these videos you post, Dane, from Scotland, Alps, etc and just drool at the amount of ice the alpine lines have over there. From the sounds of it, you've got the same deal in your backyard as well.

Dane said...

Good point Eric. I am sometimes amazed at how regional things become for gear choices because of conditions.

But seriously on pick shape and tuning choices I would suggest anyone climbing hard mixed to go with your and Mark's suggestions and not mine.

Daniel has a pretty good idea the level I climb at. And I certainly suggested that I had my on ideas on pick shape. Since I commented I figured it only fair to explain myself.

I posted Mark's video becasue I thought it might help guys involved in that kind of climbing...which I am not.