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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ergo or Nomic?

Another gumby happy with his Ergos ;)

November 17, 2011 11:41 AM

Aaron said...

"Your (Ergo) articles, and some swinging at a demo, convinced me to go with the Ergo as my first set of tools.

I agree that they look radical when compared to other tools, but after a few laps I was a believer! The swing felt a little different when compared to other tools I've used, but those were all more "traditionally" shaped tools (quark, viper, old set of prophets). It didn't take long to adjust.

Some field testing results to back up your statement about these being good beginner tools:

I'm a gumby when it comes to ice, and while I'm working on fixing that, I feel that the Ergo will help greatly along the way. Sticks are easy to get and the orientation of the handle, more like a pullup bar, eases pump and lets me move my hand around into different positions while hanging. This gives me more time to work on proper foot and tool placements without pumping out. I've let a bunch of my other ice gumby friends try them and they really are a hit. Most of the beginners felt that they were easier to climb with than the other tools we had (viper/cobra and quarks)."

Photo courtesy of Jon Griffith @ Alpine Exposures
Ueli  Steck and his Ergos on Super Coulior Direct

And more on the Dru.


Julian said...

Nice testimonial and good photos but I'm having trouble understanding the choice of title. Isn't this more about how a radical modern tool like the Ergo is superior to older tech like the Quark, Viper, Black Prophet, etc.? Didn't see any mention of the Nomic at all. If I'm misunderstanding the point behind the title please set me straight.

Anonymous said...

After climbing on Nomics for about 4 seasons, I picked up a pair of Ergos last year. Unfortunately, I just could not get them to stick that well in ice! I REALLY wanted to love the Ergos, but although I ran A LOT of laps over the winter with them, I could never get the sweet stick I get with the Nomics. Whenever it came time to lead anything hard, I always fell back to the trusty Nomics.

The other thing that bothered me with the Ergo was that you can't choke up as high on the shaft or you will pop the tool (when dry-tooling). On my Nomics I can match, then bump the lower hand up above the higher hand, without really changing the direction of pull on the tool. With the Ergos, because the curve is lower down on the shaft, if you match and then bump the lower hand up again, you drastically change the direction of pull on the tool and the tool pops. At least this was my experience. You can see in the picture of the Ergo that the highest griprest puts your hand right over the tightest part of the curve.

So now I am back on the Nomics. Even though I gave the Ergos a good try, I can't help but wonder if I am missing something?

Dane said...

I think the question is Ergo or Nomic. And if you can take advantage of the more radically curved tool. If you han't climbed on both you likely wouldn't understand the obvious comparison.

In my opinion there really aren't any other tools in the same class. (I'll let eveyone choke on that one for a while ;)

No question the third grip is not a place to match (as set up on my tools) where the lower two grips do as well as the typical Nomic while matching.

The position on the third grip is important. But it is a position you have to play with to learn its limitations. And there are plenty of limitations.

I think it is more about learning new skills and techniques than it is trying to climb in an preconcieved style that may have worked for you previous on what ever tool.

I'm not surprized beginners and experts find the Ergo fun. The middle ground not so much.

IMO the Nomic is easier to climb on. Hard to make a mistake on a Nomic. But I think the Ergo will take you farther with less effort with an open mind on steep ground.
I don't find it lacking on moderate ground either. YMMV

Anonymous said...

climbubu and E climb makes a ice tool that may be in the same "class" as the new ergo in terms of mixed climbing performance. However the ice tools are not really marketed in America so they will never gain widespread use like the nomic or ergo tools.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if steck climbs with Ergos when there is no photographer with him. Such pictures look to me like "for marketing"..
I have both and I prefer the Nomics. The Ergos flex too much and the grip gets stuck (festkrallen im fels). I often don't get them of without hanging on them again. And for sticking them upside down in a hole the radical courve is a disadventage by climbing a moderate overhang and even worse in no overhang. Then you have to pull more upwards otherwise the Ergo will slip out of the hole. With the Nomics I dont have that problem. Maybe I should make a sketch, then my with my bad english its difficult to explain...
And there are even more advantages of the Nomic (can grip higher without dropping of, etc.).
I climb around M8. May be I'm not good enough for this tools. ;-)
My fazit: Ergos are nice for climbing very steep overhanging routes. Otherwise take Nomics.

Anonymous said...

You're not alone.

The majority of top 5 finishers in the 2011 Ice World Cup and Ouray Ice Comp used BD Fusions. The Petzl athletes in the top 5 (in both) chose Nomics over Ergos.

We'll see what this year brings.

Dane said...

Lets point out why that happened in part shall we?

The Ergo was generally unavailable to everyone last season. Those that did have them early in the season returned them for the most part because the pommels were breaking. Replaced with Nomics if they were replaced last season at all.

Nomic or a brand new tool at Ouray...what would you use?

BD Fusion? The one thing the new Fusion is not is an all around tool like the proven Nomic obviously is.

Fusion is a great tool for contrived hard mixed like say a comp at Ouray or the world cup. Not so much in the mountians or your local crag imo. Having used all three myself for the past several seasons and heard the bitching of more than one BD sponsored climber coming off Nomics.

A search here will tell you something of the Fusion as well but the one thing it isn't is a tool I'd reccommed for a intermediate climber trying to get better. On ice it generally sucks in comparison to a Nomic let alone an Ergo. Some of that is the BD pick, some of it is the handle shape and lack of rotation.

I'd bet my Ergos, BD gave away more Fusions the last two years than Petzl has sold in Ergos. Be interesting to see what happens when the numbers being climbed on get more comparable. Since almost everyone who wants a pair of Ergos already is climbing on a pair of Nomics.

Anonymous said...

Dated Feb 11,2011:

And Gord was using Ergos.

Ergos were also around at Ouray. A few climbers chose to use them, like Jason Nelson and Andres Marin for instance. Who both continued to use them throughout the winter...

Andres sent an X rated mixed route in the Ice Park with his Ergos ( and Jason was cranking new routes in a cave with them as well all last winter (

Another American who competed on the Ice World Cup, Marc Beverly, used Ergos:

Petzl climbers who wanted to climb with Ergos definitely had access to them last year.

Anonymous said...

And that response was to your calling "bullshit", which I see you've edited out.

I'm not going to argue about the merits/shortcomings of the Fusions, as I was merely being factual on what comp climbers who were climbing steep mixed routes were using last season.

We all see plenty of people using Fusions, so perhaps you're right that BD gave a bunch away.

As I said, we'll see what this season brings.

Dane said...

Please pardon the edit I was a bit over the top :) Your point is well made on the Ergo being used.

"I'm not going to argue about the merits/shortcomings"

Why not? I'm not really interested in what some guy can crank M12 with who is sponsored. If you can do M12 likely you can do it with most of the better tools. What I am interested in is what "I" can climb hard with using the least amount of energy. Which generally has little to do with what gets given away to the best out there and who has the biggest ad budget.

Anonymous said...

Because given your "bullshit" response to my comment and opinions on the Fusion, it is obviously tilting at windmills.

Dane said...

As I said please pardon my comment, which is why I edited it. Feel free to make the case for the Fusion if you can from personal experience comparing the different tools under discussion. And be sure to use your own name in the ads to the credibility :)

Anonymous said...

Ergos in action:-)

Aaron said...

Hey Dane,

Thanks for posting my comments on the Ergo. Definitely a cool thing to see my thoughts on the front page. Hopefully it will help out some other gumbys in the same position I was in the long run.

In regards to Nomic or Ergo (or even Fusion for that matter) it'll all come down to preference in the end. With the limited exposure that I have to ice climbing, the Petzl tools swung better and stuck better in my hands, specifically the Ergo. Others my find that my thoughts are completely off, which fine. I've climbed with a guy on a few occasions who's still convinced that his Shirkes are the best thing out there. I think he's crazy, but to each his own. That's what makes talking about all of this gear so interesting :)

James said...

Dane, it's great to read such solid advice on here. It's frustrating to read about what pros are using when I want to know what works for me. I don't know much about ice tools but it's on my list as my piolet is no longer suitable for the routes I'm doing. I have connections with Grivel and Petzl, and so while it sounds like you heartily endorse the Ergo, do you have any experience with Grivel products like the Avatar or Quantum? By the way, your blog is awesome, I've really enjoyed reading through it.

Dane said...

The newest Grivels tools are solid performers on the moderate and high end. Hard to go wrong there.

Murilo Lessa said...

Just come across this post and wanted to ask you something.. I recently started using my Nomics for dry tooling and I noticed that they squeak quite a lot what tends to make me a bit nervous since it feels that the axe is "giving" too much and about to break.. have you come across such squeak or is it just my tools?? even though about removing all its parts and oiling up but not sure this would actually help... thoughts? :-) any advice is much appreciated!