There appear to be some interesting looking gear coming to the shops near you next season (although some items may make it sooner).
- First off, Cassin X-DreamCassinX-Dreamhttp://www.camp-usa.com/product-images/new-2011/cassin-technical-ice/3051-X-Dream.jpgAptly named, the X-Dream not only features two different picks to change the axe for ice or mixed climbing, but it also incorporates a patented adjustment system in the handle to fine tune the swing and torque even further. A quick turn of the allen bolt above the grip allows the tools to be switched between Dry and Ice positions by changing the angle of the handle in relation to the angle of the pick. In the Dry position, the handle kicks upward for a more down and out pull. The Ice position drops the handle for a more natural swing. The picks function much the same way. The Dry pick features a more aggressive downward curve at the tip while the Ice pick has a more traditional flatter beak for vertical ice. Both picks feature same angle for optimal performance on all angles of mixed and ice climbing. They are designed to provide solid sticks with minimal penetration making them the perfect choice for brittle ice and techy mixed terrain. Climbers can further refine the X-Dream with the micro-adjustable trigger finger ledge (choose from two inserts that can be flipped over to adjust the position). T-rated Shaft. B-rated Pick. promises to offer adjustable handle hook. This should make it possible to have both ice-climbing specific more moderate handle angle (ala Petzl NomicPetzlNomichttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/nomic-1_1.jpgThe NOMIC allows the entire rock climbing repertoire to be transferred to ice. Thanks to its adjustable ergonomic handle, it offers multiple grip modes and limits the risk of snagging when switching hands. The ICE pick allows easy penetration in any type of ice, and pulls out easily. The modular head has two removable pick weights to balance the axe and propel it into the ice with an exceptional swing. The NOMIC can also be equipped with a hammer when placing pitons.) as well as more agressive pick handle well suited for steep mixed climbing and dry tooling, both is one tool. Interesting idea indeed.
- Second, Grivel has two new tools coming, Grivel Tech MachineGrivelTech Machinehttp://grivel.com/upload/products/ice_axes/81/81_l.jpgDesigned primarily for ice climbing and dry-tooling. Interchangeable ICE pick is tapered at the tip (3 mm) for easy penetration, even in cold ice. The stout Mix blade, 4.2 mm, will accept your “normal abuse” hooking on both ice and rock. The Machine's radically bent shaft easily clears bulges and cauliflowers. Its shape allows stable hooking on both ice and rock. Solid placements come easily, even when the ice gets unruly. and Grivel Machine 3.0GrivelMachine 3.0http://grivel.com/upload/products/ice_axes/82/82_l.jpgA totally new generation for technical climbing on all of the world’s mountains. For the first time we present a shaft and head hot forged in a single piece! An unbelievable masterpiece possible only for people who hot forge metal since 1818! Interchangeable ICE pick is tapered at the tip (3 mm) for easy penetration, even in cold ice. The stout Mix blade, 4.2 mm, will accept your “normal abuse” hooking on both ice and rock.. Particularly Tech Machine, the more aggressive of the two, looks interesting.
- Black Diamond has tweaked their Black Diamond Fusion 2Black DiamondFusion 2http://demandware.edgesuite.net/aakn_prd/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1393941246029/products/ice_alpine/412088_fusion_up_web.jpgOur premier mixed climbing tool with a hydroformed aluminum shaft, the Fusion is incredibly stiff, lightweight and versatile. to create Black Diamond FuelBlack DiamondFuelhttp://www.climberism.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/black_diamond_equipment_fuel.jpgSlightly tweaked Fusion 2. It shaves the head and loses hammer, both of which make the tool lighter. Additionally it comes with pick targeted more towards ice instead of more mixed-oriented pick of the Fusion , is 2cm shorter and spike is somewhat redesigned. Length aside, the rest of the changes are something that many have done to their Fusions themselves. Interesting to see whether the tweaked version can give Petzl NomicPetzlNomichttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/nomic-1_1.jpgThe NOMIC allows the entire rock climbing repertoire to be transferred to ice. Thanks to its adjustable ergonomic handle, it offers multiple grip modes and limits the risk of snagging when switching hands. The ICE pick allows easy penetration in any type of ice, and pulls out easily. The modular head has two removable pick weights to balance the axe and propel it into the ice with an exceptional swing. The NOMIC can also be equipped with a hammer when placing pitons. a run for its money on ice climbing performance.
When it comes to ice screws, there jas not been much news under the sun during the recent years. That being said, Petzl Laser SpeedPetzlLaser Speedhttp://www.petzl.com/files/fckfiles/image/produits/SPORT/new-products-jan2013/laser-speed.jpgThe LASER SPEED ice screw starts easily due to the optimized drill shape. Strength and durability are improved due to the steel tube and specific threading. The integrated flexible crank gives an optimized lever, making it easier and faster to screw in. completely revamped their offerings for 2013/2014 and I am yet to see their current screws. As far as the truly new products go, Salewa Quick ScrewSalewaQuick Screwhttp://www.bergsteigen.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/fotos/salewa-eisschraube.jpg is entirely new screw and not just in Salewa stable. It has integrated quick draw draw and quirky looking protector thingy, apparently you are supposed to rack them hanging upside down from the draw. The big idea apparently being to save weight, space in gearloops and not to puncture your pants. While the last point is certainly a plus, I am not too convinced of the rest, particularly having tried Grivel HelixGrivelHelixhttp://www.grivel.com/upload/products/ice_screws/8/8_l.jpgGrivel’s easiest ice screw. Easy to get the first bite in the ice thanks to its symmetrical grip. Easy to screw in thanks to the handle on the grip. Easy to attach a carabiner thanks to the shape of the ring. Easy to carry on the rack with a carabiner, even several at a time. You’ll find that Helix has all the fantastic qualities usually found in a Grivel screw, the ones that have made them famous worldwide and the reference in ice screws. The huge technological capacity and large quantities of production allow Grivel to offer a high quality product at an extremely competitive price. You won’t find anything else on the market with the same quality/cost ratio.. The integrated quickdraw is a huge hassle, despite it rotating around the screw (well at least in theory, practice is something quite different). The "hanger" looks very small with retractable lever. While I have my doubts about how the screw would perform, it is definitely interesting looking design that I wouldn't mind trying out.
Grivel has updated their Grivel 360Grivel360http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/ice_screws/2/2_l.jpgThe new 360° screw can benefit all ice climbers. In situations where safety depends on speedy screw placement (crevasse rescue or steep ice) the 360’s sharp bite and easy starting are quite reassuring. When ice or rock obstructions prevent a normal fixed hanger’s rotation, the 360’s handle may be lifted away from the surface and turned freely. The 360’s super-slick finish makes it very difficult for ice to clog its core. The 360’s efficiency makes it possible to place an ice screw where and when you want to, not just where and when you are able to. for 2014 season. The 360 has undergone several changes during the years (the handle knob shape (at least twice), thickness and length of the crank and how the handle is fixed into hanger). The previous changes have either advanced performance or handling without sacrificing performance, this time around I am fairly confident its quite different. Although in fairness sake I have to admit I have not used the design.
They have reshaped the hanger by making it substantially larger than in the old model. Sales pitch reason for that is that they are easier to rack. I am inclined to believe that manufacturing costs are a big reason as well, as they now have the same head as their other screws. I am willing to admit that the new hanger probably makes the screw rack better. Unfortunately it is also quite a bit larger (and I suspect also heaver) than the previous model. Which isn't my cup of a tea (although in fairness sake I have to admit not having actually used the new design). At all. The reason why I love 360 is the ease to get it initiated (very easy to rotate you hand when holding the hanger), the new hanger shape can't be as good for that than the old one. Also the fact that is larger hinders it from going to really tight places. Which is too bad really, given that exactly this is the reason why 360 works where nothing else does. So basically we are looking at the changes that decrease the function where it matters the most for some gain in rackability. Pretty damn poor trade-off in my book, particularly as the old model racks just fine if you don't try to rack them like you would rack some other screws. Two per carabiner or clipper and you get on with 360 just fine. Try to cramp more into single carabiner/clipper and they don't work.