Tuesday, November 03, 2009

First Blood, first ice.

Today was my first day of ice climbing. I've taken my tools for a walk a few times and done some scouting, but due to travel, weather and some other lame excuses today was my first day out. My partner showed up on time, but with a bone-deep cut in her hand. A few stitches later and we were on our way to local classic, Amadeus. Watch out for kitchen knives. It was my first day climbing on the new BD Fusions (I climbed on bunch of protos obviously, these are the production version), first day on ice, and my partner had a numb hand from the anaesthetic. She led the first pitch just to get things going. Fun drytooling, the Fusions worked as well as I thought they would on the rock. I'm always awkward drytooling until I get a few pitches in, that action is just wrong until it's right.

The next 30M had some super nice ice--kinda thin, kinda detached, kinda dry, kinda wet, kinda steep, kinda lacking in pro, kinda what I needed. The new Fusions handled it well, but I'm going to change my picks out on those tools if I do any more serious ice climbing. The picks on the tools are made for drytooling so they have teeth on top; this makes 'em get stuck in the ice, which is not really what you want when run out on marginal gear. For hard drytooling you need the top teeth, and even on the M-whatever stuff low on the route the teeth were great for stein-pulls etc. Overall I was really happy with the tools, I'll need to put some more miles on the rock to really have a feel for them. But they climb ice a hell of a lot better than the old Fusions, that's for sure! We even had to pound a pin back in, they actually work for that. That's a key function on an ice tool for me, especially in the Rockies--pins are often the only solution. I think the Fusion will become my top choice for hard dry-tooling and multi-pitch mixed routes. It climbs ice well, drytools well, and you can beat on gear. I like it, I'll just switch picks around with my other tools depending on what's needed.

Tomorrow I'm heading out again, so stoked that the season is ON!!



Mike said...

So part of the tool are you hammering with? Is there a tiny head on the tool that I can't see in the picture? That has been my problem with the Nomics - no way to hit a pin...

Will Gadd said...

There's a little hammer on the new Fusions, not great but definitely good enough to pound a few pins or nuts for trad mixed action. I've mixed climb a bunch on the newere Cobras as well, they work really well and you can put a huge head on there if you want to.

Hope that helps, the new Fusions are definitely a huge upgrade on the old ones for true mixed routes.