Petzl is known for producing some of the highest quality gear for sports enthusiasts and professionals that allow them to access some of the most inaccessible places. The Quark ice axes and LYNX crampons are definitely two pieces of gear that reflect the mastery of the vertical world that Petzl has a grasp on.
The Quark ice axe adapts to any situation as it is a versatile axe that was designed primarily for technical mountaineering and ice climbing. The Quark was redesigned and they are more lightweight than previous versions. It has GRIPREST and TRIGREST hand rests that ensure a comfortable and powerful grip. The ice pick is interchangeable and is tapered at the tip for easy penetration. The shape of the pick allows for stable hooking on both ice and rock. Striking precision is increased with a lower trigger to brace the index finger which also improves the stability of the ice axe.
The LYNX crampons are extremely adaptable for ice and mixed climbing. The modular front points allow for dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical and can be easily modified with one screw. There are two types of interchangeable front bindings included with the crampons that will adapt to boots with or without welts. Integrated front and rear ANTISNOW plates come with the LYNX crampons as well as the LEVERLOCK heel bail that is height-adjustable and designed for boots with a heel welt. The crampons come in a FAKIR carrying bag.
One of the most perfect places to test out the Quark ice axes and LYNX crampons was the Ouray Ice Park in Ouray, Colorado. This manmade ice climbing venue operated just outside Ouray in the Uncompahgre Gorge has over 200 mixed and iced climbs to choose from. The crampons and ice axes were tried on several different routes at the ice park for three days.
The GRIPREST and TRIGREST hand rests on the Quark ice axes were immediately noticed as being comfortable and really provided that powerful grip that is needed when striking the axe into the ice. The weight of the axe was just right making the swing precise and efficient. The ergonomic over-molded handle helped significantly and was easily gripped even with small hands such as mine. They felt balanced and not bulky or awkward when striking into the ice. The pick really stuck in the ice and held strong during the climbs. It wasn’t hard to trust the Quark ice axes right away, and they helped make the three days of ice climbing extremely enjoyable. During one of the climbs, I had a Quark ice axe in one hand and a Black Diamond Viper ice axe in the other. The Black Diamond Viper was a good ice tool, but it wasn’t as comfortable holding onto as the Quark. I felt more confident leashless with the Quark than I did with the Viper.
The LYNX crampon is one I’d recommend to beginning or experienced climbers. Besides the fact that they come in a cool FAKIR carrying bag and you don’t have to worry about them tearing or catching onto any of your other gear in your pack, these crampons will adjust to a heavy hiking boot for someone just getting into ice climbing, or one who’s ready to tackle the ice with their extreme technical ice boot. Adjustments are easy to make on the LYNX crampons. Although my boots had toe welts, it was great that these crampons came with interchangeable front bindings that would fit to a boot with or without the welts. Switching the bails does take a bit of effort, but that gives the climber a good sense of security that the bails won’t fail during climbing. The LYNX crampons felt solid and secure once they were kicked into the ice. Keep in mind that the straps are longer when using the toe bail and you’ll have to wrap it around your ankle. Don’t cut the straps as the length is needed for the interchangeable toe baskets. Also remember to secure excess strap on the outside of your ankle/boot and not on the inside as it can be a hazard if caught on by the crampon while climbing.
Petzl has undoubtedly made innovative changes on an already incredible product with the Quark ice axe. With the great versatility of the LYNX crampons, many will find they won’t need several different types of crampons for mountaineering, hiking and ice climbing. The axes and crampons handled the different terrain of Ouray Ice Park beautifully and made for a fantastic ice climbing trip. Quark ice axes and LYNX crampons are unquestionably excellent gear to have in your pack for your ice climbing/mountaineering escapades.
Petzl LYNX crampons and Quark ice axes can be purchased at your local REI store and Backcountry.com.
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