Made for north aspects.
Grivel designed the North Machine Ice Tool for all those odd ice and mixed routes on nearly every north-facing wall, but that doesn't mean it won't also work on other directions. Aerospace carbon gives this tool the superlight convenience that alpinists want and the reliable power that strong ice climbers need. Grivel gave the shaft an ergonomic, easy-to-handle feel and fine-tuned the Ice Plus blade for mixed or ice terrain. The blade comes with either a hammer or shovel for extra convenience.
- Aerospace carbon composite construction
- Ice and mixed Ice Plus blade
- Hammer or shovel option
- Q & A
These are Epic
Pretty Dang Awesome
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I picked these up last summer for a trip and bad weather kept us off our objective. The reason I went for these was I was after a tool that climbed water fall ice real well and allows you to cane with ease while in the alpine.
This past weekend I ventured down to Ouray for the ice fest and brought my North Machines with me to try out on some harder ice and I'll confirm what everyone else below is stating: These things are awesome.
Tools I've Used:
X-Dreams (my favorites)
Cobras (my least favorite)
And a few others I can't remember at the moment.
My main set of tools is a set of X-Dreams which require more wrist flick than shoulder swinging and I'm a big fan of these tools. I take them every where....but now the North Machines have earned a spot for certain climbs.
These are my second favorites on harder ice climbs and climb real well. I found that I needed to ease up on the wrist flick and swing more from my shoulder to change the geometry of how I got the pick to drive into the ice. It wasn't a huge issue, just took a little getting used to. These climbed so well that I'd definitely use them on hard ice climbs.
On one of the climbs I did with these there was a section of ice that was vertical for about 25 feet and I never felt any issues while climbing that. And i didn't feel like I was getting pumped out or any wrist pain. I think the worst part was the poor quality of the ice but the tools climbed it real well.
On another climb i did there was a real delicate ice pillar that if you kicked a crampon in or swung a tool it'd have broken off. So with the lightest taps possible, I gently placed my picks and was able to climb through without breaking the pillar before i was able to get to more solid ice and then I sunk my picks and pulled through that section of ice.
The one thing I might do is pick up a set of picks that don't have the mounts for the Hammer/Shovel for when I'd like to cruise some routes when I know that I won't really need a shovel/hammer and want to drop some grams from these. This isn't at the top of my priority list since these tools are already so light weight, but something I'm considering.
The second hand grip doesn't really have a trigger/trig rest feature and I'd probably need to tape that area for added grip.
Easy to get some solid hold in ice.
Easy to clean
The shovel (adze) works insanely well and can chop ice real easily.
So I've gotten messages from folks with XL - XXL hands that are struggling to find an ice tool that fit their mitts. I'd say that the North Machine should be one of your first considerations since the handle isn't enclosed at the top.
Given I've only used these at the Ouray ice park and not in the alpine yet I can't really go into great detail about how they cane or perform in the alpine. But I'm pretty confident they'll be the perfect tool for the alpine.
The Ferrari of Pure ice tools
The best swinging pure ice tool I have ever used and I have tried most of them, they also mix climb surprisingly well. The hammer and adze on this tool are very usable when compared to its competitors. I was suspicious of the diminutive spike at first but have had no problems and the tools plunge very well. My only quip with this tool is that the pinky rest is so small, it is not a problem on longer moderate alpine routes but I find it a little off putting on things over WI4 especially if wearing thick gloves. I have also hit my pinky a few times while using these tools which I have not had happen in years. It would be great to see a version of this tool with the same pinky rest as the quantum techs since I can't imagine it affecting the tools ability to plunge at all. However I also wear an XL glove which might be why this is an issue for me. Overall one of the most versatile tools I have ever used and I would highly recommend.
Best all-around tool I've ever used
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I am a huge fan of the new carbon fiber Grivel tech and north machine tools. I think they are leagues ahead of other CF tools like the cobra. The grips are excellent, they're very light, I love the swing, and the picks are outstanding. Also the CF shaft has the added benefit of not feeling cold.
I went with the north machine over the tech machine because I do more alpine and skimo than hard, technical ice and mixed climbing. The tech machine handle was a bit large for plunging into snow on alpine climbs (still worked fine though) but the north machine was great. I also didn't need as agressive of a tool.
The specs suggest this comes with both the ice and mixed picks. Can you please confirm this is the case - two picks?
I am really interested in picking a set of these tools up. I love the Quantum Tech's but would like something for a little steeper ice. Does this tool have more pick angle than the Quantums? Also, is there a trigger that will work with this shaft to aid in bumping up on the tool?
Great tool for moderate Ice
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I have put 10+ days on these tools this season on WI3-WI4+ ice and I must say, I really love these tools. The hammer is much better than any other tool i've used for setting bulldogs or pins (only set 2-3 but like it much more than my cobra's mini-hammers). I have tapped the uppers since the shaft isn't great for gripping in thick gloves but then again, most shafts are not. As for the tool--the top is very heavy which unbalances the tool (unlike cobras and nomics which seem very weight balanced through). I find this is great for wrist flick in the swing since the weight does most of the work--my girlfriend loves this a lot and has been hording the tools when we get out together. The shaft is modeled like the quantum techs which I have tried a few times but those tools have a much lighter head and are far more balanced. I think what you want in a tool has to be determined on ice--go demo these tools if you are interested and compare them to a tool that has an equal weight distribution. I am a firm believer grivel makes the most functional spikes for approaches but they aren't great for breaking off brittle ice. Grivel's picks are also some of the best on the market.