Technical ice climbing axes are predominantly heavy pieces of equipment due to the steel needed to ensure strength. Climbing equipment company Ice Rock has now changed the game with its release of the Idol — the lightest ice ax in the world — offering both functionality and durability.
Lightweight axes suffice for general mountaineering expeditions, but vertical ice climbing requires equipment that can withstand repetitive thrusting into ice formations and often rocky terrain. Most technical ice axes combine steel heads and picks with aluminum shafts to save weight. High-end brands substitute aluminum shafts for carbon fiber, shaving off an additional few ounces, but have maintained the need for steel picks and heads — until now.
The Ice Rock Idol boasts an unbelievable total weight of 188 grams, which is lighter than even the lightest mountaineering axes, which usually total more than 300 grams. For comparison, the popular all-around Petzl Summit weighs 380 grams while the more technical Petzl Sum’Tec exceeds 500 grams. The Idol shaves the weight of a general mountaineering ax by more than half — while maintaining the highest level of technical performance on vertical ice.
The secret to this groundbreaking accomplishment is related to both material utilization and overall product design. The Idol’s carbon fiber shaft thermo-regulates while reducing impact vibrations and is partnered with an aircraft-grade aluminum spike for a durable yet lightweight combination. The use of titanium alloy in the adze and tip equates to the greatest weight reduction of all, and the only steel used is an alloy within the pick itself.
The unique monocoque design integrates the head with the carbon shaft in a manner that satisfies both European and American picking style preferences, an innovation of its own. The width of the shaft varies according to load-bearing requirements. Incorporation of the highest quality materials within the product’s exclusive construction equates to an achievement never before seen in the climbing marketplace — an ice ax that weighs 188 grams.
Ice Rock is based out of Kirov, Russia, and home of the World Ice Climbing Cup. The Idol recently won the prestigious ISPO BrandNew award and will soon be available for purchase.
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