Monday, 24 January 2011

Fig4 Drytooling....any good?

I have been meaning to write this for some time now. Managed to pick myself up a set of Alpkit's latest innovation the "Fig4" second hand for a respectable price of £25. Have been meaning to get down to the wall, but after missing several chances to do it, I decided this evening to have a play on the wall at work before my evening climbing session. So I headed down a little early to test them.
First things first, I kitted up climbing with my B2 boots, gloves, and helmet. I had a mess around for 30mins or so traversing around the wall. The first thing I will say is that it certainly gets you pumped! After 30mins I was knackered! The small loops on the axes fit all the holds in the wall at work, and are strong enough to easily support my weight dead hanging.
These are very cool to climb with, something very different to enjoy at the wall, and I imagine with sustained practice would facilitate a marked improvement in winter climbing strength. One cool thing about them is the fact you can hold the axe in different ways as the wood is shaped to mimic triggers and rests and various points on the shaft. Mine also cam pre fitted with cord so that when climbing upward should you fall the axe doesnt plummit onto your belayers head!
The one problem I encountered is that many of the holds around the wall were no use what so ever for these, the loops simply slipped off. In one way this adds another dimension, in another (more accurate way) it just means certainly sections of the wall are not climbable.
Alpkit sell these at £65 a pair ( ) are they worth it? From my point of view no. However the amount of mixed climbing I do in a year wouldn't warrant such an investment, however for hardcore winter climbers looking to train in the wall, I would highly recomend these bad boys. Many climbing walls are now stocking these for borrowing during sessions, so worth a play! Alternatively if you can pick them up on the cheap second hand go for it! Definately fun! And I am looking forward to heading to the wall again soon!

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