It is very warm here in Colorado right now; a time when ice season is usually upon us.
It’s a good season to be patient and think about upgrading some gear for when things do freeze up, maybe even those tools that you’ve had for a decade.
Many options exist, but for those of us who seek a tool for waterfall ice and alpine climbing, the CAMP/Cassin X-All Mountain is a great choice.
Upon first glance, this is a very simply designed ice tool. No wacky angles, nor is there a complex handle or head construction. What you have here is a tool that is near-perfectly balanced for climbing all angles of water ice efficiently.
Many of the newer tools out there prioritize mixed climbing performance, which requires a steeper pick angle and lighter head weight for performance. This often results in unnatural adjustments to your swing, mainly to prevent the dreaded “pick bounce”.
The folks at CAMP remain focused on building a tool that feels natural to swing. The head and shaft angles combine to create the perfect arc. Additionally, the low-profile pick design fractures less ice, which equals more of the one-swing sticks that we all desire. The smaller grip of the X-All Mountain is a good fit for everyone, even those with tiny hands.
Take this tool into the mountains and you’ll find a shaft that plunges easily into all but the firmest snow. Slide your grip up towards the head and the pick of the tool will dagger with confidence. Choose from the hammer (included) or purchase the adze for mountaineering adventures.
In all, I’d highly recommend this as your “daily driver” tool if you focus mainly on water ice and alpine climbing. It will get the job done in moderate mixed terrain, but if that’s your focus, consider the Cassin X-Dream, another great tool from the folks at CAMP.
Remember that CMS is partnered-up with CAMP, so come climb with us this winter once it cools down a bit! We’ll have plenty of their tools in our demo fleet for you to try before you buy.
IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide
Colorado Mountain School
Office: 303-447-2804 x3