Tool Shed

Hands…

The exaggerated bend in the shaft of the Petzl Ergo ($325) may seem extreme—but it’s there for good reason. That odd shape allows for plenty of overhead clearance, (relatively) comfortable prolonged hang-times and all-important efficient power transfer, making it the best axe for technical ice we tested. If you want versatility, Black Diamond’s Fusion ($329) is light enough to minimize fatigue yet heavy enough to be substantial on mixed climbs. This tool feels solid on both the molded grip options, which fit any size hand with big or small gloves. When you are ready to go all out, the leashless DMM Climbing Anarchist ($285) was built to tackle those remaining difficult first ascents. The whole shaft and pick are hot forged, making them bomber strong, and it includes two massive jug handholds to give you time to hang and think about your next move. No matter what tool you are swinging, Outdoor Research’s Warrant Gloves ($129) will keep your hands both warm and agile enough to keep ascending thanks to toasty Primaloft insulation on the backs and grippy Pittards Armotan leather on the palms.

…and feet

You need crampons that can tackle a wide range of jobs, and Black Diamond’s Stinger Crampons ($200) can handle anything from top-roping vertical ice at the local crags to long, serious ascents on mixed alpine faces. The light stainless steel crampons are designed to fit modern boots and, best of all, come with a replaceable mono frontpoint.Speaking of boots, La Sportiva’s Nepal EVO GTX ($475) round out our package. Classic and comfy, this reinforced leather boot is ideal for big trips and expeditions but just as comfy walking to and climbing at spots like Hidden Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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