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Can I Make My Leashed Tools, Leashless?

30-Mar-2010
By Gear Guy

I am new to ice climbing and live in Tahoe where even the local guidebook states, “a California ice climber’s most important piece of gear is a fast car.” I want to upgrade my gear but need to save scrilla for gasoline since good ice is few and far between. I have a pair of older Black Diamond Prophets, and hope to mount the Viper Fangs (or similar) pommels onto the shafts. Can you recommend a heavy-duty glue?

The Prophet a fine, albeit an old-school leashed ice tool. The Viper Fangs you mention are add-on leashless pommels for the Black Diamond Viper and Cobra tools, which have bolt holes to attach the Fangs, making them structural to some degree. The Prophets, as you have noticed, lack the bolt holes.

I have seen folks jury-rig various scraps to the shafts of their old tools trying to retro them for modern leashless climbing. One guy, for example, drilled through his shafts and bolted on inverted skyhooks. Looked like it worked, but this guy smoked so much weed that when his hands jammed down onto those sharp metal hooks, he actually smiled. 

The problem with the glue is you are effectively replacing the security of a leash for that of an unreliable glue job. The horror of moaning leashless on a drippy pillar only to have your glued-on pommels break off is, to me, almost as bad as waking up to discover I’ve become religious. 

Buddy, you either need to keep your leashes on those Prophets, or cough up the “scrilla” for modern tools. Your glue-on proposal is as unacceptable as gluing your rope to your harness. 

 - Gear Guy

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