Aside from occasionally stropping my ice tools a few times with a steel file, I’d not thought much about picks until a friend absolutely shit all over a dry mixed route that was giving me fits. He was stronger, sure, and younger, and better, but those qualities didn’t account for everything. His picks just seemed to stick anywhere. He was hooking holds I hadn’t even thought of as holds.
After he clipped the chains and snotted out one nostril, I lowered him and demanded to see his tools.
“What sorcery is this?” I exclaimed. His picks, clearly weren’t stock. They looked weird.
“They are the [indecipherable Russian-sounding word] picks,” he said. “Aftermarket. Armor steel. They make tanks out of it.”
Two hours later I jumped online and ordered a pair of Krukonogi PX2(A) dry-tool picks. They were $70 a pop but I paid the ransom. A week later I put the blades on a pair of true weapons, the Cassin X-Dreams, went back to that route, clipped the chains and snotted out one nostril.
The picks are magic, or nearly so. Their secret sauce seems to be that “armor” steel. The metal takes and holds an edge like a Masamune samurai sword. The Krukonogi picks are so sharp, in fact, you can cut your shirt or jacket when you drape a tool over a shoulder. At home in the kitchen, you can dice ripe tomatoes. Juggling, not recommended.
The PX2(A) is shaped like the head of a roadrunner and bristles with teeth that could stand is as dentures for a tiger shark. This is the pick for sport dry tooling, and it does everything really, really well. Sloping holds where others gum around are jokes for the PX2(A). Though sticky, the picks can climb the touch of ice should you veer off route and onto the wild stuff like a fool.
The picks I used were for the Cassin X-Dream, but Krukonogi churns out picks for various brands including Petzl, Black Diamond and Trango, and has more conventional ice designs. The Krukonogis ding the wallet, although going on two seasons now mine have held up remarkably well: I have only had to sharpen them occasionally, instead of after every outing. On a per-route cost basis, these durable picks average out just fine.
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