View Full Version : DMM Apex Demo

03-05-2015, 12:33 PM
Bottom line… If you’ve been climbing on Vipers, Cobras. Quarks. etc. and dreaming about a more technical tool that climbs and canes even better the DMM Apex is your next set of tools. When you consider price (avg. $239.00 USD) and performance of this tool there is no better for the majority of mere human climbers.

I’ve climbed with the Black Diamond Cobras for the last 4 seasons of New England ice. My reality is mostly 3/4 ice with snow fields between pitches and an occasional whimpering second on 5. Dry tooling is something I do when I swing too hard or I’m topping out. I’m your average mid-aged climber; that guy lumbering up the approach getting ready to place 17 screws in 20 feet of ice. I’ve done 20-30 days a season for the last 8 or so.

I have been drooling over the Petzl Nomics for years having had a few chances to climb with them but the cost and routes I climb never made them my “If you’re only going to have one set of tools” tool. I’m most likely not going to get big into dry tooling or lead sustained 5 in the real world and I don’t have the cash for more than “the one set of tools” every 4-5 years.

I was lucky enough to demo pair of DMM Apex tools (thanks NEice.com). From the first time I held them I could tell that they were my next gear purchase. I’m not going to spend time on specifications, that’s what Google is for, I’m not technical enough to know why they matter. What I do know is these tools are perfect for the climbing I do and affordable enough that I’ll have new tools and enough left over to pay the tolls between me and the ice. Here’s my hands on experience with the DMM Apex.

The first climb on the DMMs was a moderately steep pitch of 4 ice. A few swings of the Apex and I felt like they had been mine for years. The grip fit my hand well and the tool felt balanced, a little less top heavy than the Cobra. Although the shaft is straighter clearance between my hand and the ice was more than enough.

My third placement was a hook. I weighted the tool and it zippered right out. Lucky for me the bridge of my nose stopped the tool from being damaged. The Apex felt more like the Petzl Quark then the Cobra having a different pull which you could feel in the angel of the wrist. It didn’t take long to adjust and the rest of the climbs went well (two more 4s and one full pitch of 5 on second).

I tend to hook and try to not swing past my shoulder with the Cobras. I found that the Apex suited my style of climbing well. The shorter pic length felt more secure on those “barely in swings” and were a lot easier to get out on the “Please, please, please” swings. When slotting icicles or hooking the Cobra’s pics tend to be a little long whereas the Apex dropped into everyone and felt more secure.

Topping out was just as comfortable on the DMM Apex tools. They had the clearance and reach to get over everything I came across. The choke up, step up on top-out with the Apex wasn’t any different and the trigger grip was right where I needed it when I did. In narrower spots the Apex had more room to move and having less curve in the shaft made it easier to move past the tool when stepping up.

The Apex didn’t feel any colder in my hand than the carbon shaft and any vibration must have been absorbed by the gloves if it was there at all. Snow pitches, approaches and walk–offs proved the Apex to be as able as any for plunging through snow. The head weights are removable and the pics didn’t need any tuning out of the box; they went in and out with little to no effort with every placement. They also fit on the back of my BD pack without any issues. If you haven’t had a chance to try the DMM Apex yet, get one, and know for yourself how great these axes are.

03-06-2015, 01:24 PM
great review!
hope you get more days this season too!

homeless junkie
03-07-2015, 06:59 AM
Excellent writing! Really enjoyed reading your post.

03-10-2015, 02:55 PM
Thank you. I finally tracked down a set of DMM Apexes. Had to get them from the U.S. distributor but I got them! If you see out there and want to try them I’d be more than happy to pass them over.

Mick Ryan
03-11-2015, 09:34 AM
Thank you. I finally tracked down a set of DMM Apexes. Had to get them from the U.S. distributor but I got them! If you see out there and want to try them I’d be more than happy to pass them over.


The Mountaineer, Keene Valley, New York: mountaineer.com
Rock and Snow, New Paltz, New York: rockandsnow.com

03-11-2015, 11:41 AM
That sucks, always rather support the local retailer. Sorry guys.

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