View Full Version : DRY ICE Tools Review

01-29-2014, 12:51 PM
My gym won’t let me use my real ice axes indoors, so about a year ago I found these: DRY ICE Tools, available at www.DRYICETools.com.

1021 (www.DRYICETools.com)
The idea is so simple, yet so powerful: wood handles that look and feel very much like my ice axes, with a stuff rubber strap replacing the pick that you loop over the holds in the gym. No sharp edges, no potential for damage to the wall, the pads, my belayer, or myself. At first my gym’s manager was hesitant, but after he saw me use them, he totally got it and it was game on. I can even lead with them and really get a great workout, physically and mentally.

Although I don’t get to train the swinging motion of whacking an axe into ice, I do get a serious pump, building my grip strength, endurance, and lead head. I climb with rock shoes, but I have used my mountain boots on occasion. When I match, I either put the handle in my teeth or hang the other tool from my thumb and swap tools that way.

I use tethers with the tools to make sure they don’t fall on anyone if I drop one, and the tethers have certainly helped when I blew when leading once and the tools went flying. The tethers did their thing, caught the tools and everything was fine. DRY ICE sells two kinds of tethers on their site, Blue Ice Boas and BD Spinners.

The best part about these tools is the grip. DRY ICE has really figured this out. Made of wood, they fit my medium sized hands really well. Because they are made of wood, they absorb my hand sweat. I do not need gloves. In fact, gloves would probably get in the way. Back in the day, I used to use my Quasars in my garage, and I used to crush my pinky fingers, and it was very painful. The DRY ICE handles fix that ‘pinky crush’ phenomenon with their ergonomic handles and I can climb all night with them.

The only issue I’ve had with the tools so far is with route setting. It seems this idea of training indoors using indoor ice tools is so new that the primarily bouldering crew of route setters at my gym don’t fully understand how to set routes for the tools. So I asked them if I could set some routes for the tools and now I have a dicey slab route using very, very small marginal placements that require focus and balance, a long semi steep route to work endurance using decent holds, and a ridiculous figure-4/9-athon in the overhanging lead cave. I bought sets of DRY ICE Holds from their site for the long steep and overhanging routes. DRY ICE Holds are really just a bunch of mini horns that made route setting very simple. They were designed by Jason Kehl and manufactured for DRY ICE by So iLL Holds, so you know they’re legit.

I’ve been made aware that there are a couple other indoor ice tools out there, and my friends have let me demo theirs, but my DRY ICE tools were way more comfortable to use than the other tools on the market.

I've been using DRY ICE Tools for about a year now, and my confidence on steep terrain has definitely improved. I am stronger, my forearms last longer, and I can now charge up 5-5+ terrain without freaking out like I used to. Because I'm stronger, I get to climb more, and as we all know: More Climbing, More Fun!

Hope this helps!

01-29-2014, 01:41 PM
A biased review, perhaps? Maybe that should be saved for the company's website.

01-29-2014, 01:49 PM
I just can't see myself spending $100 on a wood handle and a leather strap. If they were around $20.. then ok, we can talk.

01-29-2014, 02:38 PM
@it'ligo I do not work for the company, but I am friends with the owners, so yes, may be teeny bias, but I really do like them and I wanted to share my experience with them with everyone since there is so little written about them to date. I'll ask the owner if he wants me to put this on the DRY ICE site instead.

01-30-2014, 01:25 PM
I appreciate what the tool has done for me. Less real ice time ( due to work ) shakes my confidence. The tools mimic enough for me, that my head is IN the game when I do get to get out there! Side note: I am in need of new gaitors and I do not want to pay 75 Bucks for them! hahaha

01-30-2014, 05:28 PM
Gear review. I reviewed. See you out there! Cheers :)