Hey Ice Climbers, how do you stay in shape during the warmer months and at home between alpine climbs? Climbing rock is a great alternative but it’s not quite the same sensation as being gripped on ice tools while searching for that perfect foot placement. You could use your ice tools to climb artificial walls and rock, However gyms typically frown apon this due to the damage the sharp points can cause. I personally have been searching for a lower impact tool to use on my back yard woody. My tools are great, but if I climb every day I’d end up needing new holds pretty frequently. Not only that, but if I take a ground fall while using real tools I risk injuring myself from the sharp points of my steel ice picks. Furnace Industries, a USA based company out of New York has come up with a clever solution to combat losing your fitness during downtime.
DRY ICE Tools
The Furnace Industries DRY ICE tools! An ice tool that’s not made for ice at all. Instead of a steel ice pick, there’s a rubber loop designed to hook over artificial rock wall holds. The loops feel similar to the type of stiff banded rubber used in the automotive industry to make tires. The rubber loops are bolted securely to a beautifully crafted CNC machined laminated wooden handle that feels much like a real ice tool. This means no damage to your climbing holds from repeated ice tool placement and no climbing injuries from falling on top of your steel tools.
Here’s some specifications supplied by Furnace Industries website:
- Weight per Pair: 1lb 4oz (574g)
- Length: 21 in (53.34 cm)
- Width: 1 in (2.54cm)
- Height: 1.75in (4.44cm)
When handling the DRY ICE tools I felt right at home. They feel much like the shaft of a Petzl Nomic or Black Diamond Fuel. Also extremely similar to Furnace Industries Kronos ice tool (I’ll be reviewing these soon!) A slight forward curve with a two stage grip for matching on. The tools do take some getting used to when in use as they don’t sit quite as far away from the wall when they’re placed on a hold. It didn’t take long for me to get used to the curve and offset of the tools grips.
Route Setting and Holds
This part is important. The Furnace Industries DRY ICE tools require a particular type of hold to be most useful. The DRY ICE tools do not grip on slopers, small jibs, and wide jugs as the loop just can’t get enough surface area to create enough friction to keep you on the hold. However, if the hold has at least A LITTLE bit of a positive profile the tools work great! Small jugs, domes, horns, and some large jugs with features able to hook over work well. I set up my home climbing wall with a series of Rocky Mountain Gear mini-jugs for use with these tools.
These tools have been obviously designed for very specific purpose. Training for mixed climbing. I was skeptical at first that they were a novelty item primarily designed for rock gyms. However, I’ve had these tools for about a month now and they get a lot of use! I go out to my back yard climbing wall every morning for a quick pre-work session. These tools have become my go-to for morning work outs. It’s comforting to know I won’t kill myself if I fall and this leads me to make bolder moves that I wouldn’t attempt if I were holding sharp steel picks. These tools absolutely have their places. Whether its an at home climbing wall, at the rock gym, or simply used for hangboard exercises on a door frame or bedroom wall.
Conclusion and Training Benefits
I haven’t had the DRY ICE tools for a very long time. However, I can say with certainty training regularly with them feels like a tremendous benefit. I may not be using the same technique as I would on real ice or rock. However, I’m still engaging important muscle groups in my hands, arms, core, back, etc… that will give me an advantage when it comes to real stuff! They do not completely replace dry-tooling with real tools but they are the next best thing with a much lower impact. As far as cost? These tools come in at just $99 bucks for a pair! I can’t complain about that.
If you’ve got a gym membership to an indoor rock gym, have a rock wall at home, or just simply want a set of tools to hang from the Furnace Industries DRY ICE tools are a perfect tool to accompany your training. Visit Furnace Industries website at www.furnace-industries.com to pick up a pair for yourself!