Alpkit Brings You Summer Ice...

Innovative new mixed climbing training aid due to launch at summer bouldering festival.

Posted: 4 June 2009
by Jon

Alpkit is launching an innovative new mixed climbing training aid at a French bouldering festival this July.

The Figfour - which recently won the Innovation for Extremes Award - is a cunning wood-based ice axe that's designed to allow mixed climbers - the discipline involves climbing sections of rock with ice axes and is known as 'dry tooling ' - to train effectively on artificial walls, without damaging the holds.

FigFour was modelled in SolidWorks then output to a 3D CNC machine with the wooden shafts being cut from a single sheet of plywood, which is chosen for its good strength to weight ratio. A 7x7 wire is terminated at both ends by swaged balls. This wire is bent round into a loop and elegantly fixed to the shaft by a machined aluminium clamp. Have a look at the clip above and you can see how the loop is used to hook holds without damaging them. Neat.

The device is being launched at the Tout a Blocs bouldering festival held in the alpine villages of L'Argentière la Bessée and Ailefroide, which also host some of the best waterfall ice climbing in the Alps and a corresponding winter festival.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the tools for real in a try it session dubbed 'DryIce' and to quiz FigFour designer Pete Dollman on the design of the tool. Pete will also be demonstrating the use of the FigFour for anyone too lazy to try it for themselves...

More details at

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