How To: Wrap Your Tools

HOW TO: Wrap your ice tools.

Asking how to wrap your tools seams silly and obvious to some, but no less than a year prior I found myself reaching out to some respected members of the climbing community shamefully asking for guidance (nearly a decade into my climbing career).

I had lived in Europe for three years, 2012-2014, at which time my weekend warrior endeavors involved alpine exploits.  It was not until I moved to Colorado and visited the famous Fang amphitheater in Vail, that I learned to appreciate dry tooling as a sport in and of itself.  For heck’s sake, I literally learned to dry tool on the North Face of the Eiger with my adze embellished Vipers.  So, there I was on my first day ever at the Fang amphitheater rocking Black Diamond Viper tools, adze and suicidal umbilical bungees naturally in tow.  You don’t know what you don’t know, but everyone else knew.

Topped out on the Eiger with my handy dandy Vipers after climbing the North Face via the Original 1938 Heckmair route.

Topped out on the Eiger with my handy dandy Vipers after climbing the North Face via the Original 1938 Heckmair route.

The M-double digit locals took a few hours to feel both my husband and I out before welcoming us weirdos with open arms.  From that experience, I grew as an ice tool wielding climber.  I got my hands on a pair of Trango Raptor Ice tools (sayonara adze!), and tucked away my umbilical bungees before returning to the Fang amphitheater the very next weekend.  Looking a bit more the part, I was introduced to some very serious crushers/professional mixed climbers which led to my introduction to local ice competitor (Ouray 2015,2016), alpine guide and first ascentionist, Phil Wortmann; an all around bad ass I am psyched to now call my friend.

Phil took my husband and I under his wing, sharing the local training grounds with us and I finally asked him what had perplexed me for a while – how the heck do you wrap your tools?

The method I am outlining below is the gold standard from the man himself, Phil Wortmann.  I am now on my second season with this set-up and have helped countless others wrap their tools.

Wrapping Your Tools

Supplies Needed:

Step-by-step Guide

Step Zero (optional):
If you desire a flair color, apply one strip of duct tape just beneath the head, leaving adjustment holes to release pick uncovered.  I used pink (see pictures below), big surprise there.

Step One:
Take tool and decide where you like to bite it when you are on route, you want to make sure you cover this with the mounting tape (provides ease of grip with teeth when in place).

Step Two:
Apply mounting tape, slightly overlapping previous round, all the way up the tool to just beyond where you might bight the tool. Tear away and press tape firmly.

Wrapping with mounting tape

Wrapping with mounting tape

Right tool is finished with mounting tape wrap

Right tool is finished with mounting tape wrap

Step Three:
Apply linerless splicing tape, starting just above position one on non factory wrapped position two tools, or just below mounting tape on factory wrapped position two tools (i.e., Petzl Nomic). Apply just as with mounting tape, overlapping ever so slightly as you wrap up the tool shaft, stopping at your duct tape flair lower edge.

Left tool wrapped with mounting and finished with splicing tape. Right tool untouched (besides flair).

Left tool wrapped with mounting and finished with splicing tape. Right tool untouched (besides flair).

TA-DA! Now go crush some M-double digits!

The finished product. Note – I maintained the factory wrapped 2nd position.

The finished product. Note – I maintained the factory wrapped 2nd position.

Side Note: I like to apply a second position on my less aggressive ice tools (i.e., Black Diamond Viper) to help insulate a second position if I have to match on more challenging ice climbs. For this, I only use the linerless rubber splicing tape.

Wrapped 2nd position on Black Diamond Vipers.

Wrapped 2nd position on Black Diamond Vipers.

Have a question or want to show off your own wrap job? Reach out to us!

 

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Ilana is a native of Southern California. She is an accomplished rock and ice climber and is the brains behind Thrillseekers Anonymous. Currently residing in Colorado, she is a Registered Surgical/Trauma Nurse, who can be found leading her own adventures on days off. Ilana is a sponsored athlete with GoMacro, WoolX, and an Arcteryx Denver ambassador. She has been featured in various media outlets including the February 2015 issue of ‘Climbing’ magazine, December 2013 issue of ‘Rock and Ice’ magazine, December/January 2013 issue of ‘Gripped Climbing’ magazine, Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons (How To Climb Series) by Dave Black and Pasadena Magazine as well as a Climbing Expert on MTV’s Parental Control (Season 7 – “Heather”).

Ilana has written 110 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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