Ueli Steck on the m6 Direct Start to the Super Couloir. Jon Griffin photo and link here:
The original Ergo was one of the new tools that started the mixed tool explosion. That was several generations ago now and it is obvious that dbl handled tools are here to stay. Once thought an esoteric in design and for the specialists only it became a pretty common place design along with the BD Reactor and other newer tools from a few companies playing catch up.
Then the Nomic came out. Even more radical in design and appearance it didn't take long for almost everyone to realise just how good the Nomic was and how much easier it made ice and mixed climbing. The radical shaft shape and lack of hammer didn't stop the Nomic users from getting on everything from easy alpine ice to hard M8 all with the same tool. And amazingly almost everyone happy with it!
The newest Ergo is another big jump in shaft and handle design. You now have an extremely high clearance shaft and the option of three supported hand positions.
To be honest I am still learning how to climb on a Nomic after 5 seasons and figure I have yet to fulfill its potential.
The new Ergo is a big step up on the Nomic's potential from what I first see, visualise and can act upon even now.
Another look at the new Ergo here with good pictures:
More here from someone who can actually use the new Ergo as intended:
In the grand scheme of the Ergo I am a gumby climber. But then I am a gumby as well when you look at who the Nomic was designed for. It is a true stroke of genius to have a tool like the Nomic that climbers at any skill can take advantage of. The question is can a gumby take advantage of what the Ergo has to offer and will it up your game over the Nomic?
For what it is worth the Ergo is an amazing piece of kit even for a beginner on mixed. Easy or hard terrain and with no concern for your climbing ability imo the Ergo is a rather big step up in performance over every previous ice tool I have used. There is little question it really excels on vertical terrain, mixed or ice. But you can just as easily climb Grade 3 water ice with the Ergo as you can with an original Quark or a Nomic for that matter. The more horizontal grip of the Ergo really has a grip strength advantage over even the Nomic'c excellent grip profile. Enough so that the Ergo's grip kept me on a climb that I should have and would have blown off an Nomic's grip when I popped both feet trying to get on an icicle while coming off mixed terrain.
The new grip angle is a big advantage on difficult terrain and doesn't seem to have any down sides or easy terrian that I can tell. It is easy enough to move your hands up the shaft as the terrian looses angle. The other big advanatge I see form the previous generation of Nomics is the serrated lower grip pommel. The serrated steel blade really does offer good bite on the ice and makes the tool much more stable. More so than I ever thought it would. Big plus here. Down side is the Nomic and Ergos pommel attachment design is seriously flawed and is prone to quick failure. Which makes the tool pretty worthless.
I really like this tool. Much more so than I had ever envisioned. It works very well on any mixed or pure ice terrain. Even the easy stuff and is exceptional on the vertical stuff. I can see this being the only tool many climbers will own and they will be satisfied by doing so. The only down side from a huge positive recommendation for a beginner wanting to climb harder and get better, to the proficient hard core mixed master, is the poor pommel design that Petzl is obviously going to have to fix sooner than later.
But there is enough advantages to the new shaft design that I am going to figure out a away to make my set of Ergos reliable enough to take onto some serious alpine mixed terrain.
(see the other post for the details on the Nomic Ergo "failures")