Thursday, 5 January 2012

Schmoolz Review

Ive had a pair of schmoolz for just over a year now and I like to think they that have allowed me to improve my winter climbing and dry tooling ability. Schmoolz are indoor ice axes allowing you to simulate winter climbing or dry tooling on indoor plastic holds without damaging the holds, or yourself, with all the sharp bits.Since using Schmoolz I have managed to finish in an overall second place in the Scottish Tooling Series and pushed my winter grade to VIII 8, all be it not on lead.
Schmoolz look abit like nomics, or pretty much any other technical tool on the market. They have a big lower finger rest, which is abit too narrow when you first use them, and a smaller upper grip rest. The narrow grip rest does mean your little finger can go numb, but after a while this stops happening.
Schmoolz allow you to work the same muscles as you would using real axes, so are a good way of training endurance and strength. You can also train movement techniques, swapping axes and practice just holding the axes. Holding axes sounds simple but you don't want to be over gripping and getting pumped when on your real axe you will have a nice friendly grip rest to use now do you.

Some may say that having a rubber loop over a big jug is going to be more stable than using an axe placement. That may be true but if you branch out from jugs onto slopers things get abit more interesting. In my experience a bad sloper with one of these feels atleast as bad as a bad axe placement. A quick tip: If you want your Schmool to stick on that horrible sloper just stare at it and it won't dare move.
There are some things you can't practice for with schmoolz such as stein pulls and torques. It says on the info that comes with them that your only suposed to hold the wooden handle and not stick it into jugs, so you can't get around it that way.
Id like to see Schmoolz make some sort of indoor crampon, as im really not great with crampons on rock. With a pair of schmoolz crampons and axes your winter training would be pretty much as good as the real thing, if not better as there won't be any spin drift.   
So like the other 7 out of 10 cats I would completely recomend schmoolz to anyone wanting to practice for using axes for real or just finding a new way to climb any of the old problems at your local wall. Best of all they're just really good fun.

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