The only addition I have to my ice axe collection is the Nomic. I’ve been using Nomics for over 10 years and I love these very technical tools when climbing steep waterfall ice, dry tooling or mixed climbing both in the Lakes, Scotland or the Alps.
These are very specific tools. The very comfortable and shaped ergonomic handle is great when on very steep rock or ice but useless on any approach when moving over more moderate and classic mountaineering terrain. The handle at the bottom of the shaft doesn’t allow you to drive the shaft into steeper snow on any approach or descent when and so gives little or no security.
Having said that, if you’ve considered the approach and descent and weighed up the route that you’re heading into, the Nomic is second-to-none. The curve on the shaft allows you to move around the steepest of ice bulges and features and the weight is perfect for throwing the pick into the ice with the flick of a wrist.
I have small hands and use thinner gloves on any steep pitch and then warmer gloves to belay, but if you do have big hands then the Nomic possibly isn’t for you. On the axe handle, there are three settings, small to large. Both small and medium give the climber great security from a solid grip when climbing leashless, but in the large position you lose all that security and feeling of confidence as the grip feels too open. If you’re buying these tools, first try them with gloves on!