Petzl Quark Ice Tool

  • Petzl Quark Ice Tool Reviewed 2019 GearWeAre
9.0
9.0 score
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Petzl Quark Ice Tool Review Facts

Mountaineering is a sport that involves scaling and descending mountains in a certain time frame. For this sport, you need physical strength and problem-solving skills, as well as good gear. One of the most important things needed to be successful is an ice ax. This tool comes in handy when the need to maintain balance or self-arrest, stopping yourself from unplanned sliding, becomes an issue. It can also be used as a temporary snow anchor, as well as a speed control device while glissading, which is purposeful sliding. An ice ax is a necessary safety tool that can be of use whether you are on Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro the prominent Mount Everest or other lesser known mountains. The Petzl Quark is a reliable and functional, and it will prove to be a good companion on the side of any mountain you find yourself on.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Customizable

Versatile

Curved handle 

Good grip

Reasonably priced

Durable

Tapered ice pick

Cons

Small tool

Shorter than other models

General Dimensions

General Dimensions

One of the characteristics of the Petzl Quark is that it is on the smaller side. Now, this can either be a positive or a negative trait dependent on the needs of the buyer, but at 19 inches in length, 1.21 pounds (550 grams) with accessories and 1.01 pounds (460 grams) without accessories, this ice ax is slimmer and lighter than some of its counterparts. If heavy duty materials are a necessity for your trip, then reconsider buying this modestly sized product. However, if your needs suit the model of a smaller ice tool, such as a short day trip or a smaller mountain, then the Petzl Quark is a good choice. Furthermore, the ice pick is tapered to a 3.3mm diameter, which is usually not the case and can provide an added edge when picking ice. This may seem like a minute detail, but the tapered edge provides a more focused penetration point that breaks ice more efficiently than if it were blunter.
Ergonomics

Ergonomics

The design of an ice pick is paramount to its function. One way to ensure safety and efficiency is to make sure that the design of the tool fits the needs of both yourself and your trip. With the Petzl Quark, the construction is modular, meaning that the tools can be adjusted in any direction or way in order to suit your needs. The technical parts of the ax can be manipulated, which provides freedom to customize. Having the versatility of moveable parts allows the user to have a comfortable and safe experience according to their wants, as opposed to making do with a less flexible ice tool. Furthermore, due to the curve, the shaft is formed for optimal grip in the middle, which especially comes in handy for snow couloirs, narrow gullies on alpine terrains that are filled with snow. A solid grip is arguably one of the most important aspects of an ice ax because if the tool falls out of your hand for any reason, you will be in huge trouble. Injury and even death are unfortunate but realistic concerns for people who participate in mountaineering, making the good grip on the Petzl Quark that much more important, because it may save your life. Moreover, the bottom finger rest of the Petzl Quark is easily foldable, while the top finger rest is adjustable. Both of these allow for planting the ice pick in the snow without worry of it getting lost, as well as an even better and more comfortable grip when desired. Finally, this tool is also picked weight compatible, which means that the pick can have an added weight for more power if the ice is hard and more force is necessary.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

An easily maneuvered ice ax is so important to consider while looking for a good tool. The mental and physical safety of knowing exactly how to wield your ice ax can provide comfort in the face of dangerous and tiresome outdoor situations. Rest assured that the Petzl Quark is easy to use. As mentioned before, the shaft of this tool has a banana-like curve. This curve works to make the swing feel more natural, where a user can swing from their elbow instead of putting their entire shoulder into the action. Being able to swing from a lower point not only feels better but can also help to conserve energy in the midst of grueling conditions. It may seem unnecessary to think that swinging from the shoulder can be taxing, but when on the side of an icy mountain—every bit of preserved energy counts. Imagine being on the side of a mountain all day, and running out of energy as the day progresses. When muscles start to become sore and morale is low, simple comforts such as less movement on your swing can bring reprieve. As an added touch, there is no reverberation in the grip when the head of the tool hits something, which provides for a smoother experience overall.
Features

Features

This tool comes with a myriad of features, which is excellent if versatility is a desired trait. The aggressive, serrated pick design creates for unshakeable placements in the snow, which is a necessary trait for safety reasons. An ice ax that will not easily fall out of its placement is not in danger of being lost underneath the heavy tufts of snow, or falling and being lost forever. The handle is nonslip, over-molded, hydroformed and dual density, which all means that it is fortified and provides an excellent grip, all while protecting from the cold. Of course, this tool is meant to be used in freezing temperatures. Any protection from the cold is welcome as every little bit counts in harsh weather. When battling subzero temperatures, protection from the cold becomes a necessity in order to maintain safety. Fingers can be lost to frostbite, so every measure to protect yourself should be taken. As stated before, the shaft is curved below the head and contours to your hand, as well as a grip at the bottom in order to protect your hands from chafing and other ailments if you find yourself without hand protection. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, the ice pick is tapered at the end which allows for versatility no matter the weather, snow, ice, or mixed. The included hex wrench can easily remove the pick and hammer components with a few revolutions, so there is no need to worry about purchasing a device that can do that for you. Lastly, the hammer is capable of shattering ice which is a feature that can be helpful if you encounter hard ice during your travels.
Portability

Portability

While mountaineering, it is important to be cognizant of the amount brought along in your pack to ensure that overpacking does not occur. Weighing yourself down with unnecessary bulk will make you tired and sore quicker when climbing rather than a basic pack with light gear and necessities. At a slender 1.21 pounds, this ice pick is light and easily portable. Buyers would forget it was there if it was not such an important tool! It can be slipped into any form of carrying gear without worry of weighing the pack down or being cumbersome. Also, it can be easily carried in your hands without worry of causing fatigue or pain from being too heavy. If participating in any trip where the goal is to save space, such as a lite camping or a short trip, then easily slip the Petzl Quark in your gear without worry of wasting space.
Best Applications

Best Applications

The Petzl Quark is a versatile tool, but the best use is for scaling and descending slopes in icy weather, whether glaciers or mountains. This ice ax is advertised for use during technical mountaineering, a form of mountaineering where a rope and another means of protection are involved. It is also marketed toward people participating in moderate ice climbing. Hikers could also put this tool to use if expecting icy conditions on their trip. This tool is not recommended for the buyer who does not plan on encountering either snow or ice while climbing, as there would be no use for it then.
Comparison to Other Brands

Comparison to Other Brands

In comparison to its counterparts, the Petzl Quark is lighter and has more features, two selling points. However, the hammer and adze, an arched blade at the head of the tool, are smaller than other ice axes on the market. Now, this can be either a good thing or a bad thing. If you are embarking on a no-frills trip and feel that the bigger tools are unnecessary or will get in the way of day-to-day activities, then smaller tools are better. However, small tools can be a drawback if the user is accustomed to larger ones that are stronger and able to perform more tasks. If the smaller tools are a problem, the head of this tool is interchangeable and bigger tools can be placed in order to fix that problem.
Value

Value

Mountaineering is not a cheap hobby. After factoring the costs of climbing passes, all different sorts of gear, training classes, and transportation, the expenses can quickly become overwhelming. This product does decently well in terms of value. The Petzl Quark is comprised of materials such as aluminum, steel, and glass fiber reinforced plastic, all materials known for their longevity and fortitude. Strong materials coupled with the number of features that come with this device justify the price, which is mid-range for other ice axes. Overall, this is a tool that will provide consumers with a good amount of features while being easy on their pockets.
The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

If you frequent alpine terrains and are in need of a reliable, sturdy, and customizable ice ax that will provide comfort and safety in the face of bitterly cold winter winds and dangerous snowy conditions, then the Petzl Quark is the exact device you need. With an interchangeable, flexible head, curved shaft and included tools such as a hammer, tapered ice pick, adze, and more, this ice ax will cover your needs whether you are new to mountaineering or are summiting your twentieth mountain. With materials built to last and at a reasonable price, you can expect this device to pay for itself throughout the years.