The Krukonogi 00(A) picks won the Verti Call Choice Award in the Performance category and here's why!
If only the ice was always like butter, I would probably be good to climb WI4 with a sharp adze. Just kidding! The terrain shows that ice is often very hard, especially in a cold country like Canada. The difficulty of any routes can change drastically depending on the type of ice, and the coldest ice makes climbing much harder than softer ice. That's why climbers are continuously asking for more optimized picks for very hard (solid) ice because good picks are definitively a game-changer. There is only one recipe for a pick to perform in cold and hard ice; the pick must be very sharp and as thin as possible. It's simple! Every brand and manufacture knows this but they are limited by the strength and quality of their steel. Too thin, the pick bends or breaks leaving you with more problems.
Steel. I mean STEEL! This is where Krukonogi performs. I haven't seen any regular manufacturer that can come near the strength of the armour steel use by Krukonogi. This is why they can produce a pick with such a thin profile.
With a tip dimension of 3.1mm x 6.2mm, the 00 picks disturbed very few ices. It's more prone to stick on the first shot with less effort, saving time and energy. Disturbing less ice does not only means swinging less often but also less falling ice keeping your rope and belayer safer.
We don't care about the pick size at the head of the tool. What counts is the tip; the first millimetres that go into the ice are crucial. Please, if you read this, go find the pick on your tool and take a look at the measurement. I did this exercise with so many picks. My result is that finding a pick as thin as 3.1mm is not impossible but the 6.2mm from top to bottom is where Krukonogi wins the race. Most picks from other brands optimized for ice are 7.5mm to 9mm in that area leaving with a difference of more than 1.3 mm. You might not think it is a big difference but try it in the field and you will see, it is! The tip is also very sharp with impressive long tapered sides for such a thin pick.
Here is the real question: should I need to change my tools to take these picks? That's a valid question and the answer is probably "no!" because they are compatible with the most popular tools on the market. Here is the list of 00 picks available:
PXS00(A) for Cassin
PXS00(A,TN) for Cassin
PN00(A) for Petzl
PNS00(A) for Petzl
PR00(A) for Trango
PF00(A) for Black Diamond is coming soon
PGM00(A) for Grivel is coming soon
Pick for Kailas is coming soon
and more to come
There are slight differences between every 00. Dimensions are the same but not the geometry.
PXS00(A) and PXS00(A,TN) for Cassin
The slightly wavy edge at the tip (red line) contributes to narrow the pointed tip by putting the top of the tip further away from the initial hit into the ice.
In the next picture, notice the unique shape of the tip. To be honest I don't know how this geometry contributes or not in penetration. It might just strengthen the tip which is needed. The edge at the top of the tip is "square".
PNS00(A) for Petzl
Pretty similar to the PXS00(A) for Cassin except there is no slightly wavy tip. Also, the top of the tip is more rounded, which in my opinion gives better penetration and better retrieval while stuck in ice but with such a thin tip it is not significant on performance vs the PXS00(A).
PR00(A) for Trango
My favourite! Not only the price is much cheaper but I think it's the best one. Same tip as the PNS00(A) for Petzl with a rounded top of the tip but the second tooth is 3mm further from the tip which is something I really like. Might just be a personal preference but I like a big scoop between the tip and the first tooth. Also, the teeth are further apart and are all wavy backward shapes instead of triangular. Take a look at the differences on the next pic: PR00(A) for Trango above and PNS00(A) for Petzl bottom.
Feedback by the Crew
Prototypes of the 00 for Cassin and Petzl were tested by our crew since winter 2019-2020 and by some of the best ice climbers in Canada that I know. The reactions were always amazing. The feedback I heard the most is: "I can climb effortlessly, I don't even have to swing for sticking the pick, no more needs for pick weight, it's cheating, I can reach another level just by using these picks". Those feedbacks seems pretentious but experienced climbers really said them.
Is this the pick for everything?
Absolutely not. Don't forget that despite the good strength of the Krukonogi's armour steel, such a low profile brings some weakness. If you hit a rock you might chip the delicate tip and lose the performance. Krukonogi picks are not cheap so not cool to damage it after a day only. A 0 pick is still very good in cold density ice but still stronger than 00 and will also perform well in mixed terrain. If you climb ice in a warmer area with soft ice, you might want to go with a 0 or a 1 pick for your ice route.
If your stuff is drytooling or competition, then a Krukonogi pick 5 or 7 are our clear contenders for a Performance Choice Award.
For a better understanding of Krukonogi picks read: Krukonogi - Ice, Mixed & Drytooling Picks Guide.
Is the Krukonogi 00 pick the best pure ice pick? Yes, in my opinion! The Krukonogi armour steel strength gives the possibility to make the thinnest and narrowest profile pick's tip to disturbed less ice as possible and save energy. Ice climbing will become easier, given the possibility to go on harder routes you wouldn't think about.