Last summer, we posted about Pete Dollman and his Figfour invention. UK outdoor company Alpkit stepped up to bring the Figfour to market and now the mixed climbing training aid is finally available for order. No more getting pumped as soon as you hit the ice tools next winter, since after training with the Figfours at your local climbing wall this summer, you will be in perfect shape.
Figfour axes are a training aid for mixed climbing that allows you to practice dry tooling techniques and develop the strength required for ice climbing, all at a normal indoor climbing wall. The Figfours are a perfect tool for those of us not lucky enough to train at Mountain Athlete or have our own indoor cave for dry tooling practice.
Climbing with the Figfours is as close as you can get to mixed climbing without actually having picks. Being creative with your choice of routes on the indoor wall, you can train pretty effectively for a wide variety of winter terrain. Short steep boulder problems can help build power, while long juggy routes will build your endurance for ice or bigger rock pitches. When using sketchier, slopier holds, you can emulate the delicate hooking excitement of mixed climbing. The Figfours also allow you to easily practice moves particular to ice and mixed climbing such as fig 4s, fig 9s and even swapping hands.
The Figfour features an ergonomic plywood shaft with double hand grip that is meant to mimic your grip on normal ice tools. Custom aluminum fixings attach two 32cm reinforced rubber loops that mold to any climbing hold. The mixed climbing training aid weighs only 700 grams for the pair of axes and can withstand 3kn of force.
The Figfour mixed climbing training aid can be bought from Alpkit for £55.32 plus £15 for Fedex shipping outside of the UK. I have just ordered mine! Now I need to get that training wall built in my garage…..