Technical ice-climbing tools traditionally are made from carbon fiber, aluminum, and steel. But New York-based upstart Furnace Industries built a commercial ice tool made from wood.
Why wood? According to the company, with wooden handles hands stay warmer than with metal and other more thermally-conductive materials.
Wood also helps to dampen the impact of each blow to the ice, resulting in less hand and arm fatigue.
While wood may seem like a questionable material for a tool that climbers trust their lives on, Furnace Industries, which makes the Kronos, says the “non-impregnated, densified beech wood laminate” is used in a range of industrial applications, including in the motor sports and aerospace industries.
The tools, CE certified for technical ice climbing, use a wood grade produced to the highest density possible using thin veneers for a dense, stable, high strength laminated board.
The Kronos is CNC machined in two halves, which are bonded with epoxy. The tool steel pick and spike rest between the halves.
- Weight: 1 lb 7.8 oz (675 g)
- Size: one size
- Length: 48.26 cm
- Material: densified beech laminate / hardened tool steel
- Axe comes with a hand-finished removable pick
- Type T Pick available (sold separately)
- The KRONOS Ice Tool has a type T shaft
The brand claims remarkable durability from its tools. Founder Ben Carlson’s personal pair of KRONOS have 2.5 years of heavy dry tooling and ice climbing use, he says, and they have been subjected to abuse as demo tools at ice climbing festivals.
Kronos ice tools sell for $389 online and will begin shipping on January 4.