For everything I got on the Ergo was big fun. Even easier to climb with on steep terrain than the original Nomic. With a single exception.
There were a few times (OK be honest more than a few) that I was flagging on. I was getting tired. When that happens I get sloppy. Or it was just really cold. I get sloppy then too.
Somewhere we were soloing easy terrain and I was both cold and tired. And I had big gloves on. When all that happens with a pair of Nomic I now realise that I will often drop my little finger (and sometimes even my ring finger) out of the grip and let them hang below the rotation point on the tool.
But let me back up a bit here. Petzl has gone to great lengths to add a serrated stainless blade to the pommel of the newest tools. With varying levels of success mind you over two seasons. But what we have now allows you to use the Nomic or Ergo on moderate terrain easier and just as importantly (may be more so) add some stability to the tool on steep ice after a pick stick.
Call the serrated blade in the pommel a good thing. Except when it is not.
New Ergo on the left with the older style and smooth pommel piece
New Nomic and the new serrated pommel on the right
I and many others have used the original Nomic in alpine terrain to good effect. You adapt and use the tool differently on moderate terrain. But the serrated pommel allows even more use of the Nomic in the mtns. The pommel change is an improvement in normal conditions.
But on technical ground not so much in a very limited circumstance. Here is why I think so. Even if I don't drop a finger out of the grip, I want as much rotation from the tool as possible. One reason I think the Fusion is an inferior tool for most in comparison to the Nomic. The spike of the Fusion and the serrated blade on the Nomic will eventually limit the rotation of the tool in the palm of your hand.
I might accept that in the Nomic and have with the newest tools and while climbing with the new Fusion and the spike attached.. But on the Ergo...not so much. Changing picks today on my Ergos I got to thinking..."the Ergo would be a better tool for me on really difficult climbing with the older, smooth and non serrated pommel". Easy change. Now if I drop a finger or two I won't mutilate them at the end of the swing. The stainless serrated pommel will do that and shred a pair of gloves as well if they get between your finger and the ice.
That experience can be painful and indelible.
Easy answer? "Does that hurt?" "Then stop doing *IT*!" If I worked at it I could always keep my hands and arms in the bus. But being tired comes with the game as does cold temps and big gloves. Generally if I have my Ergos out I am likely to get bit again. So I changed the pommels to the original style. Depending on what the climb is I might even change out my new Nomic's pommels as well.
Not the typical response when looking at the old or new Petzl tools but something to think about if the parts are available. Everyone seems to want the new serrated pommel on their old tools. I prefer having the option of both style of pommel. And if I had to chose between the two for every condition I'd stay with the smooth, original ones. I know I'll get tired again and I won't keep my hands and arms inside the bus.
Back to the issue of the pommels themselves.
It is not like I am making this stuff up! What happened to the "old days" when a broken grip rest was the rare and only issue with a Nomic?
The new improved 2012-2013 tools just became available again recently in Europe and now here in the US and North America. Already I am getting reports in of loose pommels.
this is typical:
"Interestingly though I've had mine for 1 month now. Bought a brand new pair at full retail as soon as they hit the shops here in Chamonix. The bottom griprest has already started to wobble on me. Pretty annoying but I was just wondering if you knew of anyone who has had the same issue?"
The answer is, yes. The one pictured below is not the first I have heard about or seen.
photo courtesy of a CT reader
A few failures reported both loose inserts and inserts coming out early this winter so it is already obvious the "fix" isn't good enough. A liberal application of steel based epoxy kept my Ergos going all of last winter. Only one size grip though because of it. I'd suggest doing the same to your new tools. And I really hate adding this...as dumb as it might sound.......but be gentle with your pommels. You can imagine just how careful I am with mine when mixing and matching pommels. Which has to be an almost a certain recipe for failure until Petzl decides to do this right again.
Petzl reports the new pommel at double the last versions strength.
"How strong is the GRIPREST?
GRIPREST strength was doubled to withstand loads of 300daN."
pommel photos courtesy of Dave Searle