This is the new and updated version of Petzl's classic and very popular ice axe. The two most obvious changes for the updated Quark are in the totally modular headset and the addition of the Trigrest on the grip. The new headset means that the tool can be set up with either a hammer or adze, or neither - for those looking to cut down on the grams. (Without accessories the tool weighs only 460g).
The new Trigrest is a great feature and allows the grip to be instantly adjusted - a good grip position being the foundation of a tool when climbing leashless. The index finger trigger simply flips up to allow the unit to be slid up or down the shaft, and then locks back down into place - perfect if you need to change between different thicknesses of glove mid-route.
The Quark comes supplied with the Ice pick which as its name suggests is primarily designed with ice in mind with a 3mm tapered tip. Although being T-rated it should stand up OK to being torqued into cracks during mixed use, and is a stable enough shape for hooking. For water ice, Masselottes pick weights (not included) can be added to help drive in the pick - especially useful if the hammer and adze have been removed.
The Quark features an ergonomic over-molded handle which provides a good grip, even for small hands, as well as insulation from the cold. The lower part of the shaft penetrates snow perfectly when the ice axe is used without the griprest. The shaft is T rated so can be used as a belay. With this versatility the new Quark is surely a contender for the best all-rounder on the market being able to cope with all disciplines from Scottish Winter Mixed, through Cascade Ice to technical High Altitude use.