An Ice Axe can be a crucial part of any backcountry or climbing experience. It can make all the difference between a great day of skiing or mountaineering, and a terrible fall on icy terrain.
An ice knife is essential for mountaineers as well as ice climbers. It’s also a vital safety and rescue device for backcountry ski tourers, skiers on ski tours, hillwalkers traversing snow- or ice-slathered highlands, and hikers on early season mountain trails.
A well-designed and lightweight Ice Axe Maintenance is durable and comfortable to use. It can be used as a self-arrest, a cutting tool or to cut ice.
The most common ice axes feature a head made of metal. It usually includes a pick, an adze, and a pick. Some have a carabiner hole at the centre for affixing an ice axe leash.
There are many types and sizes of ice-axes. The type of terrain you plan to climb, and the type you want in your ice skate should all influence which type you buy.
General-mountaineering axes are usually shorter and more curved than technical-ice-climbing models. They also have a recurvepick, which is useful for cutting steps or avoiding slipping on ice.
Hybrid ice axes are the next step up from general-mountaineering axes and can be helpful for the occasional snow slope or technical ice climb. They have a slightly curved shaft for better clearance, and are suitable to moderate-to-severe ice sections.
They can be used for a variety of tasks, including cutting steps in soft-snow, checking the snowpack’s condition or creating an emergency snow shelter. Some also have a hammer or adze for cutting hard snow and ice.
A good ice axe should be lightweight and durable, as they can easily penetrate brittle ice in cold temperatures. Petzl Sum’tec ice axes are light, weighing in at only 490-grams.
It is essential to select an ice tool that can withstand heavy usage. It is recommended to use heavier ice-axes for long days in mountains. Lighter ice-axes are better for skiing touring and other activities where weight is not an issue.
Using an Ice Axe
The first thing to do when using an electric ice axe is to make sure you have the right grip. You should be able to hold the blade at the top and extend your other hand to reach the ends. For maximum stability, the axe should not touch ground when your arms are at your sides. Instead, it should rest on ground near your feet.
Before you embark on any expedition, practice with your Ice Axe before you go. If you’re a beginner, it may be helpful to take an expert to help you.
You should also practice your iceaxe in different positions like sitting uphill and lying down. This will teach you how you can move the axe safely as well as how to use your adze to pick up the axe when you are in self arrest.