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Ice axe leash question(s)

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Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby jaymz » Sat May 25, 2013 8:26 pm

What would be the pros/cons of the type of leash that connects to your harness/pack vs. the the type that goes around your wrist?
Anybody tried it both ways and prefer one over the other? Or is the difference negligible?

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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby pseudoghost » Sat May 25, 2013 8:53 pm

Pack/harness is the way to go. That way you can switch the axe from hand-to-hand relatively easily without having to change the leash everytime you change directions on the mountain.

You don't have to buy a special leash. Just find a way to hook it to your pack/harness. The leash is only intended to keep you from losing the axe in the case of a fall.

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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby unclegar » Sat May 25, 2013 9:03 pm

I keep my leash wrapped around the ax with just enough slack to grab the top. This way if you fall you still have your ax where you need it and it won't get jerked by the cord and end up in your forehead. I only leave more slack if I'm using the pointy end. When I switch back to using the shaft, I tighten it back to no slack again. This has worked well for me. I tend to use my right hand most of the time anyway, but will stop and dig in to change to the left if I get tired. With the leash short it is fairly easy to switch to the other wrist. jmho.
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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby climbingaggie03 » Sun May 26, 2013 1:17 am

I used to use a wrist leash and it was fine, but lately I've quit using a leash. I just keep my axe in my hand.

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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby HuskyRunner » Sun May 26, 2013 7:29 am

Many years ago a couple of guides in the Cascades demonstrated to us why they like a leash attached from your pack's haul loop to a loop at the head of the axe and I've been using it ever since. Use something like 5-7mm cord and play with the length until you find what you like. The things I like about the leash to the pack are:
On a slope I can sink the axe and then take off the pack without worrying about losing it.
On short scrambling sections I like to slip the axe between my back and pack (horizontally) and the leash ensures I don't lose the axe and doesn't get in my way
On crevassed terrain if I were to fall into a hole I can easily clip the axe and pack to the rope and escape the pack without worrying about the extra effort trying to clip the pack to the line.

About the only downside to the leash to the pack is flipping the leash over your head each time you need to switch the axe over to the other hand. I've found that after a while it becomes second nature but it does take some adjustment.

Suggest you play around with the various leash arrangement and see what works for you.
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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby jaymz » Sun May 26, 2013 8:47 pm

Thanks for the responses! I wasn't sure if there was some hidden danger or disadvantage to connecting it to a pack or harness that might not be immediately obvious to me.

climbingaggie03 wrote:I used to use a wrist leash and it was fine, but lately I've quit using a leash. I just keep my axe in my hand.

Just be glad my clumsy @$$ isn't asking what sort of tape to use to attach the thing to my hand.

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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby 3rdGenNative » Sun May 26, 2013 10:17 pm

When I went out to St. Mary's this winter with a bunch of WAY cool guys from this site, someone had one of these: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/ice-axes-piolets/slinger-leash/ I absolutely hated having my axe leashed to my hand because of having to switch it every time I changed direction. Wearing gloves didn't make it any easier. Yes, I paid $ for it, which I hate to do, but since it's elastic it's short when you need it short, long when you need it long and you can easily move your axe when hiking switchbacks.
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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby jaymz » Mon May 27, 2013 5:41 pm

3rdGenNative wrote:When I went out to St. Mary's this winter with a bunch of WAY cool guys from this site, someone had one of these: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/ice-axes-piolets/slinger-leash/ I absolutely hated having my axe leashed to my hand because of having to switch it every time I changed direction. Wearing gloves didn't make it any easier. Yes, I paid $ for it, which I hate to do, but since it's elastic it's short when you need it short, long when you need it long and you can easily move your axe when hiking switchbacks.

That's actually the leash that got me wondering which would be better, saw it at REI and it got me thinking. I have the BD slider leash, but there doesn't seem to be any reason not to be able to attach it to my pack like pseudoghost suggested.
To shift the topic a tad, what are some good places to practice self-arrest in mid-late June, besides St.Mary's? I'd like to keep it within an hour or so of Denver.

Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby Steve Climber » Mon May 27, 2013 6:03 pm

3rdGenNative wrote:When I went out to St. Mary's this winter with a bunch of WAY cool guys from this site, someone had one of these: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/ice-axes-piolets/slinger-leash/ I absolutely hated having my axe leashed to my hand because of having to switch it every time I changed direction. Wearing gloves didn't make it any easier. Yes, I paid $ for it, which I hate to do, but since it's elastic it's short when you need it short, long when you need it long and you can easily move your axe when hiking switchbacks.


I was one of the cool guys on that trip 8) :lol: and saw that leash too. Looked like a nice addition.

For what it's worth, I have the standard wrist leash on my axe and have never had any issues with keeping it leashed to right hand and using it in left. Maybe that is technically wrong (?) but I've been doing it since I got my axe and have arrested with left hand several times with no problems.
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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon May 27, 2013 6:12 pm

aboynamedmargrette wrote:
For what it's worth, I have the standard wrist leash on my axe and have never had any issues with keeping it leashed to right hand and using it in left. Maybe that is technically wrong (?) but I've been doing it since I got my axe and have arrested with left hand several times with no problems.


While it feels abnormal and bothers some to have the leash string across while on the "wrong" wrist while climbing from time to time - the whole point is to have it tethered to you first and foremost. I was also bothered by the switch, so now I have my axe on a leash with a caribiner attached to my pack, or my harness.
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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby jrs1965 » Mon May 27, 2013 7:29 pm

I use a leash and an improvised sling on my axe. Obviously the leash where an ice self arrest might be required. For the sling I use a 120cm cordelette routed through the head of my axe and attached at the other end to my harness or belt with a locking D-ring. Sling saved my butt once when I took a spill/flip in a talus field and dropped my axe. Axe ended up getting lodged between the rocks and I came to an abrupt stop...

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Re: Ice axe leash question(s)

Postby dannymiller15 » Tue May 28, 2013 3:55 pm

I just started using the BD Slinger leash referenced by 3rdGenNative above and I like it a lot - more than i expected. I attach it to my climbing harness, not my pack.

Things I liked... It was definitely easier to switch hands and do other things while climbing. I like the quick-clip on one end of the leash. I found that I would frequently move the leash to the head of the axe when using it in walking mode, but found that I liked the leash attached to the spike at the bottom of the axe when climbing (this may be because I found the leash to be a little too short when climbing). Self-arrest did not seem any different than my previous wrist leash. In mixed climbing, I found it very quick to just store the axe in one of the gear loops on my harness when going between rock and snow sections. It just seemed very natural and convenient to use.

Instead of using a girth hitch to secure the leash to my harness (as recommend by Black Diamond), I just used a small binner. I found that to be a lot more convenient and quicker - particularly when storing the axe on my pack.

Would recommend the product.

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