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Ice Axe Information

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby CO Native » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:01 pm

strat1080 wrote:That is one tall axe you got there. :lol:

skier25 wrote:I'd say that the steeper snow you climb, the shorter the axe can be. I am six-foot-one and I personally use one that's 65 inches long and I've never had any trouble. Make sure you get a nice light one too (don't compromise strength though).


It's not the size of your axe, it's how you swing it! :oops:

Although a 5 foot 5 inch axe is impressive.
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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby Athos791 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:24 pm

Thanks for all the replies, seems like im going to try a few out before i buy my own... 5 foot 5 axe...very impressive
"We go to the mountains to satisfy our own ambitions, not because others evaluate what we are doing." -Anatoli Boukreev

Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby shredthegnar10 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:40 pm

I'm 5'7" and mine is 65cm... it works fine generally but if I were to get another one I'd probably want something a bit shorter.
There's a fine line between being a badass and being a dumbass.

ACONCAGUA STYLE

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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby sburke16 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:01 am

You can pick up the Raven directly from Black Diamond cheap right now.
http://www.bdel.com/php/allspecials.php

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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby firsttracks » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:58 am

This will be a somewhat different opinion: I don't carry an ice axe. Instead, I carry an ice tool. If the snow is steep enough for me to worry about falling, the shorter tool comes in handy. Otherwise, I'm using my ski poles.

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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby jspydr » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:40 am

The mountaineering bible (Freedom of the Hills, 7th edition) recommends 70cm for snow and glacier travel. It's not because of height, but correct positioning for self arrest, I think, which is the main reason for carrying an ice axe for snow and glacier travel. When climbing 14ers, 99% of us will never need it for anything else. Also the angle of the pick (positive/negative relative to the shaft) affects how well you can self arrest. Technical axes don't work as well for self arrest. If you get in a position where you need technical axes, you're either off route, or you're in Ouray.
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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby firsttracks » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:12 am

I'll clarify my prior post:

I use an ice tool (BD Venom) with a self-arrest pick (not a technical pick). It self-arrests just fine. I carried around a 70cm ice axe for years, but I've been carrying the ice tool instead because of its shorter length and greater versatility.

Like I said, it's a different opinion than what most people will give you. But, it works for me. I like ski poles for better balance in less vertical terrain. (A self-arrest grip is a good idea there, too.) When things get steep (and I worry about stopping my fall), I prefer a short tool.

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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby ikkythump » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:39 am

My caution on using a ice TOOL as opposed to an axe on non vertical glacier travel would be, that Ice tools have significantly different shape and the adze is much more aggressive. This puts the climber in a difficult position for self arrest. The handle of the ice tool is diffuclt to manage under your body, and the aggressive point will present challenges with stopping.

Additionally, your axe is intended (designed) to be used as an anchor, or belay. The long, striaght handle and, head loop make this possible.


Probably the best advice to any climber is to "have something." Either one can save your life...
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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby CG_old » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:46 pm

I'm 6'2" and use a 75cm axe for non-technical snow climbs. For really steep stuff I switch to two tools, so I tend to prefer a longer length for my general axe. Try some out and see what you like... it's a personal preference thing.

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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby sburke16 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:50 pm

I think Freedom of the Hills ( maybe another book?) says it unless to have an axe if you don't know how to use. Meaning practice your self arrest technique in a non dangerous scenario before you need it. If you don't have proper technique, you are just carrying an extra pound of aluminum and steel.

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Re: Ice Axe Information

Postby cheeseburglar » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:05 pm

sburke16 wrote:I think Freedom of the Hills ( maybe another book?) says it unless to have an axe if you don't know how to use. Meaning practice your self arrest technique in a non dangerous scenario before you need it. If you don't have proper technique, you are just carrying an extra pound of aluminum and steel.


The warning is in there because if you don't know how to use an ice axe there is a significant risk you will poke yourself with it!
Most MOFA courses have some coverage of first aid for a punctured lung, due to the chances of stabbing yourself in the gut with your own ice axe.

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