An Ice Axe is the most essential piece of equipment for winter climbing. It can be used for everything, from snow and ice climbing to skiing mountaineering to rescue and rescue. It can be a difficult decision to make the right axe, so it is important that you know what you are looking for before purchasing.
The ice axe is a technical tool, so it’s important to choose a model that suits your skill level and the type of climbing you plan on doing most often. The weight, curvature and material of the shaft all play a role in how well it performs.
A piolet will be more suitable if you are climbing on steeper terrain. This is because ice tools with a curving shaft tend to twist away from the downward force-axis. This can lead them to fall less frequently and pose a greater risk of injury.
You should also ensure that the axe’s head is comfortable to grip and doesn’t pinch your hands. It should be made out of lightweight materials, such as aluminium and carbon fiber, that can easily penetrate the snow.
You may want to buy additional accessories depending on your personal preference to make your ice-axe more useful in the mountains. These accessories include a leash-stop, snow basket, and pick and adze protection.
A leash stop is a rubber- or metal keeper that holds the leash to the shaft of your iceaxe so it doesn’t slip while you’re downhill. A snow basket is similar in function to a ski pole basket and serves as a temporary mounting point for the Ice Axe vs Crampons, so it doesn’t sink into the snow.
The adze also plays an important role in your ice tool. Make sure that it can penetrate snow without damaging the blade. The adze is an excellent tool for hiking or mountaineering who does not want to wear crampons. It will cut down steps and make it easier to walk uphill in the snow.
You can also use the adze for self-arrest on slippery slopes, especially on small slopes. To prevent the adze from biting you, press it into the hollow under your collarbone.
A common self-arrest technique is to drive the adze into the snow, then turn your body so that you’re lying on your stomach and your feet are pointing downhill. You can then burry the pick into the snow so that it’s deep enough to prevent you from sliding back uphill.
By driving your ice saw horizontally or vertically, and then clipping a carabiner to its base, you can create a snow anchor. This can be used to support a seated position while belaying or to add a second point for an existing snow anchor.