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#273459 - 01/02/15 09:46 PM Ice Axe for General Walking?
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2719
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Total ice axe newb here. Not talking climbing, but a multipurpose tool for winter walking on icy trails. I have always used ski poles in the past, but sometimes a sturdier tool would be helpful

I see a number of models in the sub-$100 category. How strong are they really?

I would also want to be able to chop toeholds in icy trails and cat holes for sanitation if necessary. (Doubly useful if a few winter trail newbs are following in my footsteps.)

An added bonus would be as a "dissuader" to dogs running off leash on park trails, or urbanized coyotes that have lost all fear of man. A little reach goes a long way, and ski poles are a bit too flimsy.

Thoughts? Recommendations on brands? Better than mounting a hardware store mini-pick on a sturdy walking stick?

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#273460 - 01/02/15 10:12 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6583
Loc: southern Cal
Your query caused meto check out the offerings at REI. All traditional ice axes were $100 or lessandwere two brands - Grivel and Black Diamond. Both are respected companies who do not sell junk. All should be adequately strong for their intended use.

I have found an ice axe useful for general walking, especially if I needed its capabilities further on during the trip. Just be aware that an ice axe is an edged tool and should be handled with care. A cover for the pick is absolutely necessary.

If you really want to go all out, check out some of the futuristic ice tools. They are more expensive, so obviously they must be more capable (sarcasm alert!). Actually they work for the more extreme types of ice climbing.
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#273461 - 01/02/15 11:40 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1731
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
Total ice axe newb here. Not talking climbing, but a multipurpose tool for winter walking on icy trails. I have always used ski poles in the past, but sometimes a sturdier tool would be helpful

I see a number of models in the sub-$100 category. How strong are they really?


A proper ice axe is rated. The UIAA rating is either 'B' (basic) or 'T'. (technical) Both are used for building dead man snow ankers, so plenty strong. 200KG pick and shaft for the basic rating and 400kg for the technical.

Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout

I would also want to be able to chop toeholds in icy trails and cat holes for sanitation if necessary. (Doubly useful if a few winter trail newbs are following in my footsteps.)


The basic ones have a adze, but the more technical ones, well they might not have them. You need the adze for chopping. Side note, basic ice axes are generally very good toilet roll holders. Just push the shaft in the ground and slide the roll over the pick. Do following park rules.

Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout

An added bonus would be as a "dissuader" to dogs running off leash on park trails, or urbanized coyotes that have lost all fear of man. A little reach goes a long way, and ski poles are a bit too flimsy.

Thoughts? Recommendations on brands? Better than mounting a hardware store mini-pick on a sturdy walking stick?

[/quote]

For your use a simple straight shaft sounds like the one to pick. The cuvrve is nicer when you have to climb steeper things with it. Check if the head is comfortable in the type of grip you will be using. The black diamond seems to be nicer to grip, if you using it walking stick mode, while the Grivel ones are better if you are holding the shaft, ready to brake mode.

If you want good chopping capability, some weight would be nice.
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#273462 - 01/03/15 12:11 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4915
Loc: SOCAL
Another guy here who knows nothing about ice axes, but isn't an ice axe a bit short to use for general walking? I can see having an ice axe available as a tool, but not as a replacement for a walking stick. confused

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#273463 - 01/03/15 02:37 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6583
Loc: southern Cal
Depends. Traditional usage favored an ice axe that functioned perfectly well as a walking stick. Current usage favors a shorter tool, which is better for steeper, more technical terrain. Longer axes are available, but are not as popular as in the past.
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#273464 - 01/03/15 02:46 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2719
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Thanks for your thoughts so far. Keep 'em coming.

Length is a concern for a six-footer like me, even though I have long arms. It looks like 75cm (30 in) is the longest in the $100 category.

But I have often shortened an extendible ski pole to use in "alpenstock" mode on flatter trails, with the top of the grip in the palm of my hand, mostly marking time with it except when I need a little push to get over or around some obstacle or protect my knees. I need to measure that length for comparison.

Edit: By the way, when walking on icy trails, you have to bend your knees to maintain balance and traction. That makes you shorter, a little, and keeps you from landing on your backside more than necessary.


Edited by dougwalkabout (01/03/15 02:50 AM)

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#273465 - 01/03/15 03:46 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1828
Loc: MINNESOTA
i have one and i use it when i'm hiking off trail in the Mississippi backwaters.that time of year when there is not enough snow to ski or use snowshoes but it's still frozen and icy.about 34 inches long it comes up to my waist and i can use it like a cane.


i got this on Ebay some years ago from Germany and i think it's not so much a climbing ax as the sort of thing a hiker would use.



the ax and pick end is sort of dramatic so i have a cover for it when i'm around people.i'm not sure but i read someplace that hotels would rent these out for the weekend ramblers.

the ice spike end and i don't take this on dog walks around town!!






Edited by CANOEDOGS (01/03/15 03:58 AM)

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#273466 - 01/03/15 04:15 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: CANOEDOGS]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2719
Loc: Alberta, Canada
That's gorgeous. I want one! How much does it weigh though?

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#273467 - 01/03/15 04:52 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6583
Loc: southern Cal
If I remember correctly, the head of a traditional ice axe should fit in the closed palm of your hand, standing erect, with the point just impaling the ground. If it will be used for walking on semi technical terrain, longer is better than too short.
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#273468 - 01/03/15 05:25 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1828
Loc: MINNESOTA
Doug it's about 2 pounds on my fairly good fishing scale.



here's a shot of the working end without the cover.
this must be fairly old and i assume they used the wire brush treatment to get the rust off.i would not chop any steps with this as there is a hair line crack where the ax is attached but it makes a fine walking stick and i have used the pick end to pull myself a rough incline.


Edited by CANOEDOGS (01/03/15 06:10 AM)

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