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#273556 - 01/07/15 12:26 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: Tjin]
Tom_L Offline
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Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Originally Posted By: Tjin
I remember the one time I was in team of 4 roped up and walking up a glacier with crampons and axes. A local guy just walked up next to us like it's a simple hike without crampons and a alpenstock. He was like twice as quick.


Exactly, that was kinda my point though I'm not sure I made it clear enough. When it comes to hiking/climbing aids and economy of movement less is more, generally speaking. And more gear does not necessarily translate into more safety, particularly if you don't know how to use that gear correctly.

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#273558 - 01/07/15 03:10 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: Tom_L]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Originally Posted By: Tom_L


******

An ice axe is a different and much more modern tool, however. In the Alpine tradition it is always used together with crampons, which are considered *the* primary bit of kit for winter & glacier climbing.

******

YMMV. smile


Tom,

I understand what you are saying, but the ice axe has been around since the mid 1800's. A common use is that described by hikermor in a previous post -- "It is not for high angle technical climbs, but more for crossing snowfields -superlight (carbon fiber and titanium) and I would check to see if the longest available length (70 cm)is long enough. For the price, you might be able to order something longer" -- describing a superlight axe. They do not always go together (in some places they seldom go together). Often the reverse is true as well, crampons but no ice axe. It all depends on the situation.

I agree that it is not always the best tool for general use, particularly if you have a climbing axe (way too short) but it can be a useful adjunct in cases where it is unlikely to be needed for self arrest. It is one of the best available tools for removing frozen tent stakes while winter camping. smirk

Respectfully,

Jerry


Edited by JerryFountain (01/07/15 03:20 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity

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#273559 - 01/07/15 03:48 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: JerryFountain]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7292
Loc: southern Cal
Historically, ice axes were developed well before crampons and step-cutting was a well developed skill. Alpine climbers then (1890-1920s) universally wore nailed boots, which I understand, gripped pretty well on ice, especially at low angles...
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#273563 - 01/07/15 06:57 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: hikermor]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2159
Loc: Colorado
Maybe I'm too old and cautious these days, but an ice ax is one of the last things I'd want as a hiking stick. I had one decades ago that I used occasionally, and exclusively in deep snow/ice. Scary pointy and aggressive. Good for self defense during a zombie apocalypse maybe (but be careful because the saw type teeth would act as barbs and make it hard to release the zombie after striking). But a danger to myself as a general purpose hiking stick. Way too short as well. Maybe OK if you're hiking on steep total snow and ice, and you're trained/experienced in using it to arrest falls, but I think too dangerous for a mixed hike where you're mostly on dirt/rock with a few snow/ice patches.

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#273564 - 01/07/15 07:13 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: dougwalkabout]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Haertig,

No, you are too young!! ;-)

The short length and saw teeth are newer inventions designed to help in the climbing of very steep pitches. Many of the early ice axes I have seen or seen pictures (late 1800's) are five to six feet long. They were used like a hiking staff for normal walking, a probe (like a hiking staff) on low angle glacier surfaces and for cutting steps and handholds on steeper pitches. The almost mandatory pick guard minimizes the problems in approach hiking (or other uses).

Respectfully,

Jerry

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#273568 - 01/07/15 09:47 PM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: hikermor]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Historically, ice axes were developed well before crampons and step-cutting was a well developed skill. Alpine climbers then (1890-1920s) universally wore nailed boots, which I understand, gripped pretty well on ice, especially at low angles...


With all due respect, I have no (ice) axe to grind one way or another... But the above is not correct.

Crampons have been around in Europe for at least 1500 years. The alpenstock has been documented at least as early as the late Middle Ages. The ice axe in the modern sense first appeared around 1850, becoming more popular toward the end of the 19th century.

A visit to any dedicated mountaineering museum within the Alpine region will confirm that. So will Wikipedia, even they got it right wink :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpenstock

Again, YMMV... I love ice axes, the alpenstock, crampons, good ole fashioned rucksack and hobnail boots for what they are. It's just that spending much of my time around the Alps I am somewhat keen to get the facts straight when it comes to our mountaineering traditions. smile

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#273576 - 01/08/15 01:52 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: Tom_L]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7292
Loc: southern Cal
You are correct. Mea culpa....based on faulty recollection from my prime historical reference. One should check before posting.

Enough of these pointed remarks....
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#273578 - 01/08/15 04:59 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: Tom_L]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1415
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
Crampons have been around in Europe for at least 1500 years. The alpenstock has been documented at least as early as the late Middle Ages. The ice axe in the modern sense first appeared around 1850, becoming more popular toward the end of the 19th century.


A 4th century Chinese poet named Xie Lingyun was credited with the invention of crampons. He liked to climb mountains apparently. Presumably the European invention was separate.

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#273581 - 01/08/15 07:17 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: Bingley]
acropolis5 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/18/06
Posts: 358
As a result of this thread, I succumbed to a long held, but unsatisfied desire. I ordered a 90cm (~36") Black Diamnond, Raven ice ax, primarily for use as a hiking stick. It was delivered today. I'm waiting for the bottom pick cover, which shipped seperately. It was $80, with free shipping from Moosejaw.

I love it. Strong, very lightweight, cane length for me. I am a bit concerned about falling on the pick or adz. Anyone know where I can get a pick+ adz cover in leather or Codura? Anything other than the advertised day glow silicone cover. But I like the digging , chopping and hook-on capability.

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#273585 - 01/08/15 09:10 AM Re: Ice Axe for General Walking? [Re: acropolis5]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1774
Originally Posted By: acropolis5
As a result of this thread, I succumbed to a long held, but unsatisfied desire. I ordered a 90cm (~36") Black Diamnond, Raven ice ax, primarily for use as a hiking stick. It was delivered today. I'm waiting for the bottom pick cover, which shipped seperately. It was $80, with free shipping from Moosejaw.

I love it. Strong, very lightweight, cane length for me. I am a bit concerned about falling on the pick or adz. Anyone know where I can get a pick+ adz cover in leather or Codura? Anything other than the advertised day glow silicone cover. But I like the digging , chopping and hook-on capability.


I have a BD Raven too, but a much shorter one (they make 90cm ones?). It's one of more comfortable ones to hold as a walking stick, but not that great in more technical stuff. I have the BD protectors for all the sharp bits when i'm not actually holding it in my hands. (mounted on my pack, car, etc. I have somebody scratch my car paint by accident and even heard of somebody accidently poking one through the roof of a cabriolet while hitchhiking...)

If you are in a situation you want to chop or use the pick, you are probably standing on snow/ice and want the pick ready to be used when you start to slide.

You probably won't use the adz to often, so you could use the regular BD pick and adz cover, slip of the pick side and tighten the bungee. This atleast protects you from the adz.

I actually like the regular BD covers. Nice bright color and slightly sticky, so you won't loose them too quickly.
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