How to Mountaineer With the Ice Axe
The Ice Axe
The ice-axe is a versatile tool used in mountaineering for climbing steep slopes of snow and ice. It is composed of two components that are essential in this niche: a shaft and a head.
It’s important to choose the right type of ice axe for outdoor adventures. Size, weight, and essential features such as a dual textured grip and an ultralight design are all important.
To be strong and durable, an iceaxe should be made out of lightweight, durable materials like aluminum, carbon fiber, or composite. This will allow them to withstand the rigorous demands of active mountaineering trips. It’s also a good idea to get an Ice Axe vs Crampons that’s adjustable so you can choose the length of the shaft according to your height and weight.
It’s a good idea for beginners to ice climbing to work with an experienced guide. This will help you feel confident and safe.
Learn How to Self Arrest with the Ice Axe
To avoid falling further downhill, and to prevent injury to yourself and others, you must know how to self-arrest your Axe if you fall while climbing. This skill can be difficult but it can save you from falling down hundreds upon hundreds of feet, and even your life.
Getting into the Self-Arrest Position
Start with your body facing downhill. Keep your feet in snow and your axe below you. Once you’re in this position drive the pick of the ice-axe into the snow surface. Move your body over the axe to stop your fall.
This can be difficult because your momentum builds up and downhill quickly. But it’s vital to do so if the fall is to be stopped. It can be done in many ways and you should do it as soon afterwards as possible.
Daggering with the Ice Axe
If you can’t find an entry point for your axe’s pick, you can try daggering or hooking it onto a rock to thrust yourself up. You can do this by holding the ice-axe’s head in one hand and your body weight in the other.
The axe’s adze can also be used for cutting steps, which is useful if you don’t wear crampons and the ice’s hard. This can help you avoid crampons and make a quick assessment of snowpack before you climb.
An ice axe can be used for mountaineering if you are a beginner. However, it is best to practice with a friend before you go out in the wild. If you plan on going out on your personal ice axe, you will need a leash to keep it from slipping. You’ll also need a specialized climbing helmet, to protect your face from ice and the elements.