An Ice Axe can be a basic but vital tool for mountaineering. It can help you climb and belay under a variety of conditions, including inclined snowscapes, glacier travel, and frozen-over waterfalls.
The ice axe can be divided into head, shaft and adze parts. Each part has a unique purpose and serves a specific purpose.
Head: This part of the Ice Axe vs Crampons is the shortest. It has an edge with an adze and one side with a pick. The adze can be used to cut steps or seats in ice, snow, and the pick is the sharp end at the tip of the head that penetrates the ice.
Shaft: This longer section of the ice axe has a spike at its end that provides traction in the ice when you are walking with it. It also has a grip to help you hold it better while climbing.
Adze: The broad, shovel-like blade of the adze can be used to cut or chop steps into hard ice and snow. It serves as a comfortable grip platform while hiking with the axe in a self-belay grasp (with the pick facing forward).
Carabiner hole: This is a small hole that you can attach an ice-axe leash to or clip a carabiner. It is important to have a leash on your ice axe because it can be useful when you are climbing or belaying.
Spike is the sharp point at bottom of the iceaxe that penetrates snow or ice when it’s being used for climbing and belaying. It is also helpful when you are descending a slope or trying to stop yourself from falling.
Belay: For beginners climbing on steep slopes, a belay is a safety feature. It allows them to be more secure while climbing and belaying, and gives them more time to reach the goal.
Performing a self-arrest with an ice axe can be very difficult, but it is an important skill to learn. It can prevent you from serious injuries and save you time and frustration if you fall down a steep slope.
For safe and successful climbing trips, an ice axe that is durable and light-weighted is vital. You can choose from a basic or technical tool, depending on the strength requirements and balance needed for your specific climbing style.
A curved shaft is a good option if you plan on climbing up an incline. This type of Ice Axe will give you more clearance, which will make climbing on an inclined slope easier.
An ice axe can also be purchased that is lightweight and easy to carry in your backpack. This will save you valuable time when climbing and make it much easier to retrieve the ice-axe from your pack if it is needed.