While mountaineering, skiing or even simply whilst hill walking in winter one may possibly need to move over patches of steep ice or scale steep slopes of snow. If so, then one needs to take exceptional safety measures in order to stay protected and one of the most vital safety tools is an ice axe.
Ice axes are essential for a list of tasks on mountains. Their most significant function is to provide an individual the ability to stop themselves in case they slip or slide down any steep snow-covered slope. It is also known as self-arrest. This fashions them as indispensable safety tools. In absence of the ability stop oneself an individual will purely keep picking up speed as they slid down. Self-arresting is a fundamental technique and is required to be practiced on regular basis but in actual fact it entails plowing in the pick of the ice axe to gently slow and in due course bring to a halt this descent. Along with this, the secondary functions are making use of the shovel, to incise or cut steps into steep slopes. The shaft of the axe can also be pitched into the snow in order to provide an anchor, either to directly hold up a climber or to be employed as a spot for securing a rope.
These axes are broadly categorized into 3 types:
- The first is walking ice axes, which are more often than not the longest with a straight shaft. They are excellent for the purpose of hill walking, glacier crossing and ice climbing on gentle slopes.
- The second type is the alpine ice axe. For somewhat additional technical climbing on steeper snow people usually have a preference for using this shorter mountaineering axe. Though similar in appearance to the walking axe spaced out from its length, they frequently also comprise a slightly curved shaft and a slightly added belligerent pick on the head, which lets them to be employed for increased technical climbing.
- The third type encompasses the increasingly more technical climbing axe, by and large referred to as an ice tool. These are quite shorter and are extremely specialized for bringing into play while climbing in frozen waterfalls and other patches of very steep ice. Due to these features, these ice axes are usually not capable to be employed for self arrest, cutting steps or any of the other conventional tasks of the more universal mountaineering and climbing axes.
All the types have however similar features. They have a pick, a spike at the bottom of the shaft and a hammer or an adze at the rear of the pick. The shovel or adze of an ice axe is used for cutting steps into the ice in order to make a place for the footing. The hammer is used for hitting pitons into the ice.
Whichever form or type of ice axe one lays their hand on, they just need to ensure that they are skilled in its use and practice frequently to make certain that they are capable to keeping themselves safe out in the mountains.
Check out the 9 Best Ice Axes on the market right now:
1. Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe
Black Diamond’s lightweight mountaineering axe. Built with an aluminum shaft and a compact investment-cast stainless steel head and spike, it provides all-around performance. Ergonomic head, CEN-B certified, weight: 362g, 13 oz.
2. GRIVEL Nepal Self-Arrest Axe with Leash
It is a non-technical ice axe ideal for trekking, classic snow climbs, rental programs, and schools. The carbon-steel head features a classically inclined pick with teeth along half its length. The body and pick are hot, drop forged in one piece, then the stamped shovel is welded to it. The Ergal shaft surpasses UIAA norms for strength and durability; it is coated with red, epoxy-based paint. S.A. Shaft.
3. Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe
Durable, aircraft-grade aluminum shaft. Investment-cast, one-piece stainless steel head with a large hole for a carabiner. Pick’s curve and teeth engineered for secure self-arresting. Weight: 437g, 15 ozHead: Head, Spike: Stainless steelShaft: Aluminum.
4. CAMP USA Neve Ice Axe
Traversing steep faces in ski boots becomes a little less terrifying with the CAMP USA Neve Axe in your hand. For mountaineers and ski mountaineers alike, being able to competently self-arrest can mean the difference between a good trip and not coming home, and the Neve’s steel pick grabs the snow forcefully when you lose your footing. The steel bottom spike penetrates hard-packed snow, and when you need an emergency anchor, just clip to the carabiner holes at top or bottom. The included leash ensures you don’t let the Neve slip out of your fingers.
5. Omega Pacific Mountain Axe
Handle material: aluminum, head material: 4130 crmo, weight: 622 grams / 22 ounces, length: 60 cm, handle material: aluminum.
6. Cassin X-Dream Ice Axe
It perfectly balanced, fully featured tool for technical dry, mixed and ice climbing Ergonomic handle with patented adjustment system to change between Dry and Ice angles The handle is constructed from extreme cold resistant polymer laid over the hot-forged aluminum alloy spine 3 different picks (Mixte supplied as standard, Ice and Race can be purchased separately) provide faux further refinement for different styles of climbing Micro-adjustable trigger finger ledges and X-Rest insert adjust the overall height and size of the handle X-Trigger pommel attaches to the shaft for a third ledge X-Grip 2 included.
7. Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe
Designed for classic mountaineering, it is the tool of choice for all types of alpine trips. Lightweight and with a waterjet-formed tube, it offers a very comfortable grip under the head of the axe. The technical design of the curved shaft provides the necessary clearance on steep, icy terrain. The forged and well-balanced head provides very good anchoring qualities. The grip of the shaft makes it a precise and efficient ice axe.
8. Petzl Glacier Literide Ice Axe
Compact and lightweight, it is the perfect choice for ski mountaineering, skiing steep chutes and fast-and-light climbing. It also has the benefit of great anchoring efficiency thanks to its very high-quality steel pick, guaranteeing both confident anchoring and great durability.
9. Ice Axe Climbing Outdoor Gear
It’s material is lightweight, aircraft aluminum alloy for high strength. When you climbing high mountain with heavy snow or ice, it offers very good anchoring qualities in hard snow and ice. you need a good quality ice axe and solid crampon ensure your security.