What is ice axe?

  • (noun): An ax used by mountain climbers for cutting footholds in ice.
    Synonyms: ice ax, piolet

Ice Axe

An ice axe is a multi-purpose ice and snow tool used by mountaineers both in the ascent and descent of routes which involve frozen conditions. It can be held and employed in a number of different ways, depending on the terrain encountered. In its simplest role, the ice axe is used like a walking stick in the uphill hand, the mountaineer holding the head in the centre, with the pick pointing to the rear. It can also be buried pick down, the rope tied around the shaft to form a secure anchor on which to bring up a second climber, or buried vertically to form a stomp belay. The adze is used to cut footsteps (sometimes known as pigeon holes), as well as scoop seats in the hillside and trenches to bury an ice axe belay. An ice axe is not only used as an aid to climbing, but also as a means of self-arrest in the event of a downhill slip. The long-handled alpenstock was a predecessor to the modern ice axe.

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Some articles on ice axe:

Ice Tool
... An ice tool is a specialized elaboration of the modern ice axe (and often described broadly as an ice axe or technical axe), used in ice climbing, mostly for the more difficult ... Ice tools are used two to a person for the duration of a pitch, and thus in some circumstances such as top-rope-anchored climbs, a pair may be shared among two or more people ... In contrast a classical "ice axe" is used one to a person for the hours or days a party is traveling across snow or glacier ...
Ice Axe - Attachment To Rucksacks
... when the terrain does not warrant the use of an axe, it is common for ice axe(s) to be carried on a rucksack ... Many rucksack models come with one ice axe loop (on the outside of the rucksack at its foot and generally in the middle), together with a device (a strap or a bungee ... Rucksacks with attachment points for two ice axes are also available (see example pictured), and these are popular for use with ice tools ...
Tenzing Norgay - Success On Mount Everest
... bottom by Tenzing's prompt action in securing the rope using his ice axe, which led Hillary to consider him the climbing partner of choice for any future summit attempt ... As Hillary put it, "A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on top." They spent only about fifteen minutes at the summit ... took the famous photo of Tenzing posing with his ice-axe, but since Tenzing had never used a camera, Hillary's ascent went unrecorded ...
Alpinist - Technique - Snow
... crampons are required to travel efficiently over snow and ice ... They are used on hard snow (neve) and ice to provide additional traction ... Ascending and descending a snow slope safely requires the use of an ice axe and many different footwork techniques that have been developed over the past century, mainly in Europe ...

Famous quotes containing the words axe and/or ice:

    If the axe is not sharp, it doesn’t matter how hard the wood is.
    Chinese proverb.

    He was high and mighty. But the kindest creature to his slaves—and the unfortunate results of his bad ways were not sold, had not to jump over ice blocks. They were kept in full view and provided for handsomely in his will. His wife and daughters in the might of their purity and innocence are supposed never to dream of what is as plain before their eyes as the sunlight, and they play their parts of unsuspecting angels to the letter.
    —Anonymous Antebellum Confederate Women. Previously quoted by Mary Boykin Chesnut in Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, edited by C. Vann Woodward (1981)