Ice Axes, Private Collection. Photo NVMA.



Spike, Pick and Adze

Ice axes have been a mountaineering tool since the early days. The first axes had wooden handles, and were often used as walking sticks. Newer ice axes, with shafts made from fibreglass or composite materials, are mostly for snow or ice mountaineering. The spike on the bottom provides an anchor when driven into snow. The pick end of the axe is used for self-arrest on steep snow or for ice climbing, the adze for cutting steps into ice or hard snow.

Related topic: A Child of the Wind

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