On either side of my backpack, I have a loop with some kind of locking mechanism on them. They look like this:

Close up

They are placed on the upper center of my backpack:


The plastic bit at the end can be used to "lock" to itself:


What are these loops used for?

The bag itself is a Lowe Alpine Cerro Torre, for reference.

  • 1
    I can't tell from the photo, but it's possible that these are part of a system for holding an ice ax. However, I can't see any loops at the bottom, which you would need for that.
    – user2169
    Feb 18, 2017 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


They are designed to fix your ice axes to the backpack so that they won't move very much. This task should be realized in a lightweight manner and it should be easy and quick to release/adjust. One very common approach is the one from your picture, e.g. explained in this video.

Of course you can adjust e.g. poles with them too. Or anything else if you get the point.

Edit: Now that I can also see your other pics it really looks like the lower part of the ice axe fixing system is missing. Still the official notes say you can attach ice axes...

You can also check out this video, which gives interesting information. I have the pack and already used the fixing system Steve House is representing there.

  • They don't look as strong as ice ace loops used to, and I would have thought the lower part would have shown up in the picture but I guess it's just out of shot.
    – Chris H
    Feb 19, 2017 at 8:15
  • They should be strong enough because they just adjust the load to the pack. The weight lies on the lower straps (if they are present).
    – Wills
    Feb 19, 2017 at 8:48
  • 1
    I'm sure you're right, but without the lower loops we couldn't see they'd be a liability.
    – Chris H
    Feb 19, 2017 at 9:04
  • 2
    There are indeed no lower identical loop on the backpack. Instead there's tip grippers (not visible in my photos), which can be used to hold walking poles. I found this official video of them in use in the notes you linked.
    – Birjolaxew
    Feb 19, 2017 at 11:39

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