I was once shown a great way to protect the blade on a wood axe or hatchet.
I realize that ice axes are a different shape than wood axes, so this may not be a perfect solution, but maybe it will give you an inspiration for something similar.
Get an old garden hose.
Cut a length of the hose about as long as the axe's blade.
Cut an incision down the length ...
For a guided glacier tour: No reason - go ahead and use it.
I would not worry about resharpening, as from your description there are no steep ice sections on the route. If there are and you like using your own hands, start filing. The quick option is to keep the geometry and just sharpen everything. The longer one is to reshape the tip so it looks more like ...
Notice: I consider this a question about classical mountaineering. The question becomes very debatable if you include steep ice.
Do not use hand leashes on mountaineering ice axes: you attach a sharp tool to yourself which has a high chance of serious injury in case of a fall.
While there is a whole bunch of pros and cons, the one deciding ...
For the spike, I usually just take a piece of corrugated cardboard, fold it to double the thickness, punch holes through it, and use some thin cord to tie it through the hole in the spike. This is low-tech and works if I lose my protector while traveling, which is what always happens. No matter where I am, it's always pretty easy to get some cardboard.
As long as you can walk normally (using the whole foot not just the toe area) always hold your axe at its head with the blade pointing backwards.
This depends on the situation you are in. The text from Grivel seems to be a oversimplification. There is not just one technique for ascending and one for descending. There are two basic ...
Although @ReverendGonzo gave a nice answer I want to start a little debate. There is no explicit answer to this question. Different alpine clubs have different opinions and even different mountain guides in one organization. That being said, I think the process described by @ReverendGonzo (which I will call default process) is very common and also the ...
For winter walking a traditional straight-shafted mountaineering axe seems most appropriate. This would include products like the very common BD Raven or Raven Pro, and also those with a slight bend such as the Petzl Summit, Grivel Air Tech Evo, and BD Venom.
As there are existing questions regarding length (How do I know what size ice axe I should get?), ...
I can think of the following two ways to cover the blade:
You can use something like a Bike Handle cover, the one that has a cap on the other end. You can get it of the size that your axe-blade fits in.
I assume that the main blade will be a bit hard to fit in, but then you can always give a try towards getting the handle cover which is a bit flexible(...
The most important thing to remember is to prevent this situation. You should never find yourself in the position to slip down a slope. In many cases (steepness, snow/ice conditions, ...) there is no way that you will stop once you are slipping, even if you execute the following perfectly. Still we want to be prepared for the worst case as well. And knowing ...
Safety > Convenience.
For mountaineering I'd suggest using a leash; I'm sure you're aware but if you were to lose it you would have a hard time performing all these tasks:
Self arresting a fall on a steep snow slope.
Extracting yourself from a crevasse.
Rescuing a partner from a crevasse.
Building a bucket seat anchor.
Not dropping the ice axe is a pro in some circumstances and a con in others. If you drop into a crevasse it would be really nice to hang on to your ice axe to aid in your rescue and finishing or evacuating the climb. One the other hand, if you fall on a slope and lose control of your ice axe, then being tethered to a flailing rod with lots of sharp edges ...
I use an axe far older than that as my primary axe. In my opinion, modern ice axes are made too short. Besides, I can get a grip on wood better than the modern materials.
One thing of key note, test the self-arrest. On my axe I found self-arrest does not work on any slope steep enough to warrant it, and the only viable self-arrest mode is ramming the shaft ...
From a safety perspective, there's no reason why you couldn't use that axe. But if it was mine, I'd probably have it hung up on the wall as an heirloom, or in a display case with photos of my Dad carrying it. Stuff like that carries huge sentimental value. The only other reason I can think of why you wouldn't want to carry it, is because it's going to be a ...
I am not exactly the guy who have been doing that year by year, but I have some thoughts about cleaning and packing the gear after a high altitude expedition. I think some of it can be applied to your scenario.
I would first soap-wash (if recommended) the gear so that there is no dirt. Dirt, deposited and remained there over the longer period time can cause ...
Mix climbing on granite in Norway with Ice climbing occasionally.
That means you have mostly rock while on the mixed climb? If this is the case I would advise to get a mixed blade.
What are drawbacks of using Ice blade instead of Mix blade?
Ice blades are very thin and have a conical shape. Even when they are brand-new you should most ...
What came to my mind when I read WedaPashi's answer about bicycle handles was the use of old bicycle tubes to build some sheath. The rubber of the tube is flexible but it's not too easy to perforate it, therefore you can build your sheath rather close-fitting. Also you can glue it easily with bicycle patch glue.
Searching an ice axe for what I would call classical alpine terrain isn't that tough in my opinion. There might be fancy new features and very durable items (T-classification) but those might not be necessary for an ice axe typically used as a walking support.
Most important for me is the correct length of the shaft so that you can actually reach the ground ...
They say a picture is worth thousand words:
Generally (except activities like drytooling /ice climbing) when standing upright and holding the axe you should have the end of it in middle of the length of your calf.
Source: Axe buying guide (Polish)
Ice blades are designed for penetration, mixed blades are modified to help you also get a good bite on rock without doing to much damage to your tips.
Will Gadd–who is considered to be the best ice and mixed climber in the world (watch him climb the hardest mixed climb ever here)–has this to say in his book:
For mixed climbing I generally keep my pick ...
I use pneumatic hosing, something like this:
It's super cheap (runs under a dollar/foot and a foot is more than you will need) and you can buy as short of a section you want at most hardware stores.
Whippet is an attempt to add some ice axe capabilities to a ski pole.
one whippet and one ski pole
one ice axe and two ski poles
one ice axe
I don't think two whippets makes sense.
Personally if I think I might need self arrest then I want an ice axe.
If I am going to ski down something steep enough that I am ...
I would call it a basic munter hitch.
Take the eye in the end of the cord (through which you are pushing the bight in the first image) and imagine it to be a carabiner. This should make the structure more obvious.
A difference between this and a Purcell Prusik is that the prusik can slip when catching a fall, absorbing some energy that would otherwise be ...
One of the most important thing in ski mountaineering is weight of equipment. So you should take only what you really need. That will allow you quickly move and enjoy a trip.
Regarding what to take (Piolet(s), Whippets, ice tools):
ice tools used only for ice climbing and technical routes. Usage is very limited. Also ice tools can't be used for self ...
Personally I would go with poles and one ice-axe as long as possible. As soon as there are have prolonged steep slopes (defined by having to ascend with front points of crampons) I would take two axes.
I originally wrote the paragraph below assuming it was mountaineering (in May - silly me). It is still relevant and applicable, but it assumes that a pole is ...
Having learnt this years ago, I can thoroughly recommend that when you're in a suitable spot with a group you practise.
The rest of the group can observe your form, keep an eye out for hazards and generally stand around looking unconcerned. A suitable spot is reasonably deep snow that naturally flattens out, free of rocks and trees. This may also give you ...
There is a bit to it. A book like Freedom of the Hills has excellent instructions with illustrations.
If it is solid ice you cannot break through then this is not going to work.
Practice on your own, with a group, and / or go to a school.
Practice on a slope that has a slide out so you will stop even if not successful.
Often if there is a chance of ...
Since asking the question, I've done some experimentation and discovered a potentially serious problem with this knot.
When it is tied from cord, the size of the loop around which the munter is tied (thanks to @requiem for pointing out that it is a munter) is critical. If the loop is too large, it can twist into a configuration where the rope can simply ...