What Is An Ice Axe

A Ice Axe is a kind of outdoor tool used to climb or descend steep snow and ice slopes. They feature sharp spikes at the bottom of the shaft which is able to penetrate snow, ice and rock to provide stability, balance and safety. You can select straight shafts or a slightly curving shaft. The handle can be located above or below the spike to provide greater grip.


The head of an Ice Axe is the part that holds and holds the pick. It usually has a serrated edge to increase holding power. There are a variety of heads, each is designed to serve a specific function.

For a mountaineering-specific Buying Your First Ice Axe the pick is designed to be self-restraint and climb, while a skier’s axe has an agressive and wider design. They are also typically more expensive than their counterparts for mountaineering.

The ideal classic or mountaineering ice ax will be one with a “positive” or classic curve. This means it is curved inwards with a 90 degree taper to increase ice penetration. This is an excellent choice for self-arrest and climbing, but not so ideal for cutting steps on icy slopes since it will dig deeper than is necessary into the snow.

A neutral or reverse pick is also available. This option is less effective at self-arrest, however, it is better to cut and clear snow. They tend to have larger teeth and are commonly employed to cut steps on steep slopes or in the early season.


The shaft of an ice axe tends to be straight and long, however, it can be curved or shaped to form an angle for certain applications. It connects the head to the spike. It is generally made of light metals such as aluminium or titanium, or carbon filaments or fibreglass, and has an axe-like spike at its base that can penetrate ice, snow and rock.


A spike is a sharp bottom point that penetrates ice and snow, offering excellent support and allowing you to plunge the axe into the snow for belay or rescue. A spike is useful when using an ice-axe hiking or climbing. They allow you to reach over snowy bulges and hang onto the edges of small gaps for additional support.


The most important aspect of an ice axe is its handle. It is where you hold it and the way you use it. The handle of the axe must be able to fit comfortably in your hand and the shaft of the axe should be long enough to allow you to hold it securely with both hands.


A leash is a belt that connects to your ice axe. It helps you hold it in place, especially when climbing on steep sections or glaciers. It is considered mandatory by many guides and climbing instructors, and it will stop your ice axe from becoming detached in the event that you lose it or drop it.

Comments are closed.