Forums The Gear Room What lenght Ice ax is the best?
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  • #576719

    shorty? or Super-long alpenstock style?

    wasatch surf
    979 Posts

    splitboarding with a short axe is pointless unless you are doing super tech ice stuff. go longer.

    498 Posts

    +1 Wastach Surf;

    splitboarding with a short axe is pointless unless you are doing super tech ice stuff. go longer.


    The rule of thumb for ice-axe length for General Mountaineering (aka snow climbing, glaciers) is:

    For proper length: “hold the ice axe at your side (hand on top of the ice axe head) and the pick of the axe should be at your ankle bone.

    You want a length so that you gain gain proper leverage for self-arresting. Also you want a length that is allows for the adze and pick to be away from your body when your in the self arrest position, See video below




    In the past (climbing the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneua, AK), I purchased a shorter Ice axe (55 cm) instead of the proper length (65cm or 70cm axe) for me, because I wanted to use an axe for both Glacier travel and technical ice. This was a mistake. Glacier travel and snow mountaineering was more difficult with the shorter axe for me. On subsequent trips to the Mendenhall Glacier, my experience was more rewarding with less effort, because I used properly-sized axe,

    You can always shorten the grip of axe using a sling, but you cannot replace length (see The Freedom of the Hills book)

    If you live near a ski area with a half pipe, (which has closed for the season), try renting an ice axe, and practice your self-arrest, other snow mountaineering techniques (such as the french technique).

    What I do not know is how the length of the axe affects riding a splitboard.

    See this thread and this thread ” Re: ice axes and sizing”


    I prefer a shorter axe, and always a steel tool and crampons. I find a 50 cm axe is totally adequate, and more useful when the axe is really needed for climbing, as well as an easier carry when riding really steep, exposed terrain where a self arrest, or self belay might be necessary…


    I do wish that I had multiple axes for peak-bagging, glaciers, aswell as split-touring. But because i just could afford one it was going to be a 65cm.
    if i could afford another on i would get a raven ultra ( )in a 55cm for storage on my pack when riding like you said

    Burton freebird/ spark blazes/ burton ruler boots
    2010 burton custom solid

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