Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:43 am Posts: 47 Location: Melbourne, Australia
Well after recently doing a summer recon mission to an Australian Peak called Mt Feathertop and looking at the climb back out of some of the chutes i think it time for an Ice Axe and crampons. Being Australian I know very little about climbing ice. Any tips would be great.
A few questions:
What Length? Curved Handle or straight? Do you use a leash?
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:24 pm Posts: 162 Location: Salzburg / Austria
(I assume, we are only talking about climbing up chutes, but not about vertical ice climbing, right?)
I prefer a curved shaft, as I then don't crash my fingers against the ice every time, when holding the axe on the shaft below the axe's head. My choice was a Petzl Summit axe.
I also use a Grivel Single Spring Leash, attached to my harness or backback's hipbelt. This way I avoid losing the axe when climbing on a rocky ridge using both hands, the axe briefly stored between back and backpack.
Length: if you only go steeps, you can go for a short axe. (eg. 50cm for a 190cm person) If you also want to have it suitable for low-angle glacier travel, choose a longer one. (approx long enough to reach your ankles, when holding the axe at the head) Mine is 60cm, I'm 191cm tall.
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:41 am Posts: 118 Location: Altadena CA
RE Crampons: I recommend C.A.M.P. Stalkers over BD Contacts. They're cheaper, fit longer boots without an aftermarket long linking bar and come with a carrying case.
RE Ice Axe: x2 for FloImSchnee I use my poles for low angle travel and bring the shortest, lightest axe I can afford using it only in the steeps; under the theory, "if it's heavy I won't bring it." I strongly recommend two Whippets. Others don't. Here are all the discussions on Whippet use and mods.
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:08 pm Posts: 206 Location: 109-blocks-of-watch-yo-f'n-back, CA
Unless you are going extremely vertical (like, Chamonix extreme vertical), you should do fine with aluminum crampons. Good enough for firm snow and low angle ice. I use Stubai Ultralights. Get a steel head lightweight axe with a straight shaft. Don't bother with a recurve - if you're asking advice here, you don't need it yet. When things are really hairy, I carry one whippet and use voile straps to splint my ice axe to my other pole for sort-of a whippet-plus. My thinking is that if I need two whippets, what I really need is an ice axe. Great reviews and advice here: http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Ice-Axe-R ... re#compare