Forums Splitboard Talk Forum descending with ice axe question Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)Author Posts December 4, 2012 at 1:55 am #577735 wjb 163 PostsLeashed or unleashed. I see vids of people descending sketchy spots with their ice axe in hand. Is this typically done with out a leash or with some sort of short leash from the wrist to the head of the axe? Thanks December 4, 2012 at 2:12 am #662464 Loche 10 PostsEven I have one, I don’t use my leash when going down steep terrain. Instead, I place my right hand directly on the axe head in a self-arrest position. Safer in case of avalanche or tumbling down, you want to go away from that axe…That’s what I do, but I’ve never read about it. Pretty good question… December 4, 2012 at 7:06 am #662465 splitn2 125 Postslast year I was going for it, carving nice big fast turns on a long but pretty cruisy slope with a wee bit of schrund exposure each side, had a bit of a load in my pack and because we were in glaciated terrain i had my axe in hand, riding with my leash on. Due to some bad riding, inattention due to soaking up the moment view etc, set back stance and a load on my back, I hooked a turn out of nowhere and just highsided like I was on a superbike!!! Next thing I know i am tumbling full noise and then my axe shaft went in to all the way to the head and ripped the leash and glove off my hand and hurt my shoulder pretty bad I felt quite beat up. This was pretty freaky and wierd i recon and a bit of a one off, I still would ride with my leash as I do not want to leave my axe behind in a nasty tumble. It hurt but i was riding again after a few minutes sorting myself out eh. my 2cents eh cheers, RichRichard Harcourt WWW.SPLITN2.COM New Zealand Splitboard Equipment Specialist Spark R&D | Fitwell Backcountry / Freeride | SPLITN2 Custom Splitboards e: email@example.com p: +64 3 3266585 December 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm #662466 karkis 270 Postshate ta be ‘that guy’ but descending with an ice axe in hand is generally a stoopid thing to do. 9 out of 10 times you see it done, it probably shouldn’t be. if you have to ask how to do it, you shouldn’t do it. its a hazard, used poorly its more likely to hurt you than help you.the purposes of holding an ice axe on descent are -self arrest, when you’re riding carefully (slowly!) on a hard surface and losing your edge would be consequential. if you put yourself in this situation you should have practised first with a safe runout and should know how the leash will help or hinder you. -anchor, if you expect to need fast, temporary security, for example if you’ll have to rap some ice and you need to secure yourself as you build the rap anchor and don’t want to have to mess with your pack to access the axe.maybe there is other situations where it’s reasonable but i cant think of one. riding fast with an axe in hand is absurd, like speeding with the e brake on.never summer snowboards phantom splitboard bindings dynafit touring atomic boots December 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm #662467 jimw 1421 Postskarkis, I gotta agree with ya. ESPECIALLY the part about practicing first! You might be surprised at how ineffective at self-arrest the axe can be depending on how you’re sliding, and your attempted arrest position etc. It’s not the same as self-arrest when you’re climbing and you fall. Don’t find that out the first time you slip at the top of an icy chute.About this:-self arrest, when you’re riding carefully (slowly!) on a hard surface and losing your edge would be consequential. if you put yourself in this situation you should have practised first with a safe runout and should know how the leash will help or hinder you. Agreed, and I think it’s implied that you would then put it away as soon as it’s not needed? That’s what I haven’t quite figured yet. Sometimes I’ll use it at the top of a sketchy chute. Going slow, but once in and if I don’t need it anymore, I won’t necessarily stop and stash it, as I don’t want to be hanging out in the firing zone. So I might ride the chute out to the apron – which is likely to be high speed, and have the potential for axe mishap. I haven’t figured a good way to secure it quickly w/o taking off the pack… which isn’t always that quick. Thoughts? December 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm #662468 nickstayner 700 PostsJimw- on some descents I’ve done, I’ve stowed my axe sword-style between my back and my backpack on descents where I know I’d need it at some point. Tightening your shoulder straps keeps it secure and it’s easily “unsheathed” & replaced as needed. This is what I tend to do now as time has taught me the number of descents where an axe is truly needed in-hand the entire time are scanty few.Steve Romeo (RIP) had some interesting insights on skiing with a whippet on his site: http://www.tetonat.com/2011/05/10/whippet-pole-strap-modification/ Scroll to the comments section and read the first one + Steve’s response for some good insight on what riding with a self-arrest device is really all about. December 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm #662469 karkis 270 Postsjim yah i usually stash my axe asap, i just tuck over to a side, undo my pack’s sternum strap but not the waist strap, spin my pack around to my front, fasten the axe, spin it back and go, i feel its worth the pause to be able to shred batshit kamikaze without any inhibitions.nick’s solution is decent, ive done that before, not often on the downbut maybe i should qualify, growing up i was considered the proof of Murphy’s Law, once i skewered my face with my ski pole in a crash :scratch: so I’m a bit sensitive about holding sharps at speed.but honestly, ‘improper use of ice axe’ causes a lot of trauma out there, richie’s story and others like it are quite common, it’s not so much an issue of the leash as it is the axenever summer snowboards phantom splitboard bindings dynafit touring atomic boots December 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm #662470 powderjunkie 1669 Postsjim- how did you type so much with one hand. :scratch: 😀 heel up dude so you can hold that axe in your hand.I’ve only pulled out the axe two times – both times for the entry into ripper chute on the dana plateau. i use a leash cause I don’t want to lose it and feel it is a manageable risk. December 6, 2012 at 9:57 am #662471 splitn2 125 Postshaha, yeah i agree you need to be damn careful not to nail yourself with it, that crash was kinda due to a rush of blood to the head in a moment of bliss! good example of how not to do it. I’m always in 2 minds whether to carry it in hand or stash it, for me its mostly a climbing aid not a riding tool so if I am really exposed then i’ll stop and put my board on my back and not my axe. I use a whipet on the ascent in split mode as my pole and as a backup for a slide.cheers RichRichard Harcourt WWW.SPLITN2.COM New Zealand Splitboard Equipment Specialist Spark R&D | Fitwell Backcountry / Freeride | SPLITN2 Custom Splitboards e: firstname.lastname@example.org p: +64 3 3266585 December 7, 2012 at 12:00 am #662472 brg 141 PostsA few years back wysplit took a pic of me in radio tower couloir riding with my axe in hand. I held the shaft with my right hand with the leash on. I think this was my second time riding with an axe in hand. I remember only taking my axe out this day because the teleskier we were with slid a solid bit and had trouble self arresting. Now i hold the axe head with my right hand because I find it to be more secure, I have practiced both ways and find that i like holding the head better now. I always wear the leash, if you drop it its not going to help you self arrest, if your not worried about self arresting don’t hold your axe.When making the decision to descend with the axe I ask my self, if I fall am I going to self arrest with out the axe, in most cases I think this is yes. If your soft snowboard boots punch in the snow 8″ to a foot an axe is not going to help so stash it on your pack. I only use the axe when I think the slide is going to be worse than inpailing myself. December 7, 2012 at 12:30 am #662473 barrows 1490 PostsI am pretty much in agreement with karkis here. I used to never ride with an axe in hand, even in no fall mountaineering type situations. Then, on one descent I found myself perched on my toe edge, on a 50+ degree slope, on a patch of water ice, above a 1000′ face. My axe was on my pack… I very carefully and gently reached back to my pack (which had quick release tool holders), retrieved my axe, and slammed it home. I had not paid enough attention and gotten myself into the only real patch of water ice on the entire face. So, now there are some times where I do ride with an axe in my rear hand, but only when it really could be necessary. If one thinks they are going to be able to self arrest from a sliding fall with a board on their feet, one must have practiced doing so in a safe environment first. I always put my axe away when it is not needed, even if I have to take a couple of minutes to put in on the pack. I prefer to use a leash, although new school folks may not, just a preference, and I prefer to hold the axe in my rear hand, by the balance point of the shaft as it is easier to ride smoothly with that grip. I have practiced getting the axe from that grip to self arrest quickly. December 7, 2012 at 12:58 am #662474 christoph benells 717 Postsno fall zone–> DONT FALL–>impailing yourself is no big thing if youve miraculously saved yourself from death with a self arrestyou will probably let go of that axe without a leash.if youve ridden out the chute or whatever and youre too stoked to stop and stow your axe, take off the leash and jettison it if you crash. December 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm #662475 VT Rider 14 PostsGood discussion. Take a look at some of Kyle Miller’s recent pics from his Cascade adventures. A couple of shots show what i would consider good axe technique on steep slopes. I agree that this is meant for technical, steep riding at slower speeds. Note how he has one hand on the head with pick facing the slope and the other hand in a proper arrest position. If necessary, he can quickly get some purchase with the axe and use a proper bracing technique in the event of a quick slip or even for a little security/feel good rest :thumpsup:There is a reason mountain guides have long used the space between pack and back to stash an ice axe for quick access. I think with steep riding, use the axe for the technical sections, then stash it when the turns speed up and steep fall potential goes down. December 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm #662476 nifl 39 PostsI don’t always use an ax but when I do … December 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm #662477 Ecobrad 2068 PostsIf I have to consider using an ice axe, I’m over my head. I have 3 little girls to grow. December 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm #662478 nickstayner 700 PostsI bet 95% of the time you see someone riding with in axe, it’s not “needed”. Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)You must be logged in to reply to this topic.