How To Choose an Ice Axe

Hiking or climbing on ice is dangerous. This is true if you do not have the necessary equipment such as an ice axe. When you have with you an ice axe gear as a hiking or climbing buddy, safety is being promoted. However, this is not always the case. More often than not, if you choose the wrong ice axe, safety is still unclear.

It is very important to choose the right ice axe for your hiking or climbing needs. If not, your great outdoor activity can be seriously at risk. Here, take note of these tips in choosing the most appropriate ice axe for your needs:

  • Identify your needs. List down all your needs when you are out climbing or hiking a trail. Take note of the activities you are bound to do in your future adventures. This way, you can determine the exact features of an axe that is appropriate for your outdoor adventures.
  • Know different ice axes for different needs. The ice axes you will find in the market are categorized under three different varieties. The first one is the walking axe. This is best used for any kind of general hiking. The other one is the mountaineering axe, which is good for difficult hiking and climbing tasks. The last one is the technical axe. This is perfect for precise and most difficult forms of climbing.
  • Identify the size of axe that you need. There are short ice axes and long ones. Pick one that you will be most comfortable at. For instance, if you have long arms, it is best to choose a short ice axe. On the other hand, if you have a short reach, the longer axe is the better option. Take note also that a short axe is very convenient to carry while the long one is difficult to bring in any kind of trail.
  • Test different options. The best thing you can do to help you in selecting the right ice axe is to experience the options yourself. Visit a store and test different kinds of ice axe. Since there are different styles of ice axes, choose the one that you think you are most comfortable with. You can do this by holding an axe with a loop and one without and compare the convenience and comfort. Don't forget to wear your gloves during the tests as you will be using gloves during the actual use of the axe.
  • Review the grades or ratings of different kinds of ice axes. B-rated axes or the basic ones must only be used for your simple hiking or climbing needs. On the other hand, T-rated axes or technical ones are ideal for a more demanding adventure since they are around 30 percent stronger than the B-rated ones. It is very important that you check the grade of each ice axe to ensure that it can bring you the much needed safety for your hiking or climbing adventures.

Hiking or climbing on ice is not bad. However, it is dangerous. But if you take the necessary safety precautions, this kind of adventure can be a fun, exciting, and safe experience. Hence, always choose the right ice axe to be your buddy in every ice hiking or climbing activity you do.


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