How to Climb With an Ice Axe

The right Ice Axe makes all the difference for winter climbing whether you’re an expert mountaineer and a beginner. The axe’s pick, adze and shaft can be used to cut through snow and ice or as a backup anchor for rescue operations.

It’s important to distinguish between the head, shaft, and adze/hammer when you climb with an Ice Axe Use for Beginners. It’s also useful to know how the axe can be used for self arrest and self-belay.

Self-arrest Grip: With the pick pointed in the forward direction, your thumb wrapped underneath the adze. This grip is ideal for when you are falling or sliding down the slope.

To prevent yourself from falling further or getting hurt, it is a good idea to place your ice axe as deep as possible in the snow. There are a few options to get into the correct position for arrest depending on where you are located when you fall. However all of them involve placing an axe in the ground with the bottom of its shaft.

Try to grab the head of the ice axe with your uphillhand and the bottom end with your downhill hand as you slide down the slope. Once both hands are firmly held in place, turn your body so your head is up and your feet are down

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