/ heated ice axes

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Ben Sharp - on 14 Dec 2012
Wouldn't it be great if there was a wee hole in the bottom of the ice axe shaft where you could put one of those burning charcoal rods for handwarmers?
ice.solo - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

or even if you could climb with ice tools during the part of the year that wasnt freezing cold...

Turdus torquatus on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> Wouldn't it be great if there was a wee hole in the bottom of the ice axe shaft where you could put one of those burning charcoal rods for handwarmers?

Most tools have a wee hole, right at the end.
mkean - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to ice.solo:
You won't be cold when the "ethics police" go all Wicker Man. Anyone for flaming?

;-)
Robert Durran - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> Wouldn't it be great if there was a wee hole in the bottom of the ice axe shaft where you could put one of those burning charcoal rods for handwarmers?

I think there would certainly be a market for rechargeable battery heated handles.

Tim Chappell - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think there would certainly be a problem with the heat travelling up the shaft to the pick and compromising your placements :-)
Trangia - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> I think there would certainly be a problem with the heat travelling up the shaft to the pick and compromising your placements :-)


I don't know. Just rest the pick gently on the ice and it will sink in smoothly. Switch off and the ice will freeze round the pick!

Bomb proof!

Then when you want to extract the pick switch on again and gently extract it.

Repeat process to the top. You could even enhance the experience with heated crampons!

Progress may be a little on the slow side though :(
Tim Chappell - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Right, well if you think it's safe--you go first; I'm standing back to watch :-)
Richard White on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Just use heated gloves with a small battery pack in your clothing to keep it warm. I use these when riding this time of year; http://www.keisapparel.co.uk/#product-89

However, surely alternating between freezing hands and hot aches are de rigueur for winter climbing!
KellyKettle - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: No, I'm dependent on a frosty crust forming on my dachsteins to keep my hands dry...
Ben Sharp - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Richard White:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
> However, surely alternating between freezing hands and hot aches are de rigueur for winter climbing!

Unfortunately it is, especially if you have poor circulation or reynauds, as I know a lot of other people on here suffer from. But it's far from ideal isn't it, it's certainly not what I go out for and something which everyone tries to avoid as it's unpleasant and slows things up.

The time the hot aches gets me is after a long stint on belay, seconding a pitch I find difficult, body cold, hands above my head trying to work out what to do and holding on to cold axe shafts. It takes the fun away and slows you down, having a warm axe to hold on to would keep the pain at bay and speed things up.

I suppose it would depend how hot the charcoal sticks got but I don't see it traveling all the way up the shaft and heating the pick to a stage where it's so hot it melts the ice. It's probably on mixed ground that people suffer most anyway and you don't need a cold pick to hook.
skarabrae - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: when my hands get cold I just shove them down the front of my purple y fronts.. Mmm lovely n warm n snug, the ukc masses are welcome to pop round n give it a try ;-)
machars on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: grip tape your shafts up. Job done. Or if you have vipers you could unscrew the bolt for the leashes and pour your tea in?
saffy - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: wouldn't fancy an axe belay with a heated handle!
Ben Sharp - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to machars: Maybe some sort of tea and electric filament combo to keep it warm, no one likes a glug of cold tea on the crux.
jon on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to skarabrae:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) when my hands get cold I just shove them down the front of my purple y fronts.

I guess you wear them over your trousers then...
http://www.google.fr/imgres?hl=fr&sa=X&tbo=d&biw=1366&bih=643&tbm=isch&tbnid...
skarabrae - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to jon: ha ha brilliant! Yup that's the buggers! ;-)
nufkin - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Have you considered a pair of Cobras? Carbon fibre shafts'll be less cold to hold, and having to shell out 500 is bound to keep you steamed up for at least a full season
Orgsm on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
>
> or even if you could climb with ice tools during the part of the year that wasnt freezing cold...

That would be dry tooling on Grit then....

ice.solo - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to A Game of Chance:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
> [...]
>
> That would be dry tooling on Grit then....

yeah but surely cold hands is the bigger issue here
WILLS - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: couple of things to consider here from an engineering perspective:-
The outside of your hand would still need to be protected from the elements. Specialist glove design as current gloves would insulate the fingers from the warmth.

Most of the blood is occluded from the tissue when you are gripping.

Sweaty hands and loss of grip

Grip material would have to be thermally conductive opposed to insulating

Handle material; if aluminum the whole of the shaft would heat and spread through the head to the pick

Temperature control

Power consumption

Battery performance in cold weather, belt style lithium ion power sorce

Weight

It would be an excellent project for an under grad to look at and play with. University of Edinburgh or Salford. Though for what is available at present it would more likely be a feasible option to have heated grips or as someone else has stated heated gloves.
mkean - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to WILLS:
The easiest solution would be a heating element held loosely against the wrist with a modified pressure cuff, major blood vessels close to the surface and minimal loss of dexterity.
Ben Sharp - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to WILLS: Cheers for the input,

>Power consumption
>Battery performance in cold weather, belt style lithium ion power sorce

I'd probably shy away from anything battery operated for the faff factor and like you say, the fact that a battery wouldn't operate that well inside a cold axe and outside of it would be a total nightmare of faff. I think a carbon hand warmer would be better as you could just stick it in and forget about it.

>Specialist glove design as current gloves would insulate the fingers from the warmth.

Gloves provide some insulation but obviously not complete otherwise no one would get cold hands. If you can feel cold through a glove surely you can feel warmth also. The intention isn't to be so warm that it heats your hands, it's to mitigate the effect of super cooled metal touching your hand. The grip is rubberized and your gloves provide some insulation but I can still feel the difference between holding the axe and not holding it. Even if I'm not gripping hard.

> Grip material would have to be thermally conductive opposed to insulating

The grip wouldn't have to be changed for something more conductive, rubberised grips are insulating but they do conduct. If you put a piece of rubber on the radiator it will warm up, even though it's an insulating material.

>Sweaty hands and loss of grip

The thought was that a carbon rod shoved up the bottom would be an easy way to take the edge off the coldness of the steel and prevent it from cooling your hands any more than necessary, if something would give me hands so hot they were sweaty while climbing I'd be laughing.
itsThere on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: the ice axe is going to act like a nice heatsink and ruin any chance of it being efficient/any use. just stick some handwarmers in your gloves or the axe(it would be fun to try). no point trying to re-engineer all the nice insulation that is allready there or buy some better gloves. it will be cheaper. this is where it would be nice if parts of the ice axe were not riveted on(obv depends on the axe but some are)
machars on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> (In reply to machars) Maybe some sort of tea and electric filament combo to keep it warm, no one likes a glug of cold tea on the crux.
True maybe hot whisky and irn bru would be more appropriate.
Ben Sharp - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere:
>just stick some handwarmers... in the axe(it would be fun to try). no point trying to re-engineer all the nice insulation that is allready there...

isn't that what I said?
itsThere on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: oops i missed that comment
Ben Sharp - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to machars: Hehe. While were on the Scottish cliches do you think if you quatered a mars bar before deep frying it you'd get it into a petzl ice flute?
KellyKettle - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: i'm not sure, but i'd definately rate that as a good high energy snack food.
guhj on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to:


I agree with the "axe = heatsink" comment. If you apply the heat inside the shaft, most of the heat will be lost.

However, you could buy electric heating wire and wrap it around your handles, and then cover it with as few layers of grip tape as possible.

The problem, of course, would be to supply power to it. Batteries out in the cold would suffer, but the only warm place to have them is inside your clothes, and then you'd need to connect to the axes, which means leashless moves are no longer an option.... But if you're using umbilicals or climbing leashed, it's a useful idea.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Ben Sharp - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to guhj:
> In reply to:
>
>
> I agree with the "axe = heatsink" comment. If you apply the heat inside the shaft, most of the heat will be lost.

Yeah that's a good point, I guess you'd need to test it to see how much of a problem it was though. There's quite a lot of heat generated from those wee carbon rods, if you had two or three of them in there then even if a large proportion of the heat was lost there might still be enough to make a difference.
Andes - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
Everyone seems to be missing the obvious here - go ice-climbing in the sunshine!
Photo of the excellent ice conditions on Cairnsmore two years ago this week not too far from your house:-
http://www.johnbiggar.com/galloway-climbing-index/spout-cairnsmore-rock-ice-climbing.asp#Winter
Mind you we could be waiting a long time to get such good conditions again!
John
guhj on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Ah yes, if you don't mind the inefficiency, heating inside the shaft might be an option. Though there is that problem of melting out the picks - surely not a problem while climbing, but maybe resting on your tools, placing screws, and otherwise leaving tools in the ice would require some care compared to what is common practice.

If anyone does start trying these things, please do report your attempts :)
Ben Sharp - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Andes: Looks like a fantastic day you got, here's hoping for a prolonged cold spell in the next couple of months.
WILLS - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Andes: sun doesn't shine much in north facing cwms. Where do you get these carbon rod things. I've seen them but not to buy. Want to try this in work as we are on the slow down to Xmas shut down and night shifts are dragging here. Plenty of ally tubing lying around to do some testing on. Would be a good distraction.
Ben Sharp - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to WILLS: QUite a few outdoors shops will stock them, anywhere that sells the carbon rod handwarmers. http://tinyurl.com/ctl3dh4

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