/ Ski touring / ice axe / crevasse rescue?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Ruub on 07 Feb 2013
Contemplating a new ice axe to not only use for ski touring but also general winter walking.

After research my mind is more or less made up on the Grivel air tech evolution. It appears to be the lighest 'T' rated ice axe. This would also be more suited for belay for crevasse rescue.

As a relative newcomer to ski-touring;

Question is this; Most people buy an axe with an adze at the other end, are there not more advantages to the hammer rather than the adze?

E.g. if i have to drive ice screws in for rescue etc...?

When did anyone last use the adze?

Thoughts appreciated....thanks...
bigbobbyking - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:

The adze if pretty useful for making an ice axe belay. You use it to dig the slot that you put the ice axe in. Also potentially useful for chopping a bit of cruddy snow off the top of some ice to put an ice screw in. You could use it for chopping steps, but that's a bit of an ancient art...

I can't really think why you'd want a hammer just for ski touring or winter walking.
In reply to Ruub: I haven't needed a hammer for an icescrew since the mid-90s! If ski touring I guess (I've only done one tour I can think of on glacier) are you not more likely to bury a ski to make a rescue anchor than use an ice screw? The ice could (should?) be deep under lots of snow. So digging a slot to put a ski in could be where an adze would work well.

I've had one of the original Grivel airtech racing axe for over a decade. It has been great, never wanted more than that when touring and have used it mountaineering in the UK as well on walks and scrambles, for which it is also fine.

But I think you will be fine with any light axe from a reputable manufacturer. The cast heads look stronger than the welded style, but I took a Climbing Technology welded head axe ski touring before and it was absolutely fine. http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3300 For the ski touring I do, the axe mainly stays strapped to my pack!
HeMa on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:

AS others already pointed out... for ski-touring/-mountaineering teh axe stays most of the time in the sack...

And if you're asking such a question, then you are not likely to ski down such lines that require setting up proper abseils with pitons (where a hammer might be useful)... if this is the case, then you'd prolly be luggin' proper ice tools anyway (Quark, Viper and so on).
Ruub on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to HeMa:
I've seen a few demos of burying skis etc (video clips) and no doubt will be practising soon for real, however, various ski guides still list ice screws as part of rescue kit, hence looking for others real experience!
janiejonesworld - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub: I use the Grivel axe you're considering and would strongly recommend it for the purpose you're describing i.e. touring and winter walking where the axe may actually get some use in the hand. For an axe that's going to stay on the sac purely as back up for very occasional/ unforeseen self arrest and belay purposes the Camp Corsa is even lighter. I use it for winter fell running but wouldn't choose it if I was expecting to cover much ground axe in hand, it feels like a toy
In reply to Ruub:
> however, various ski guides still list ice screws as part of rescue kit,

Yep, I guess depends very much on where you intend to go. I've done a fair amount of ski touring and as I said only been on a glacier once. But if you go to Chamonix you could be on a glacier from your first day and then I guess you take all the safety stuff you should have on a glacier.
Ruub on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to janiejonesworld:
You're getting where I'm coming from, there's so much talk of weight when ski touring...! (money no object...sure..go really lightweight)
Ski touring in Snowdonia a few weeks back had me carrying 26lbs...good practise!
Frank4short - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:

> Ski touring in Snowdonia a few weeks back had me carrying 26lbs...

WHY? Other than practise would you be carrying so much weight in your pack when ski touring? That's anywhere, let alone snowdonia, where unless somethings drastically changed i've yet to see a single crevasse.
AndrewHuddart - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:

I've used the air tech evo for a good few years as my general mountaineering and touring axe. Only way to go much lighter is to go for something like the feather-weight Camp thing which you'll bend if you're not careful.

For something which is pretty safety critical, I wouldn't take the risk.
Scomuir on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:
I use the Petzl Snowracer axe for ski mountaineering, snow gully climbing and skiing, winter hillwalking, etc, and it's perfect for those activities.
Ruub on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
When I look at ski guides recommended kit lists...I can't forsee getting this weight down much, if anything it would increase for a hut to hut tour.

Without listing kit item by item, I carry what I call winter essentials, spare layers etc. Steel (rather than alloy crampons) first aid kit, headtorch, a flask and water and food soon add the weight....

Yes you could shave weight off every single item I carry, including the skis etc but that weighed against cost....relatively speaking all the gear is good.

What do you consider a realistic pack weight for ski touring?
In reply to Frank4short:

> WHY?

Maybe that's including skis? My new clown skis feel like they weigh something like that, they claim to be all plastic and only have three pin bindings on them but I suspect they have a core of depleted uranium! :)
Rollo - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:

> Question is this; Most people buy an axe with an adze at the other end, are there not more advantages to the hammer rather than the adze?

I was taught a neat trick last year for steep ground (i.e. doing kick turns) where conditions are generally good but there is the occaisional patch of hard snow.

You could stop and put on ski-crampons if suitable. You could stop, take off skis, put on crampons and potentially rope up. Or you could pull your ice axe from where you have tucked it down between your back and your pack and cut channels ahead of you for your skis. I've used this quite successfully.


Rollo - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Rollo:

SHould have said - hence adze is useful!
Ruub on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:
No not including skis sadly...weighed a ton when I had to carry those a short while!

It did include camera, dedicated gps unit, phone etc....all personal choices I know and not neccessarily essential.
Frank4short - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub: What sort of terrain are you touring on?

I'd ditch the flask, probably the crampons for most non alpine touring (though not necessarily all depends on what one's doing), again same with the first aid kit (as if I can't get myself out of there with MR help anything else can be improvised on the hoof), how much food and water are you carrying? Sure if you're going out from dawn to dusk carry plenty though if just for a 2-4 hour jaunt there's no need to be carrying over a litre of water, a sandwhich and a couple of chocolate bars (or whatever your favorite on the go treat is).

Most kit lists recommend carrying far too much gear so as to cover all possibilities when in reality you don't need that much.

On a non alpine days touring I'll carrying my helmet, goggles (x2), spare fleece, spare hat, spare gloves, arva gear, map, compass, small amount of food and water. Including the weight of my bag i'm pretty sure it rarely ever goes above about 8kg. Add on crampons and maybe another 2 kg.
Ruub on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Appreciate the reply, I don't think we are poles apart give or take a few items!
I however never want to fall into the category that the MR would call ill-equipped if I ever called on their services!
Kimberley on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Yes, you should carry ice screws when touring on glaciers.

No, you do not need a hammer to place modern ice screws.

Petzl snow racer is a good choice.

daWalt on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub:
adze, adze and always adze!
hammer has virtualy no use.
I don't know anyone who tours regularly with a T rated axe.
For anchors you'll have Ice screw(s) and skis, shouldn't need to bury and axe.
no T rated hammers in this list of options:
http://www.facewest.co.uk/IceAxes-Touring.html
ads.ukclimbing.com
OwenM - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub: Interesting thread, as someone said in a previous post ski touring is all about obsessing over weight. When you add it all up it can be quite an eye opener.
Rucksack = 1.2kg
Shovel, probe, transceiver = 1kg
Skins, harscheisen = 0.5kg
Waterproofs, hat gloves, goggles etc. = 1kg
Belay jacket = 0.5kg
Food, water = 1kg
Thatís 5.2kg (11.5lbs) add in axe (0.5kg) and crampons (1kg) = 6.7kg (14.75lbs). Thatís quite a dead weight to lug around all day. If youíre going higher then glacier kit (30m rope, harness, crabs, Ropeman, ice screw) comes to another couple of kilograms. It all adds to the ski tourerís burden.
If I were looking for a new axe Iíd look at,
Petzl Chalet Snowracer axe 340g,
Grival Haute Route axe 320g,
Or Climbing Technology Alpine tour 500g (but a T rated axe).

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.