/ The difference between an alpenstock and an ice axe

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Only a hill - on 26 Apr 2013
The terms are commonly interchangeable in the 21st century but actually they are different tools altogether! In this post I've summarised the history of the alpenstock and hopefully gone some way towards explaining its importance.

http://www.alexroddie.com/2013/04/alpenstock.html

I'm pretty sure that when Whymper took his big fall on the Matterhorn in 1862 he wished he had a proper axe with him...
MG - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Only a hill: Nice post...but to some up, an alpenstock is basically a walking stick, the modern incarnation of which is produced by Leki?
Only a hill - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:
Basically yep, but trekking poles are much flimsier and I would be even less keen on the idea of cutting steps with a Leki pole =P
MG - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Only a hill: sum! Grrr
nniff - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

So what's an aschenbrenner - or was that just a trade name?
Slugain Howff - on 26 Apr 2013
Only a hill - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Slugain Howff:
> (In reply to nniff)
>
> Stubai Aschenbrenner
>
>
>
> http://www.smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=31728

That's the one ... it's a name for a specific type of ice axe (although I believe they were manufactured for many years and came in a variety of models).
nniff - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Only a hill:


That's the fella - used to use one from time to time.

The question really is is 'Aschenbrenner' a noun or a name? The pic of Peter Aschenbrenner you linked suggests that it's a trade name, a bit like a Whillans harness. But 'Aschen' translating as 'Ash' always made me think that it was an ash-shafted something though.

German using capital letters for both nouns and names really doesn't help either! At least with 'Whillans harness' you know where you stand (or sit).
Only a hill - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
>
> That's the fella - used to use one from time to time.
>
> The question really is is 'Aschenbrenner' a noun or a name? The pic of Peter Aschenbrenner you linked suggests that it's a trade name, a bit like a Whillans harness. But 'Aschen' translating as 'Ash' always made me think that it was an ash-shafted something though.

I don't know for certain, but I have a feeling that Peter Aschenbrenner probably came up with the original design, which was later adopted by Stubai as a brand name. Someone else on the forum will most likely know the answer!
Slugain Howff - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

> I don't know for certain, but I have a feeling that Peter Aschenbrenner probably came up with the original design, which was later adopted by Stubai as a brand name. Someone else on the forum will most likely know the answer!
As the link explains.........
Peter Aschenbrenner was an Austrian Mountain Guide (1902-1998) who was somewhat controversially involved in early expeditions to climb Nanga Parbat in the Himalaya. The German led - and Hitler backed - expedition of 1934 ended in disaster when several Sherpas perished, the result being that Aschenbrenner and fellow expedition member Schneider were hauled before a 'court of honour' for 'abandonment' of Sherpas and were excluded from further expeditions to Nanga Parbat. This was later rescinded and he was back in 1953 taking over the role of expedition leader from Karl Harrligkoffer. On this occasion, Herman Buhl made the summit alone, to claim the first ascent and though the expedition had technically been a success there was much acrimony.
Aschenbrenner left behind a much less controversial legacy in the form of an ice axe which he developed in the early 1930's and got the Stubai company to manufacture for him. These axes became almost universal in the mountains from the mid 1930's right up to the 1960's when metal and alloy shafted tools began to take over. There were many variations and it seems that some were custom made. Batches were made for German mountain troops during WWII and thousands were exported to the UK, mostly just after WWII, many of which have found their way into our collection.

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nniff - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Slugain Howff:

And now I know - many thanks.

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