UKC

/ Leash question

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jmerrick21 - on 11 Feb 2018

Hello, I’m in need of some advice please 

In my limited experience with using ice axes I found wrist leashes to be a bit of a faff, especially when I need to use hands on rock 

Is there any good reason why I can’t attach my ice axe with 5mm cord to each rucksack strap? Obviously they would be appropriate lengths and I know they would not be part of a safety system, just to stop dropping them.

reason are to save a bit of cash and to have less potential for tripping.

GridNorth - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to jmerrick21:

Leash less is the way to go but cord, whilst preventing you from losing your axes, will end up being a tangled, frustrating mess.  If you are nervous about going totally leash less it's well worth investing in a specialised leash with a gizmo that rotates and helps to prevent tangles.

I speak from experience having gone through all the "fashions" of ice climbing.

Al

tjdodd - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to jmerrick21:

Are you talking about climbing or walking?  If climbing then use something like http://www.outside.co.uk/shop/Spinner+Leash.  This prevents accidental dropping of axes.  If you are climbing with axes you are likely to be using them all (most) of the time.  You really need the axes connected to your harness (i.e. in front of you) when climbing.

If you are talking about walking and general winter mountaineering then go with nothing - I agree that leashes are just a faff.  You will be on moderate terrain that even if you dropped an axe you should be fine but you are extremely unlikely to drop it.  If you then need to use hands on rock at times then put the axe between your shoulders/back and the backpack temporarily.  You can easily place it and remove if from there.

timjones - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to jmerrick21:

I would recommend going leashless, you won't regret it.

 

Unless you're clumsy and in the habit of dropping really important stuff ;)

Rick Graham on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to jmerrick21:

I wish folk would stop confusing leashes and lanyards.

A leash is a wrist sling to support your hand when pulling on the axe. Modern climbing axes are so called " leashless".

A lanyard is to stop you dropping the axe. Confusingly they are often called leashes.

On older axes my favourite system, which Steve Reid introduced to me, is to make a lanyard of 5mm cord tied to the end of the leash connected to a point as close to my armpit as possible, it is then always the best length, whether using the head or handle of the axe. A screwgate on the shoulder strap of a rucksack or a bandolier being favourite. Mick Fowler famously used a similar system and once ended hanging from his rucksack too pumped to hold his axes.

Be careful if using the bandolier method as you can end up hanging from an armpit (or neck!) , a short link to the harness can sort this risk.

What I find a pain with leashless axes and a lanyard together is using the head of the axe when the spring lanyard is attached to the spike end from the belay loop. 

GridNorth - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

> I wish folk would stop confusing leashes and lanyards.

Quite right, slap my wrists   You would think I would know better.

Al

jmerrick21 - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

Thanks for that. I think this is kind of what I had in mind.

i guess a Parisian bandolier would stop the hanging myself problem. But possibly best just get some spinner leashes/lanyard 

 

 

nufkin - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to jmerrick21:

>  Is there any good reason why I can’t attach my ice axe with 5mm cord to each rucksack strap? Obviously they would be appropriate lengths and I know they would not be part of a safety system, just to stop dropping them

A potential problem with doing that might be that it'd then start getting tricky to swap hands, which is one of the great boons of not using leashes. You might not need to be doing that if the terrain's not very technical - but in that case you probably wouldn't need to worry about dropping the axes.
Or you could have an ice-screw krab on your harness to clip them to if you want to keep them handy but secure

jmerrick21 - on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to nufkin:

 

 I like that idea

Rick Graham on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> Quite right, slap my wrists   You would think I would know better.

> Al

I think you do , Al.

Its more the manufacturers fault, surprised to see most call lanyards leashes.

Fortunately I have never dropped an axe, but once using leashes only, no lanyards, had a slope go whilst setting up a belay ( on minus 2 on the Ben ). Somehow I  managed to out run it and had to climb back up axeless to the belay 10 metres above. My second was non the wiser

Lanyards can be a faff, the spinners will help, but far better than dropping an axe or two.

Means also that you can relax about how secure an axe is when not hanging on to it, no need to be realy careful putting it in a good placement/holster /over shoulder/mouth.

Rick Graham on 11 Feb 2018
In reply to jmerrick21:

> i guess a Parisian bandolier would stop the hanging myself problem. But possibly best just get some spinner leashes/lanyard 

I would experiment in a safe place hanging off the Parisian bandolier. You might not like it

Thats why the recommended attachment point is the harness belay loop. If you fall off, the axe may catch or stay hooked in, you are then hanging off the leash or lanyard, whatever its called.

They are only rated to a kN or so , but rarely snap in a fall.

 


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