/ Ice axe(s) for Kuffner

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Jonny on 20 Jun 2017

So I'm off up the Kuffner arête this week, packing light, and wondering about which axes to take. My current thoughts are one all-around axe that happens to be great on the icy stuff, and a light'n'tiny skimo-style axe for brief steeps. Conditions are going to be unusually warm for this time of year, probably above freezing during the nights until above 4500m (and therefore well above the Kuffner's difficulties).

Anyone with knowledge of the route at this time of year have any opinions on what's needed? Could I get away with just the one axe, or, on the contrary, will I need two sturdy tools?
Post edited at 00:12
nb - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jonny:

One all-round axe usually does the job, although I suppose a second might give you extra confidence in places (eg traverse from demi-lune under the Pointe de l'Androsace can be steep).

Wouldn't do it unless I had reasonable temps though! Might be better staying on rock...
Jonny on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to nb:
So perhaps a bit too warm for it you say? Even with a midnight start?

It's certainly unseasonably warm for late June, but perhaps not for typical July/August temps (when lots of people do it, although perhaps ill-advisedly). I'm not sure what kind of objective temperature metric to use to judge these things. Perhaps the fact that it'll never go below freezing in the crux areas?
Post edited at 18:47
Tim Davies - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jonny:

I took one all round axe and a quasar type technical tool. Mostly moving together with little or no gear-I'd go for decent tools rather than super lightweight.

Also the access couloir was a bit rotten and cruddy (warm) and two decent tools were useful.

nb - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jonny:

O° isotherm at 4500m, nights at their shortest (so not much time for snow to freeze), route gets the sun first thing in the morning = not a great combo. You might get away with a 1 or 2 of these, but all 3 is pushing it!

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