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Ice axes

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of buying an ice axe and possibly some crampons. I just want a mountaineering ice axe, nothing really fancy. What is the best in terms of quality and price?
post #2 of 6
I have the Camp L480 lightweight aluminum crampons and the Camp Highland lightweight aluminum ice axes. Both are designed for ski mountaineering, and will work fine going up anything you can ski down. You can check them out at: www.mec.ca (which is where I bought them from)

My brother has the slightly heavier duty Grivel G10 for crampons, although a lighter-weight G10L is also available. For ice axe he has the Grivel Air Tech Racing. You can check them out at: http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/e_index.htm (which is where he bought them from)

If you want something for more technical routes, then I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, but we've been really happy with these for steep snow, as opposed to ice, or mixed climbing.
post #3 of 6
I've got Charlet-Moser 'Ecrins' crampons w/ rapidfix straps. They are super light, adapt easily from hiking boot to ski boot, and articulate for bendable hiking boot soles. Not so great for serious technical ice. Whatever you go with, get a crampon bag or point protectors for them and mount them with your shovel between them and your spine

Also a super lightweight Grivel 'Mont Blanc' axe. I don't take the axe out much though cause I just don't like skiing with a stick with pointy ends tied to my back. My feeling is in most cases if crampons aren't enough to ascend, you probably shouldn't be skiing it.
post #4 of 6
...and if it's steep/icy enough to need crampons, you should have your ice axe out at all times...right? How will you self-belay? How will you self-arrest if you slip?

be safe.
post #5 of 6
I've been using the same Grivel ice-axes for 15 years. Same goes for the Chouinard crampons (now Black Diamond). When skiing, I've never felt the need for crampons, but have been very happy to have the ice-axe.
post #6 of 6
Crampons give incredible grip (obviously) and confidence in hiking spring suncrust - slush refrozen from overnight cooling and awaiting re-thaw from mornings rising temperatures. If you do a lot of spring backcountry in steeper areas, you'll be pretty aware of just how great an aid crampons are. The idea behind them is that you don't need to self-belay or self-arrest because you DON'T slip.

I don't do technical iceclimbing to approach ski runs (...well, once). I consider ice axes more of a technical tool, and when you start to need 2 or 3 points of constant surface contact in the ascent, the decent isn't going to be on a pair of skis.
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