He is doing the french thing again!
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The French technique is pretty much obsolete now since the invention of better ice tools and crampons, but it was an important technique in the time of one straight ice axe and crampons lacking the front points. It is still fun to practice that on low angle ice.
Photo taken with phone camera (sorry, for the poor quality) in Slippery When Wet. The real climb starts in the narrow chimney above.