Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

ice axe size

Post climbing gear-related questions, offer advice. For classifieds, please use that forum.
 

ice axe size

Postby j4ever » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:12 am

When i measure for axe i measure at 72.3cm, should i get the 70 or 75cm axe? or am i over thinking it a bit,lol. Also does anyone have any exp with the bd venom ice axe? Thanks.
j4ever

 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:35 am
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: ice axe size

Postby Mountainjeff » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:56 am

Get 70 cm for a basic glacier ax. I measure about the same size, but 75 is so long that it can be awkward to handle during self arrest. On steeper slopes I could almost go 5-10 cm shorter. If you are getting the bd venom and plan on doing steeper climbs, you are going to want something closer to 60 or 65 cm.
User Avatar
Mountainjeff

 
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:55 pm
Location: Bremerton, Washington, United States
Thanked: 12 times in 8 posts

The following user would like to thank Mountainjeff for this post
j4ever

Re: ice axe size

Postby j4ever » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:35 am

thanks,yeah good point about the 75 i forgot about that,i like to get an axe like the venom for use with things a little more technical,in a couple weeks im going to Shasta to climb the Hotlum/Bolam Ridge,not sure but maybe Liberty Ridge next year,i have only climb Baker so far,anyway thanks and my name is Jeff too.
j4ever

 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:35 am
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: ice axe size

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:51 pm

Unless you are taller than 6'6", I would go for 65cm and if you are < 6' get a 60cm axe. They are axes meant for climbing steep snow and ice slopes, not walking sticks. The longer the axe, the more effort it takes to lift it high enough to plunge into steep snow slopes. I'm 5'9" and my partner is 5'11". We both use identical axes in a 58cm length and have never wished for anything longer.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2876
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

The following user would like to thank ExcitableBoy for this post
j4ever, TimB

Re: ice axe size

Postby Dane1 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:48 pm

I'm 6'1 and have climbed with a 60cm for most of my career. It was/is never long enough for the majority of Denali, Rainier/volcano climbs and never short enough for really steep (65+) technical ground.

It works but always a PIA. I can tell you from experience that an axe on snow is simply a walking stick with some added features that are helpful in a fall or a number of ways to climb steeper terrain with.

If you are asking I'd suggest a 70 but a 75 is easy enough to use. And at times even more helpful. When you get into terrian where you really want a shorter tool it won't be a general mountaineering axe.

I use a 50 cm axe most of the time these days and ski/trekking poles.

But I have often wished for a longer axe when using even a 60cm axe....seldom... if ever... wished for a shorter one.
User Avatar
Dane1

 
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:35 am
Thanked: 40 times in 31 posts

Re: ice axe size

Postby Vitaliy M. » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:11 pm

j4ever wrote:thanks,yeah good point about the 75 i forgot about that,i like to get an axe like the venom for use with things a little more technical,in a couple weeks im going to Shasta to climb the Hotlum/Bolam Ridge,not sure but maybe Liberty Ridge next year,i have only climb Baker so far,anyway thanks and my name is Jeff too.


For Liberty Ridge you would need ice tools. Probably not a good idea to go from Hotlum Bolam to Liberty Ridge unless you do a lot more other mountaineering maybe ice climbing too.
Get an axe depending on your height. If you are medium sized get a 60cm. If really tall maybe 65 or 70cm. Just get something light weight. If you want to use it for general mountaineering of slopes up to about 45 degrees you do not really need to buy another axe. You do not need the newest gear to climb mountains to be honest. Sometimes it helps, but not really required.
User Avatar
Vitaliy M.

 
Posts: 1011
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:23 am
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Thanked: 287 times in 215 posts

Re: ice axe size

Postby Dane1 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:26 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:
j4ever wrote:For Liberty Ridge you would need ice tools. Probably not a good idea to go from Hotlum Bolam to Liberty Ridge unless you do a lot more other mountaineering maybe ice climbing too.


I agree, Liberty is a big step up on Shasta. More experience is a lot more important than your tool choice. But depending on the time of the year...spring and summer ascents of Liberty seldom if ever require a pair of ice tools. A general mountain axe and another shorter tool (a short axe) of some sort will work fine. I've taken clients up Liberty a number of times with them using nothing but a 70cm axe. Just takes some thoughtful route finding around the upper 'shrund.
User Avatar
Dane1

 
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:35 am
Thanked: 40 times in 31 posts

Re: ice axe size

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:36 pm

Dane1 wrote: A general mountain axe and another shorter tool (a short axe) of some sort will work fine.

+1. I did LR, plus many other classic steepish alpine ice routes with a 60 cm SMC axe paired with an SMC Himalayan hammer. A more modern version might be a Petzl Sum'Tec axe and an Aztarex hammer.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2876
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: ice axe size

Postby Flattlander » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:24 am

For moderate snow climbing, I've read that you should hold the ax by the head and let your arm hang down at your side. The spike should come down to right about where that knobby bone sticks out of your ankle. I'm 6 ft. tall. I used this sizing method when buying a BD Raven, and wound up with a 65 cm one. Has been the perfect length and design for a general mountain ax. It isn't super cool-looking, but it was about 60 bucks, doesn't weigh much, and is pointy in all the right places.
User Avatar
Flattlander

 
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Johnson, Vermont, United States
Thanked: 6 times in 3 posts

Re: ice axe size

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:44 am

Flattlander wrote: is pointy in all the right places.

That's important.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2876
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

The following user would like to thank ExcitableBoy for this post
Vitaliy M.

Re: ice axe size

Postby j4ever » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:11 pm

wow,thanks everyone! i was going to take an intro to ice climbing course before the end of the year but after this Shasta climb there is a good chance i will have to get a partial tear repaired in my left shoulder,so that will knock me out a couple of months. What would be a good step up from the Hotlum/Bolam Ridge climb?
j4ever

 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:35 am
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: ice axe size

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:42 pm

From my point of view you need to build a strong base of technical skills including: waterfall climbing, multi pitch trad rock routes, grade IV and V aid climbs, crevasse rescue and glacier travel skills, etc. If you are not able to start ice climbing this season, perhaps take an avalanche course, an orienteering (
map and compass) course, and a wilderness first aid course. Once you have these basic skills down you can start stepping it up in the alpine. Here are some suggestions for moderate alpine routes to try:

Mt Baker, North Ridge
Mt Adams, Adams Glacier
Mt Rainier, Kautz Glacier, Fuhrer Finger
Mt Shuksan, Fisher Chimneys
Forbidden Peak, West Ridge
Mt Hood, Sandy Glacier Headwall
Colchuck Peak, North Buttress Couloir
Mt Stuart, Sherpa Glacier
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2876
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 422 times in 306 posts

Re: ice axe size

Postby lcarreau » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:56 pm

Never hurts to aim for the biggest size available ..

Image
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4046
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 843 times in 637 posts


Return to Gear

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.