Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

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drManhattan

 
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Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by drManhattan » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:40 am

HI all,

I am 170cm tall and just wondering what size Ice axe and what size Hammer I should get.

Specifically looking at "alpines axes" as shown here: http://www.ellis-brigham.com/advice-ins ... ying-guide

I am assuming the ice hammer usually should be a bit shorter than the axe?

In for peoples thoughts!

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:00 pm

Your standard piolet should be 60 cm. 'Second' tools like North Wall hammers should be 50 cm. If you are looking for tools for technical alpine and/or waterfall ice climbing, you want a matched pair with both the hammer and adze at the same length, 50 cm.

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nartreb

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by nartreb » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:58 pm

The "alpine axe" category on that page seems to describe an awkward middle ground between a general-purpose axe (mostly for snowfields and for not-to-steep glaciers) and a climbing tool (for hard vertical ice). I'm not sure when I'd carry such a thing... Did you have particular routes/mountains in mind?

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:26 pm

nartreb wrote:The "alpine axe" category on that page seems to describe an awkward middle ground between a general-purpose axe (mostly for snowfields and for not-to-steep glaciers) and a climbing tool (for hard vertical ice). I'm not sure when I'd carry such a thing... Did you have particular routes/mountains in mind?


I think a semi-technical tool like the Petzl Sum'Tec, BD Venom, Grivel Air Tech Evo in a 60 cm length paired with a hammer is an excellent combination for moderately technical alpine routes where you will be climbing as much lower angle terrain as steep terrain. Routes like Rainier's Liberty Ridge come to mind.

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asmrz

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by asmrz » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:06 am

Agree with ExitableBoy...

For moderately technical alpine terrain (no vertical ice) I have used the BD Venoms for years. I'm 171 and 60 cm axe paired with 50 cm hammer feels the best. I never thought 70 cm or longer axe was useful for anything... If the terrain is gentle, most of the time you can just use two ski poles and crampons. Over let's say 35-40 degrees, the 60/50 combination works great.

In the old days (40 years ago) people would say, extend you hand with the axe pointing down toward your toes.
The angle between the tip of the axe and your toes is the steepness it will work best at....usually the angle is between cc high 30s and low 50s for 60cm tool and average height (cc 5.9-6 feet). Obviously it depends on your height. In general, the formula still works. Most people prefer shorter tools (I do), some don't.

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Damien Gildea

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by Damien Gildea » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:19 am

asmrz wrote: I never thought 70 cm or longer axe was useful for anything...


Except 200cm / 6'7" tall people like me!

For anyone, if you are using an axe on moderate terrain and it is too short for you, you will find yourself bending over too far to place it at every step, which makes breathing inefficient and puts you off-balance.

OTOH, if your axe is too long for your height, it will be unwieldy in your hand as you need to lift it higher each time you plunge it into the surface, especially if the surface is firm and it doesn't go in far.

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drManhattan

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by drManhattan » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:06 am

Pretty much gave me all the info I needed thank you!

The 60cm axe and 50cm hammer looks like the go.

EB is right regarding the tools I am looking at. Thank you all for the quick responses.

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seano

 
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Re: Size difference between ice axe and hammer?

by seano » Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:45 pm

asmrz wrote:I never thought 70 cm or longer axe was useful for anything...

Boot-skiing! On steep and/or uneven snow, I find that trailing a long axe as a brake/tripod gives much better balance and control. The technique is harder and more tiring with a short axe or ice tool. You might be able to use a pole for this, but I wouldn't be surprised if a carbon one snapped.

Maybe I'm the only one who enjoys this enough to tote around an alpenstock...


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