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Ice axe leash for general mountaineering?
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Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Ice axe leash for general mountaineering? on 01/23/2009 19:30:33 MST Print View

I want a leash for my Camp Corsa 70cm ice axe. Any suggestions?

I'm not sure if I should go for some webbing tied in a loop, or get a Black Diamond slider leash.

I just want something comfortable for going up moderate snow slopes and glacier travel. The ice axe is pretty much just for self arrest and using as a cane. I do switch hands a lot, too.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Ice axe leash for general mountaineering? on 01/23/2009 20:16:09 MST Print View

A lighter, more flexible, and probably cheaper option is 5-6 mm Perlon, like you use for Prusik loops.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
ice axe leash. on 01/23/2009 21:00:38 MST Print View

Hi Jeff.

When I did the Sierra High Route, there was TONS of snow, and at the last minute, I realized I should have a leash of some kind on my axe. So I just grabbed some perhaps 3/4&quot webbing; that already had a little buckle on it, and fed it through the top (pick end) hole of my old Cassin Ghost. It's great for putting your wrist through - i can give it a half turn, and it sort of locks the axe down across the back of my hand onto the pick head (feels very secure on sketchier snow). Could probably make it lighter with 6mm rope, but the wider webbing feels good across the hand. It's easy to switch hands. This was not to chop steps with, just to make sure the axe didn't leave my hand if I slipped and had to self-belay or arrest.

Tom, how would you make a leash from the 6mm rope? Just at the pick end, or allowing use to chop steps too?

There are lots of experienced snow/ice folks on here, so I'm sure someone has better advice than me.

Edited by DaveT on 01/23/2009 21:01:30 MST.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
ice ask leash on 01/23/2009 21:21:23 MST Print View

I like 5 mil cord tied through the hole in the head
and leading to a runner over the head and shoulder.
With the right length of cord you
can switch hands and chop steps with out having to deal with
a wrist loop and potentially having the loop off when you

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: ice ask leash on 01/23/2009 22:38:39 MST Print View

That's a great idea about the runner. Another good idea might be to tie it into the front harness loop. Perhaps not as good as a hand loop, but it would be easier to switch hand.
I think I'll get some 3/8" webbing rather than a premade leash. More versatile.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: ice axe leash. on 01/25/2009 17:41:56 MST Print View

I use a tether attached to the head of my 70 cm ax. Its length is calibrated to stabilize my hand about 6-8 cm above the spike for either chopping steps or above the head placements when facing in on steep slopes. This length is also suitable for allowing me to switch hands when reversing direction on ascents of lower angles slopes without bothering to switch the tether back and forth between uphill hands at every switchback. Some people, as one poster mentioned, attach the tether to their harness. I never liked that when I was climbing because it was one more piece of rope near my Pearabiner(locking biner) when getting ready to belay, and I'm a BIG fan of the KISS principle when it comes to rope management and climbing in general. Also, attaching the tether to your harness would make it impossible to place the ax ubove the head without having a very long tether which could be very dangerous, IMO. Never tried it when not climbing simply because I don't wear a harness unless I'm roping up. The idea of attaching it to a cross body sling is interesting but, again, for me that would apply to a technical climbing situation. Otherwise, a sling is just one more piece of gear that add weight to your kit. The OP did not indicate he was going to be climbing so I think he could get by just fine with only a tether. My 2 cents.

cameron eibl
(cjeibl) - F

Locale: San Diego
Re: Ice axe leash for general mountaineering? on 01/25/2009 18:23:25 MST Print View

On low angle snow I prefer to not use a leash because it makes switching sides faster. The real advantage of a leash on low angle snow and ice is to prevent losing it if you fall into a crevasse. When I do use a leash on glaciers I use a length of 3/8 inch webbing where the end loop is big enough to easily get my gloved hand into. Do not automatically think a leash is necessary find what works for you. Thats just my 2 cents.

Edited by cjeibl on 01/25/2009 18:24:16 MST.

Klas Eklof
(klaseklof) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Ryan's UL leash on 01/26/2009 13:37:31 MST Print View

Ryan's UL leash idea is here:

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: ice axe leash. on 05/08/2009 11:15:25 MDT Print View

If you use the runner/leash method another advantage is you
can quickly holster or stick the axe between your pack or
sweater and back for a climbing move or just to use both hands
and still have it secured.

Grivel SINGLE SPRING on 05/08/2009 14:20:30 MDT Print View

<< An elastic sling system to avoid losing tools when climbing on rock or ice. This solves the problem for climbers who love climbing without a leash. The Single Spring is attached to the harness by looping it through the tape ring over the harness itself. The small carabiner is hooked onto the hole on the axe’s head when using it to lean on when walking or through the hole on the spike when holding the shaft in traction. In both cases it is impossible to lose the axe. The system allows the climber to swap hands or tool easily without interfering with the manoeuvre thanks to it compactness and the arm can be extended to its limit thanks to its elasticity. Compact when required, long when required. >>