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Ice Axe Shaft Only?
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Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: If I was the OP... on 09/28/2013 18:29:08 MDT Print View

Thanks Max. I can't say that I'm surprised. To be fair to everyone who criticized my question, many are looking out for my safety. I understand, and kind of expected it. My main question was whether there was some product out there that I simply missed. It doesn't look like it.

Jacob Smith
(Wrongturn) - MLife

Locale: The Soda
Re: on 09/28/2013 20:21:20 MDT Print View

What about the suluk46 ice tool?

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: suluk46 on 09/28/2013 20:36:35 MDT Print View

The Suluk46 is the right type of tool, but the wrong design (for me). It is the right type of tool in that it tries to be "a little something", instead of a certified ice axe. Unfortunately, it is the wrong shape for packing. A straight pole is more what I have in mind.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
When you want something done... on 09/28/2013 21:05:28 MDT Print View

You've got to do it yourself (thankyou Berenstein Bears)

An excellent topic. The typical "ice axe" design and dimensions have about as much to do with lightweight backpacking as big leather boots. Make yourself something out of aluminum or a carbon golf shaft and show em whats up.

If you use trekking poles, I would personally just get a whippet and call it good.

Doug Wolfe
(Wolfie2nd) - F
Here's one on 10/15/2013 08:59:43 MDT Print View

How about using a picket???? Or how bout those trekking pole attachments???

Edited by Wolfie2nd on 10/15/2013 09:15:34 MDT.

Ryan Bressler
(ryanbressler) - F
Re: Ice Axe Shaft Only? on 10/15/2013 10:39:51 MDT Print View

It sounds like a grivel condor head might work for you. It is a self arrest tool but the blade folds down and it also looks like it could be used to top grip the shaft.

The rammer/life link plastic self arrest grip could be a good option too.

http://www.earnyourturns.com/11494/review-self-arrest-grips-3-options/

Not sure on the current availability of either of those.

There are light semi-technical tools with removable blades heads but they are all short.

I personally find poles (with baskets) very effective in that they help prevent small slips. BD makes some burlier poles for skiing like the two section boundary and three section expedition.

David Adair
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Not yer granpa's cane on 10/15/2013 12:16:16 MDT Print View

You might look at some of the canes in the drug stores. They have gotten pretty techy lately including a number with light alloy tubes and a T handle. Cutting one to length and hammering the tube end flat to make a chisel point may accomplish what you want. I have considered replacing my trekking pole with one for reasons similar to yours.

YAMABUSHI !
(THUNDERHORSE) - F
Petzl Snowtube Snow Anchor on 10/29/2013 00:14:45 MDT Print View

Seems like everyone gave you the "scared mother" rap so I'll save my "Nervous dad" speel...

From your description it seem like the Petzl Snowtube Snow Anchor might be your answer.
It is literally a Ice axe shaft sans the head. 22 inches at a claimed weight of 9oz.

http://www.backcountry.com/images/items/large/PTZ/PTZ0245/ONECOL.jpg

In all fairness the only place Ive ever seen them is collecting dust on wacky outdoor shop walls. Its one of those pieces of equipment that was built to fill a gap that really isnt to hard to fill (picket or ice axe). Hope that helps.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Ice Axe Shaft Only? on 10/29/2013 06:07:04 MDT Print View

have i not seen ski poles with self-arrest hooks built into the handles ?
i think i have. if you carry poles, then heck, you might as well have ones with some asswhip hooks on them. there have been spots i would have liked to be with just such a device in my hands.
now i have to go look for these fictional (as yet) pole handles.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
peter - you may be thinking of the black diamond whippet or on 10/29/2013 09:49:50 MDT Print View

the petzl snowscopic which has both a pick and adze and looks more like an ice axe with a ski pole sticking out the bottom. there are also a couple of grip replacements for ski poles that have a pick or similar for self arrest.

J C
(Joomy) - M
so how do you self arrest with that thing? on 10/31/2013 00:57:41 MDT Print View

I'm still at a loss as to how you self-arrest (effectively) with a spike-ended tube.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Ice Axe Shaft Only? on 10/31/2013 01:51:40 MDT Print View

Not sure how to read Peter's comment but Black Diamond has/had the Whippet and Grivel the Condor

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
Re: so how do you self arrest with that thing? on 10/31/2013 08:30:14 MDT Print View

are you talking about op's desire for a shaft with a grip and no axe head? i don't think the plan is to self-arrest, just self-belay.

If you're talking about the petzl snowtube, as pointed out, it’s just a variation of a picket for anchoring a belay, not (meant to be) a substitute for an ice axe.

Edited by RICKO on 10/31/2013 08:32:05 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Re: ski poles with self-arrest hooks built into the handles on 10/31/2013 09:13:11 MDT Print View

The late Paul Ramer of Colorado created a very unique ski pole in the late 1970s. It had 2 different interchangeable handles that could be used, one of which was a functional self- arrest tool. The aluminum poles were very robust, with a weight of 1# 6 oz./pair with regular XC strapped handles. The funky thing about these was that you could remove the handles and the two poles would clip together end-to-end to create a functional avalanche probe. Ramer was a true MYOG genius, and he made his products available to us through Boulder's local mountaineering shops.

Ramer pole

Spelling edit: It's spelled genius, not "genious"

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 10/31/2013 09:16:34 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: so how do you self arrest with that thing? on 10/31/2013 09:49:28 MDT Print View

>> I'm still at a loss as to how you self-arrest (effectively) with a spike-ended tube.

>>>> are you talking about op's desire for a shaft with a grip and no axe head? i don't think the plan is to self-arrest, just self-belay.

>>>> If you're talking about the petzl snowtube, as pointed out, it’s just a variation of a picket for anchoring a belay, not (meant to be) a substitute for an ice axe.

As the OP, I can say you are mostly correct. I mainly want this for self belay. But in a pinch, on soft snow, you can use a spike ended tube for self arrest. I would grab it a few inches from the pointy end with my left hand (I'm right handed) and somewhere towards the top with my right hand. (I would figure out the strength of the tube before leaving the house). You wouldn't have the hammer motion you have with an axe, so you wouldn't be able to penetrate hard ice, but on snow it would work better than your fist* or even a regular pole (since a pole won't go down as deep). The key is to match your technique with surroundings. On hard snow or icy snow, I would self belay the entire way. On softer snow, with a better runout and a more moderate angle, I would use it as a half-ass arrest tool.

* Knowing how to self arrest with your fist is important, in my opinion. You could always lose your ice axe, or encounter unexpected snow on a loop trip. Again, I wouldn't depend on it if failure meant death, but I've used the technique to avoid nasty scrapes.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
the important calculus of determining appropriate protection - what are the chances of a fall and what are the consequences – everybody has their own risk curve on 10/31/2013 10:21:39 MDT Print View

"in a pinch, on soft snow, you can use a spike ended tube for self arrest. I would grab it a few inches from the pointy end with my left hand (I'm right handed) and somewhere towards the top with my right hand."

that's pretty-much the idea with a ski pole self-arrest. people have been successful using it, but it's not as natural or easy a motion as with an ice axe. i’ve never used a ski pole/whippet in lieu of an ice axe for a self-belay, but the few times i’ve seen it done they all had removed the snow basket for deeper/easier penetration and to have a tighter hole.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Grivel Air Tech on 12/25/2013 16:45:15 MST Print View

I could see using something like you describe for ascending steep slopes, in terms of self belay, but if a slide was serious enough that you needed to self-arrest, I wouldn't be trusting my life to just a shaft. As you know and others have mentioned, the shaft isn't used to self arrest. There are places to save weight and this isn't one of them. That said, there are some lightwight choices out there. I have a Grivel Air-Tech and it's extremely light. You could also opt for a the shortest shaft available or cut an existing axe shaft. You could also consider a technical axe which would be lighter and shorter, but less comfortable to carry at the head. The ergonomics of self arresting with just a shaft would be awkward, especially considering that you have to respond quickly. I suppose just a shaft is better than nothing, but I'd take a look at the Air Tech with a short shaft.

Edited by redpoint on 12/25/2013 16:50:16 MST.