An ice axe is an essential tool for mountaineers. It can be used in many ways, not the least of which is preventing yourself from falling. The ice axe sizes vary with some 60 cm and others 75 cm. Opinions differ on how long or short the axe must be. For a newcomer it is best to size the tool first before buying.
How to Size the Axe Properly
Grab the axe’s head; this will be where the shaft is connected. The shaft must hang down to the ground. Stand up naturally and put both your hands by your side.
Get a mirror and see how far down the ice axe’s tip reaches compared to your leg. If the size is correct, it should get down to the ankles. If the tip is too high or low, you will need to choose another ice axe size.
To get the exact size, use a tape measure from the fist to the bone of your ankle. Have a friend help you with the measurement. A salesperson can also help you with this measurement. Remember that ice axe dimensions are set in centimeters not inches, as the following products will show.
Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe Pro
The Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe comes in the following sizes: 55 cm, 60 cm, 65 cm, 70 cm and 75 cm. It weighs 485 g and has a B shaft rating. The shaft is made of aluminum and the pick is steel. This axe is designed for use by mountaineers.
The head is ergonomically designed to ensure a steady grip. The design also ensures clear hand rotation when into self arrest. The curved adze is designed to slice through ice rapidly. Whichever ice axe size you choose, the unit will come with a one year warranty.
Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe with Grip
This ice axe is available in the following lengths: 55 cm, 60 cm, 65 cm, 70 cm and 75 cm. Like the other Black Diamond Raven, it weighs 485 g. Its unique feature is the rubber bottom grip. This is meant to provide extra security when on steep areas. The grip also keeps your hands insulated.
Tips for Choosing an Ice Axe
Start by noting what your needs are. There are three major types of ice axes. The walking ice axe is employed for general hiking. The mountaineering axe is used for hiking and climbing more rugged terrain.
The high end types are called the technical axes. These are used for advanced climbing and mountaineering. All of these are available in different sizes and styles.
B rated axes are the simple types sued for basic climbing. The T-types or technical are the more advanced. Use the axe type that is suited for your climbing. When you shop for axes, bring a pair of gloves with you. Wear them as you handle the axe.
As any mountaineer will tell you, the ice axe size is absolutely vital. By knowing just how to correctly size the axe, you won’t make a mistake when buying.