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[pct-l] Ice axe classes?

Now that many people have offered their insight on what to look for in the 
axe itself, for which I'm very grateful I now need help on the next obvious 

How do I learn to use the thing so that I don't kill myself?

What have previous hikers done that started the PCT with little experience in 
the western mountains (the "Real" mountains)?  

The idea of taking a class is probably necessary.  How have others learned to 
use the ultimate manly tool?  

Many thanks,
* From the PCT-L |  Need help? http://www.backcountry.net/faq.html  *