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[pct-l] Re: Ice Axe advice

Wendy et al:

>   ok here are my three questions.
>1. any suggestions for buying a ice axe. i mean any good ones bad ones. my
>ice axe teacher  said i needed  at least a 70 cm but ray says small.  i lookd
>at the store and there are so many choices all with great info but which one.

I have to whole-heartedly agree with Alan Julliard's advice, but with
slight modification:
1) Buy a long axe: measure flat-of-palm to floor-buy no more than an inch
2) You don't need high-tech, but don't go el-cheapo-you will use it hard.
3) You must have a wrist strap.
4) Practice BEFORE you get on the trail. As a SAR team member and previous
professional mountaineering instructor, I can't tell you how many times I
have seen injuries from novice ice axe use, and novice practice. You don't
want to cut your trip short! The same advice is given for crampons.
5) If you really practice with your axe and get comfortable with its
ability to stop you on the steeps, you probably won't need to carry
6) My thru-hike was a LONG time ago ('74), but weather is weather. Don't be
surprised at all if you really want your axe in the San Jacintos and on
Baaden-Powell, and for a solid month thru the Sierra.
7) The REAL reason to carry your axe for a long time, is for
stream-crossings-a tripod stance realy makes you safer.

Good Luck

Ben Schifrin
Wilderness Press
2440 Bancroft Way
Berkeley CA 94704
Home: (209) 586-5767
Work: (209) 526-4500 ext 6911

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