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[pct-l] Re: Rambings and ice axes.

For what it's worth, here is another post!  ANDYMAN of Eugene asked if he
should take an ice ax along on his thru-hike this year.  I suggest yes,
especially in this year of high snowpack.  In 96 a few people I met did okay
without an ice ax, but I would not want to be in their boots as they did
parts of the high Sierra.  One hiker mailed her ice ax home from Independence
and opted for ski poles instead.  Anyway, this is a personal preference and
some folks don't have much experience using one anyway.  But my advice is to
learn how to use it and carry it.

My choice for my thru-hike in 96 was extremely unique.  I carried my ice ax
all the way from Campo to Manning!  But no other single item had more uses.
 The ax came in handy as a walking stick, mono-pod for my camera (lot's of
good self-portraits), support for my tarp, balancing stick for crossing
creeks and climbing over downed trees, predator killer (never had to use it
for this, but I once told a tall tale to some tourists about killing a
mountain lion), and defensive weapon against agressive people and canines
(the latter WAS needed at least twice).  Oh, did I mention cat-hole digger?
  I hope this will encourage others to opt for safety.  This is one item
where pack weight is not the only consideration.  

Sure I got weird comments, but I really didn't care what anyone else thought.
 Hey, I had my ice ax for self-defence in case things got out of hand!  (just
kidding).  And the best part was that I didn't have to mail the thing back
home.  The only discomfort was when I had to carry my umbrella, forcing me to
lash the ice ax to my pack.  Also, I was careful not to carry the ice ax in
town, so I lashed it again in civilization.  If you take it to Campo (via
commercial flight to San Diego), the airlines don't like them on board, and
you should tape the ends even if it goes into the cargo hold.  

Roger Carpenter
Vancouver, WA  USA
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