There are many ice axes on the market and sometimes it is difficult to know which ice axe to buy. In this ice axe buying guide, I aim to clarify their uses and shed light on how to choose an ice axe. The use and benefits of each type of ice axe are detailed including why they are different shapes and sizes and why buying the correct model is important.
Which ice axe to choose will depend entirely on what terrain an individual intends to cover. A walking axe which is straight has an important role in stopping unintentional slips and helps when cutting snow. A technical ice axe will do what a walking axe can but not as efficiently. However, the bent shaft will aid climbing steep ground and be stronger for the demands of an ice or mixed climber.
In this article; How to Choose an Ice Axe, I will not argue what a walking axe CAN be used for as historically all axes were straight and often partially made of wood. Modern climbers now benefit from tools developed for specific ‘types’ of climbing, and so I will focus on the benefits of modern tools rather than being nostalgic and traditional in my opinion.