Ice axe

The ice pick is a piece of equipment alpinism at full speed. It serves the mountaineer as Gehunterstützung on rock, snow, firn and ice, to probe the snow cover on crevasses, climbing in the ice, to brake a fall on sloping snow or firn by means of pimples rescue handle, of an anchor for securing cable partners and to recover in crevasses fallers. Before the introduction of crampons with front points (from 1932), he was also for beating levels in the ice used (similar to a pickaxe ). In this function the ice ax is today only in exceptional cases the application if no crampons are available.


The result is the ice pick with the development of mountain guides in the Alps essence of a cleaver and the Alps Stock. He had an ax head with pick and shovel made ​​of steel and a wooden shaft with steel tip. This predecessor of the modern ice ax is still - after its designer, the climbers Peter Aschenbrenner - referred to as " Aschenbrenner - ice pick ". With ice axes used today stem from aluminum, hoe and shovel is manufactured from alloy steels (eg chromium - molybdenum or nickel-chromium - molybdenum).


Ice Axes are now only very rarely forged by hand. In this case, a piece of engineering steel (0.53 % carbon, 0.95% silicon, 1% magnesium) is pre-pressed in a die and then forged into several stages to form a blank. This in turn is ground and polished, which has among other things a better corrosion resistance result. Modern ice ax are drop forged for the most part. In this method, annealed steel is preformed at a temperature of about 850 ° C and pressed in the die. Thus, the fiber flow is not interrupted, but only aligned, resulting in increased strength.


After application purpose, a distinction ice ax for light or medium high gear and special ice tools for combined tours or ice climbing. They are available in different shaft lengths of 40 to 90 cm, it being assumed that pimples are sufficient in length from 60 to 70 cm in glacier travel.


For ice axes and ice tools, there are two standards, which differ in terms of the relevant tests. Thus, in the "B" units ( basic units ) and "T " units is discriminated ( Units ). The latter are designed for extreme use and are subject to higher requirements.

Literature and Film

In literature and film emerged as a murder weapon is usually the so-called Eispick on a tool in bars for crushing ice; used as Sharon Stone in the film Basic Instinct such a stitch tool. In the horror film The Descent of Nail Marshall an ice pick is used as a murder weapon. The Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky was assassinated in 1940 with an ice pick.


  • Climbing equipment