View Full Version : Gee, I didn't know I needed one....

06-15-2014, 23:09
Saw a guy hand-carrying an ice axe up Jane Bald (tn/nc) on Saturday morning. I guess you never know when the need might arise.

(not calling anybody out...but it was funny in an odd sort of way. I'll give him benefit of the doubt, maybe training for an Everest trip?).

Another Kevin
06-16-2014, 05:57
An ice axe in the summer in the South is ... odd.

The nearest I've come to that is carrying one in my local nature preserve in winter. It's totally unnecessary for the trails, but there's one steep-sided canyon in there that gets a lot of snow blown in, runs out safely onto a frozen stream, and is perfect for self-arrest practice.

06-16-2014, 09:09
was he wearing a leather face mask? Did you hear banjos?

Sarcasm the elf
06-16-2014, 09:33
I think I've seen that exact beer commercial before. If you had followed him, you'd have seen that when he got to the top he pulled a Coors light out of his pack. As soon as he opened the can, the bald was instantly covered be three feet of snow along with a country rock band and bikini girls on snowboards.

Tipi Walter
06-16-2014, 09:34
was he wearing a leather face mask? Did you hear banjos?

It's fairly common to see guys carrying full axes, as shown---he's the one on the right.


06-16-2014, 09:39
It's fairly common to see guys carrying full axes, as shown---he's the one on the right.

....when there is snow or ice....and it isnt june in the southern appalachians.

Tipi Walter
06-16-2014, 09:40
Did you hear banjos?

Ha ha but oh so true. I was backpacking along the Tellico River and ran into these guys swimming and acting peculiar---was I in danger? You decide---

I tried to get away but . . . . .

And what's really weird as I went back to the same place a year later and was greeted by the same disturbing guys! The one on the right has severe problems.

(Disclaimer---Ha Ha just kidding, I know these guys).

06-16-2014, 10:01
Maybe it was a ULA potty trowel. I suspect that had I met anyone in Death Valley on my Death Valley to Whitney hike that they would have thought it was quite odd that I was carrying an ice axe (potty trowel) in the middle of the desert. In fact it was heavily used going up Whitney.

06-16-2014, 11:37
Didn't have blood on it did it?

06-16-2014, 11:43
Excellent humor! But, it is funny, I have some hiking/climbing pals who never, ever hike in any snowy conditions w/o their ice axes, even if only in very modestly snowy conditions. It's a culture out here. Axes are also very useful tools around camp.

It is also funny that RIGHT NOW is the single most important time of year to be carrying one out here in CO if you're going to be climbing anything high; there are leftover snow fields all over the place that need to be crossed, and the snow is rock-hard in most places (high); carrying and knowing how to use an ice axe is essential to safety. I realize this doesn't apply to along the AT right now.

FWIW: my ice axe weighs 8.5 ounces, full length. Camp model. I have a heavier one for more extreme steep terrain.

Just Bill
06-16-2014, 11:58
One man's hill is another man's mountain.

You never know though- I saw a guy here at the stair's at swallow cliff (old toboggan slide with about 200' of stairs) carrying a full alpine kit.
This place is in one of the wealthier sub-burbs and has lots of hot housewives (forget the high school track teams that also train here) fashionably getting in their outdoor stair-master workouts.
Strange to go to a forest preserve with benz and bmw outpacing the subaru's 2-1.
So there's me in my skirt, and this dude with his alpine pack and ice axe- turned out he was training for Rainier.
We tramped up and down the stairs talking- which was nice as the "Housewives of Swallow Cliff" gave us a wide berth.

06-16-2014, 12:34
yep, I am definitely giving him the benefit of the doubt as it may have well been a training hike.

I was up there doing some photography work...working back and forth across the balds. It was funny running into people that had seen him....the first comment in greeting was almost always "hey, did you see the guy with the ice axe?".

06-16-2014, 12:48
So he bought a pack that had an ice axe loop.
Not wanting it to lay there unused....

Pedaling Fool
06-16-2014, 13:59
Obviously the guy was an ax murderer.

English Stu
06-16-2014, 14:31
Makes great cat holes.

Another Kevin
06-16-2014, 15:24
Is lashing the traction gear outside the pack better training than just putting the same amount of weight (say, in bottles of water) inside? I don't generally rack gear that I'm not expecting at least possibly to need, but I'm probably doing it all wrong.

And my personal rule is: If I'm OK on microspikes, or if I'm on snowshoes, then I'm still OK self-belaying with trekking poles. If I switch to crampons with front points, or if I glissade, out comes the ice axe. As colorado_rob point out, that's mostly in the spring thaw, when the trails are covered with snowcrete. And he's right that in snowy or icy conditions, an ice axe is just an all-around useful tool (opening water sources, leveling a tent platform, loosening frozen soil for a cathole, prying up tent stakes, and so on).

06-19-2014, 14:06
I've seen a guy in that exact area with an axe last year. That same day I saw a ridge runner and asked her. She said he's a volunteer that helps maintain the trail. Sure enough, I come across an area with limbs and twigs along the ground, hacked off from the trees they once were a part of.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

06-19-2014, 14:40
Ya know...I can actually understand why the fella brought the axe, If I bought a new toy, I might sleep with it under my pillow, and think snowy thoughts until that day come.