Ice Axe Leashes

Author: M Wilkinson and Hiking the Ozarks

Ice Climbing Ice Axe Leashes picture closeupTo use one or not to use one, that is the topic of this article! (I know, sorry)

The many times I have been on climbs and I still debate about leashes. they do have several

great advantages, if you drop your axe whilst fiddling around placing gear, it's not going to go far, and if you're using the axe for cutting steps they provide a lot of extra support. My current rule is that if is nearly vertical ice and the axes are going to places above my head height then bring the leases as its on these climbs when they are most useful.

But what about those days on the grade 2 and 3 mixed winter climbs? well the down side is that if you are continuously changing your hands when finding solid placements the leashes get annoyingly in the way, every time, trust me. And the biggest drawback has to be the fact

that if you take a fall and lose you grip on one of the ice tools, you then have a very sharp, pointy piece of gear flailing around you as you

tumble down the slope, yeah, ouch!

If you do use a leash they are normally, as far as mountaineering is concerned, attached to the head of the axe through the obvious hole, using the leash provided of if you can use a climbing sling and attach this to your harness with a snap gate. If you using a leash, and need to stow one or both of your tools be careful as a dangling leash can get caught,

especially on crampon points, and cause you to trip, it's the same as having long dangling gear on your trad rack, it can be comical but also deadly, so watch out.

Over the last ten years or so, a new bungee style of leashes have hit the market ( i.e. the Grivel Double Spring) that tie your axes directly into your harness with clean mini screw gate biners, and I have to say they are fantastic. the bungee is a lot more clean and efficient, and can be clipped on and off very smoothly. If you getting leashes then get some

bungees, they are worth the extra cost.

 

 

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