The right equipment can make or break a mountaineering endeavor. In this module, we’ll cover two essential pieces of mountaineering equipment; the ice axe and crampons. These two items are essential for ensuring a person’s safety. However, they are often pretty useless or even dangerous if you don’t know how to use them properly. Let’s start with the ice axe.
Ice Axe Ice axes are essential equipment when mountaineering. It can be used in a variety of useful ways including balance, rescues, and making footholds. First, it’s imperative to know what the parts of the ice axe. Explore the image to the right to learn the parts of the axe before moving to ways to use the axe.
Crampons Crampons are a safety feature that we wear on our feet while mountaineering. They are extremely sharp and extremely dangerous. However, they are also very useful for climbing and can make it safer by allowing you to go more quickly and climb more securely with less risk of falling. General mountaineering crampons have 12 points on them and have a variety of methods for connecting to your boots. There are generally two types, strap on and step in. Strap on will fit any type of mountaineering boot whereas step-in will require you to have special boots with “welts” on either toe, heel, or both.
Putting it Together
Next, lets take a look at how both the crampons and ice axe work together to help us climb safely. Check out the insteractive video and work your way through the material. Be sure to watch the techniques in the video and figure out how everything works in concert as we climb.
We’ll continue to talk about how to use your ice axe and crampons in the next few modules. Namely, we’ll go over how to self arrest and what the different steps we use for climbing mountains. Remember that, while you’re climbing, your axe and your crampons should become part of your body and you’ll learn to move in sync with with all these pieces of equipment. Next, figure out what you learned or need to review with the quiz below before moving on to the next module.