Talk:Ice axe

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Photo of ice axe loops[edit]

I appreciate the description of how to use ice axe loops on backpacks, but I'm still not sure I follow the procedure. Is is possible for someone to add photos of how to use the loops? I can't find any photographs on the Internet illustrating the final positioning of the ice axe in the loops.

I realize this is not a how-to article, but a single photo might help in clarification. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.2.233.107 (talk) 20:07, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't have a photo, but it is very simple. You slip the ice axe shaft through the loop at or near the bottom of the backpack, and let it dangle down. Then, you rotate the shaft of the axe 180 degrees away from the backpack and upward. You then tie or buckle a loop of light rope or webbing around the shaft higher on the pack to hold it secure. Jim Heaphy (talk) 02:14, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

I've added a picture of this to the page. Ericoides (talk) 19:57, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

'history'[edit]

It's a shame all that's talked about is a couple of murders. It would be nice if there are some examples of reasonably well known climbers having avoided or lessened injury due to their ice axes. 131.111.245.195 (talk) 01:46, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Folks rarely write articles in the mainstream press about routine ice axe arrests, just like they don't report it when the brakes work on a car. If you come across some good sources, like mountaineering publications, that mention significant saves then please add them. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 02:03, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Successful self-arrest using an ice axe is "routine" for those who climb in the appropriate conditions, and therefore not really noteworthy. That being said, I have rewritten this section for the following reasons: Reading the references on the two murders makes it clear, by photographs, that these were mountaineering ice axes, not the ice picks supposedly favored by Mafia hit men. USA Today, like many earlier sources, erroneously called the Trotsky murder weapon an "ice pick" but it wasn't a domestic ice pick at all. "Pick" does refer to the sharp pointed part of a mountaineering ice axe, but the complete tool itself is called an ice axe. Secondly, the article could stand a genuine history section, about the evolution of the tool in mountaineering, which I hope to write in the weeks to come. In the mean time, I have renamed this section to make it clear that it is about use of ice axes as weapons, rather than a history of the mountaineering ice axe. If anyone wonders why there would have been a mountaineer's ice axe in Mexico City in 1940, please be aware that there are three enormous snow covered volcanoes in Central Mexico that have a certain appeal to mountaineers. Jim Heaphy (talk) 02:10, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Mexican volcanoes climbed using an ice axe: Popocatépetl, Iztaccíhuatl, and Pico de Orizaba. Jim Heaphy (talk) 02:22, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

I've added a new section on the History of the ice axe today. Jim Heaphy (talk) 04:53, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Well done!   Will Beback  talk  07:56, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Technical versus basic axes[edit]

The second paragraph of the opening says that basic axes are not suitable for use in belaying and are aimed at beginner or casual users, which I'm not sure is correct. My understanding is that the main difference is that technical axes are strong enough to support body weight with the pick in good ice, while basic axes are not. But that doesn't mean a basic axe is only for beginners, in fact on climbs with no vertical ice a basic axe would likely be better suited, since with a longer shaft than a technical axe it is better suited to help the climber maintain her balance. From what I've learned a basic axe can easily function as a deadman anchor for crevasse rescue, and hence I think saying that a basic axe is not suitable for belaying is misleading. Liamwillco (talk) 23:43, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree. What I have heard from different sources is that wooden-shafted axes may break in a belay. Regular mountaineering ice axes are all metal nowadays. Basic, all-metal ice axes are certainly strong enough to support weight, and I don't recall reading of any accidents that involved broken metal ice axes. Perhaps "basic" is not the right word to use for a non-techical axe.   Will Beback  talk  23:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree as well. A "basic" ice axe would be used by an expert, skilled mountaineer on a mixed climb not involving steep ice climbing. It is incorrect to refer to such an axe as being for "beginners". Wooden handles have been obsolete for over 30 years, except as collector's items. Cullen328 (talk) 03:28, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

I'd only heard of them referred to as walking axes until now. Mutt Lunker (talk) 17:19, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Axe vs pick[edit]

  • An ice axe (AmE) or ice pick (outside the USA) is a multi-purpose ice and snow tool...

An editor just added the underlined text, and similar language later in the article. I see that in the case of a recent murder in England, the weapon was referred to as an ice axe.[1][2] In which parts of the English-speaking world is it called an "ice pick"?   Will Beback  talk  09:31, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

I think the answer to Will Beback's question is that nowhere in the English speaking world is it called an "ice pick". The removable component tip of a modular ice axe is called a "pick" as is the pointed tip of a one piece ice axe. A spike with a handle used to chip away at blocks of ice is called an "ice pick". However, the English websites of all major manufacturers of ice climbing gear, many located in Europe, call the overall tool itself an "ice axe" not an "ice pick". I recommend reverting the change unless someone can show evidence to the contrary. Cullen328 (talk) 06:44, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
FYI, I checked two New Zealand guiding services and both of them use "ice axes".   Will Beback  talk  07:06, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay in responding. I had browser issues with Wikipedia for some reason. Here is what I had written.

I am over thirty years old and, although I am not an expert nor a climber, I have seldom heard this tool referred to by experts and non-experts alike, as an ice axe. That's not to say it isn't referred to as such. However, it is also referred to as an ice pick. Perhaps you both should have discussed it before you made the reverts, AND perhaps informed me of the debate.

Here are some links to people who use the term ice pick, some of which also use the word axe.

I'd be willing to bet the decoration referred to in the last link isn't merely the tip or head of the tool proper, but the whole tool, as a whole.

Now I'm sure there are many more examples. But I believe the generic name (in some places outside the USA certainly) is ice pick. I also believe it is probably more of a laymans' term, but popular enough to include in this article. The experts' name might well be ice ax(e). I don't know if this is a recent adoption or from the early days of mountaineering.

Also, this think about what Trotsky was killed by - I don't believe it was an error at all. It's just the name by which the tool had been generically known back in the day.

I am also not sure about how many different locations throughout the world use the term ice pick, as opposed to an exclusive usage of the term ice axe (or ax) to refer to the whole tool. So I could very well be wrong about it being American English.

Additionally, I found a dictionary definition (thanks to another Wikipedia article)which would seem to clarify the issue. To that end, as I see the article has been reverted again, I will put it back the way I'd left it.

noun 1 a small pick used by climbers to traverse ice-covered slopes.

Source: http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0397520 --81.131.130.116 (talk) 05:37, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

One problem remains with my edit, I think: whether or not "pick ax(e)" is an American English variation. I have no problems with anyone adjusting the wording of course, if my edit turns out to be inaccurate in that regard. --81.131.130.116 (talk) 05:56, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

I appreciate your efforts here, and I concede that a mountaineering ice axe is sometimes incorrectly called an "ice pick", which the article already mentioned with regards to the Trotsky murder weapon. The key word there is "incorrectly".
Here on Wikipedia, we have to rely on reliable sources. Let's take a look at the reliability of your sources in order:
Source #1 is a caption on a stock photo website. This is not a reliable source for mountaineering terminology, as there is no evidence that the person who wrote the caption has any mountaineering expertise.
Source #2 is an item about something that is not a mountaineering tool, although the photo is fascinating. The item was found at the bottom of a lake that had a history of commercial ice making. The term "ice pick" is associated with domestic ice chipping tools from the days before mechanical refrigeration. This has no relevance to mountaineering.
Source #3 is a news story written by a reporter who is not a mountaineering expert, and accordingly, the article is not a reliable source for mountaineering terminology. The article uses both "pick" and "axe", and pick is the proper term for the part of the axe that caused the injury.
Source #4 is a YouTube video, which is in no way, shape or form a reliable source on Wikipedia for technical terminology.
Source #5 is a blog post related to a video game, and has no real world relevance to mountaineering terminology.
Source #6 is a list of key words associated with a stock photo. These lists include everything but the kitchen sink, and are not a reliable source for mountaineering terminology.
Source #7 is better than the previous sources, but is an article by a "culture and society" correspondent. There is no evidence that this reporter has mountaineering expertise.
Source #8 is a website domain name that is for sale, and dealers for these domain names will fill the space with roughly plausible material that is not fact checked. I know because I once bought one myself and transformed it into a genuine and accurate website. This is not at all a reliable source.
Source #9 is another example of a journalist, Carolyn Fry, who is not a mountaineering expert, inadvertently misusing technical terminology in an article about the history of the Alpine Club. It is not an article about mountaineering equipment, and the mention is in passing.
The simple fact is that in every English-speaking country, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand and also in English speaking outposts in every mountaineering locale in the world, the accepted English language term for the item discussed in this article is "ice axe". There is nothing "American" about the term. This is the term used in mountaineering magazines, journals and books published in all countries, and in the catalogs and websites of mountaineering equipment manufacturers and dealers worldwide. This is the term used by all active English speaking mountaineers. WP:UNDUE tells us that we don't highlight occasional erroneous usage by people who have no expertise in a given field. Cullen328 (talk) 06:13, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Quite. The Oxford definition is simply wrong, and removing the "ice pick" term from the lede is entirely justified by WP:UNDUE. I've just had a look at my Cassell English Dictionary. It gives one definition for ice pick: "n. a pointed tool for splitting ice". What might well be worth including is a paragraph on the incorrect use of ice pick as a term for ice axe. (Later edit: I see that something along those lines already exists.) Ericoides (talk) 13:57, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

I've been accused of not being "neutral". I'd like this explained before any more reverts take place. This is ridiculous - all this fuss about a simple, verifiable, edit!

Now I'm happy to cooperate if there is deemed to be a probem with the words I have used, or phrasing. But do take the time to explain before just wiping out work others have done. --81.131.130.116 (talk) 05:49, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Sorry about the confusion, I will not revert your edit. Kevinmontalktrib 05:53, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
No problem Kevinmon. I had begun to feel a little hounded there! lol --81.131.130.116 (talk) 05:59, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

"American English"[edit]

The IP editor who has been editing the article has not furnished any references from reliable sources that make any distinction between American English and any other dialects of English with regards to ice axe terminology. However, I want to avoid an edit war, so I will refrain from editing this article for at least 24 hours before making any further changes. I respectfully request that the IP editor provide genuine, solid reliable sources for his claim that this entire item (as opposed to the tip of the tool) is called an "ice pick" by people with mountaineering expertise. Thank you. Cullen328 (talk) 06:23, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

In 25 years' mountaineering I've not once heard anyone call an ice axe an "ice pick" in the UK – well, apart perhaps from people who are ill-informed. This reminds me of those who would call any type of conifer a "Pine". But do we have to put in our article on Spruce: Spruce, also called "Pine"; or Fir, also called "Pine"; or Cedar, also called "Pine"; or Cypress, also called "Pine"? I think that would be pretty stupid. What might be worthwhile – at best – is to say Spruce is sometimes mistakenly called "Pine" but is a completely different genus. This mistaken nomenclature of ice pick follows pretty much the same logic. Ericoides (talk) 13:16, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Trotsky assination[edit]

Is it known why Mercader had an ice axe as opposed to a pick? I do wonder if the confusion about the tool is one of Spanish-English translation. The Trotsky article quotes Mercader's trial testimony as: "I laid my raincoat on the table in such a way as to be able to remove the ice axe which was in the pocket." I don't know any any mountaineering axe that would fit in a pocket. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.255.170.233 (talk) 18:21, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

An ice pick is a tool used to break ice used domestically for example to cool food, nothing to do with mountaineering. Not sure if that was what killed Trotsky but there seems to be confusion even in modern press reports. See for example the Guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/16/past.russia. It claims the weapon was found and is Mexico but on the one hand calls it an ice pick on the other says it was a montaineering tool. I think as mentioned above it is most likely a miss translation from Portugese Billlion (talk) 11:43, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Contrast this article in the Guardian at the time http://century.guardian.co.uk/1940-1949/Story/0,,127350,00.html which reports "According to the police Johnson had a small pickaxe, of the type used by Boy Scouts, hidden in his trousers. " Did boy scouts use small pickaxes? I have no idea. Billlion (talk) 11:57, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

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As weapon[edit]

Does the article really need this trivia section. Isn't it strictly speaking off-topic. Rwood128 (talk) 11:17, 20 March 2020 (UTC)

Concur: Not on topic as is. Perhaps were there more items, a trivia section could be a place for that information. —¿philoserf? (talk) 15:47, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Please not a trivia section! Perhaps move to Manner of death. Will do if there no objections. Rwood128 (talk) 15:56, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Well, I sort of object, but only because I think we can do better. My recommendation would be to remove the section completely and add a 'See also' link to Axe murder. It's all there if anyone needs the gruesome details of who killed who with what type of axe. Nick Moyes (talk) 17:15, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
I am all for a see also to axe murder —¿philoserf? (talk) 18:03, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
I support that. Rwood128 (talk) 17:49, 20 March 2020 (UTC)