Ice climbing, mixed climbing,
alpinism, mountaineering, high-altitude mountaineering – all these mountain
sports have one thing in common: ice axes are part of the absolute basic
equipment. It’s for good reason the ice axe is the universal symbol of
alpinism. They can be used for a wide variety of purposes and aren’t just for
hanging vertically from a frozen waterfall. They can serve as a crutch, you can
use them to probe snow, or you can use them to cut footholds in icy ground.
Climbing on ice is no problem with certain ice axes, and they're also often used as
anchors or belaying tools. In general, you should look for ice axes that are as
light as possible and suitable for how you want to use them. Ice axes for ice
climbing, for example, differ significantly from versions that are designed
exclusively for high-altitude tours.