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Item #: HW81
OLD ICE AXE OR ALPENSTOCK: SWISS 1900s-1930s WITH WOODEN HANDLE 44-48 inches
Price: $750.00


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OLD ALPENSTOCK OR SWISS ICE AXE WITH WOODEN HANDLE. 40' to 48'. Dates from 1900 to 1930.

We have some old wood handled ice axes, perfect for display over your mantlepiece. This is a beautiful Swiss Ice Axe from the 1900s-1930s, and is an antique! This Swiss axe is very old fashioned looking, with a dark colored ash wooden shaft, which is darkend by oil and use.

These Swiss axes are 44'-48'. 


Here is some background on Alpenstock length Ice Axes from Wikipedia:
 
We live in a time of transition. Some us climbed in the days of wood handles ice axes, and remember the warm feel of the long axe that we used as a walking stick across the flatter sections of the glacier. Perhaps no other object is so symbolic of mountaineering as the ice axe. Many of us have found that aving an old wood handles ice axe on the wall or above the fireplace just looks right.

The antecedent of the ice axe was the alpenstock, a long wooden pole with an iron spike tip, used by shepherds for travel on snowfields and glaciers in the Alps since the Middle Ages. On August 8, 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard made the first ascent of Mont Blanc. Balmat, a chamois hunter and crystal collector, had experience with high mountain travel, and Paccard had made previous attempts to climb the peak. Illustrations show Balmat carrying two separate tools that would later be merged into the ice axe – an alpenstock (or baton) and a small axe that could be used to chop steps on icy slopes.

According to the earliest manufacturer of ice axes, Grivel, these two tools were merged to create the first true ice axe around 1840. Early ice axes had a vertical adze, with the cutting edge aligned with the direction of the shaft, as in a conventional axe. This design lasted until at least 1860, but eventually the adze was rotated to the current position, perpendicular to the direction of the shaft. The Italian Alpine Club published a book in 1889 entitled Fiorio e Ratti – The dangers of mountaineering and rules to avoid them, which recommended ice axes as among 'the inseparable companions of the mountaineer'.

In the late 19th century, the typical ice axe shaft measured 120–130 cm (48' to 52') in length. British climber Oscar Eckenstein started the trend toward shorter ice axes with a lighter model measuring 85–86 cm (33 inches). Initially, this innovation was criticized by well-known climbers of the era, including Martin Conway, a prominent member of the Alpine Club, who was the leader of an early expedition to the Baltoro region near K2 in 1892 of which Eckenstein was a member.

Early ice axes had picks and adzes of about equal lengths. By the beginning of the 20th century, the pick lengthened to about twice the length of the adze. Improvements in crampon design (pioneered by Eckenstein in 1908) and ice climbing technique led to use of shorter, lighter ice axes appropriate to steeper ice climbs in the period between the world wars.

In 1978, the Safety Commission of the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) established formal standards for ice axe safety and performance. This led to the replacement of the traditional wooden shaft by metal alloy shafts. Ergonomically curved handles became widespread in 1986. Use of modern aluminum alloys have led to a dramatic reduction in the weight of some ice axes. One model now on the market, the C.A.M.P. Corsa, weighs only 205 grams with a 50 cm long shaft. One expert rated this lightweight ice axe as 'ideal for low angle glacier travel' but said he 'craved the solid and secure heft of a true steel mountain ax' in more demanding steep alpine conditions.
 
Postage in this item is $25 Priority Mail in the USA, $75 International  Air Mail. This will be added after checkout.
 
 
 
Typical Alpenstock length Ice Axe, 44' to 48'.
 
 
Close-Up of the head and ferrule of a typical Alpenstock length Ice Axe, 1900s-1930s, 44' -   48'
 

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