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Item #: HW80-377
VINTAGE SWISS ICE AXE SIGNED BY ED HILLARY (Axe is 60-70 YEARS OLD)
By Hillary, Edmund
Price: $495.00


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Detailed Product Description
OLD SWISS ICE AXE, SIGNED by Ed Hillary.
 
We are running low on Swiss axes, and have already run out of unsigned ice axes. As of 2018 we have three left.
 
We are offering old wood handled ice axes, perfect for display over your mantlepiece. On the handle is the signature in black marker of Ed Hillary. This is a beautiful hand made Swiss Ice Axe from the 1920s to 1940s, and is an antique itself!

The Swiss axes we sell were hand made in the 1920s, 1930s or 1940s, before the day of mass production, and both the metal parts and the wood have a patina that speaks of antique quality. For instance, the bottom ferrule is often one piece, not a spike driven into the wood with a stamped steel band around it.
 
The photo shows what the whole ice axe looks like, rather than the signature. This specific axe in the photo is not signed.


A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this ice axe have been donated to Sir Edmund Hillary's Himalayan Trust, and the American Himalayan Foundation.  
 
Postage in this item is $25 Priority Mail in the USA, $75 International Air Mail. This will be added after checkout.
 
 
 
Close-up of Ed Hillary's signature on an ice axe.
 
 
This photograph Of Lady June and Sir Edmund Hillary,
who is signing some ice axes for us, was taken in San Francisco in June 2003 during the 50th year celebrations of the first ascent of Mount Everest. 
 
You may make a copy for your personal use but it must not be reproduced for any commercial use, including the re-sale of your ice axe, without our permission.

We cannot provide a hard copy of this photo, just copy it into your computer. 

 
Ed Hillary on his deck, in 2007, holding the Simond ice axe with which he summited Mount Everest in 1953. No, it is not for sale. It's in the Auckland Museum now.
 
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  having an old wood handled ice axe on the wall or above the fireplace just looks right.

From Wikipedia:

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 120130 cm (48' to 52') in length. British climber Oscar Eckenstein started the trend toward shorter ice axes with a lighter model measuring 8586 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. 

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