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Item #: HW3457-109
MACINNES MASSEY ICE AXE Scottish Axe For Scottish Ice
By Ice Axe MacInnes, Hamish, John Brailsford, etc.
Price: $150.00


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Detailed Product Description
This is the only example of the MacInnes Massey ice axe we have ever had, or even seen. 



It has a metal shaft with thick and heavy duty tape wound round. There is one hole at top of pick with orange braided nylon leash attached through it. It has a curved Adze and a barely serrated pick. There is a rugged looking but rounded (not sharp) spike on ferrule. 

The length is 22'', and the length of the head, adze and pick, is 10 1/2''. Weight is 36.5 ounces. The condition of the axe is Fine, and it is possibly unused. There are no indications on the head or handle that it was ever used for climbing. It has minor scratches from a lifetime of being tossed in owner's closets and equipment rooms, but it is really excellent. This appears to be an early example, as the description below says that more teeth were added on later editions. 

The inscription stamped on the head reads 
MACINNES MASSEY MADE IN GT. BRITAIN BRITISH & FOREIGN PATENTS


MacInnes Massey ice axe. 1963.
Hamish first began designing axes for general use after a fatal accident in Zero Gully on Ben Nevis in which all three climbers broke their wooden shafted axes during a fall. This led to the first all-metal axe being released in the 1960s called the MacInnes Massey which was produced by tractor manufacturer Massey Ferguson. The axe was also unique in that its short length heralded a new direction in axe design, one which focused the tool on pure vertical mixed and ice climbing. Such innovation was not a rarity to MacInnes who went on to revolutionize rescue equipment with the iconic MacInnes stretcher.‍

We copied this description from this website:  http://www.smhc.co.uk/

The MacInnes Massey All Metal Ice Axe was a milestone in the history of mountaineering. The following is an extract from a magazine article written by Mick Tighe back in the 1980's, which will hopefully 'set the scene'

"April 9th - P. Knap (29), Birmingham, A. Beanland (31, Bradford, and M. Morgan (26), Oldbury, left Glen Nevis Camp to climb on Ben and failed to return that night. Rescuers did not know where to look. Hamish MacInnes was out searching next night. Bodies found at 1 pm on 11th April, roped together at foot of Zero Gully".

This stark and rather chilling account is extracted from the official Scottish Mountain Rescue Accident Reports for 1959, and unusually has a foot-note. "Leader fell from 3rd pitch and dragged others down. Both their axes snapped off and stumps were still embedded in the snow". 

For Hamish MacInnes, who had been involved in the rescue, this accident had a fairly profound effect. It was customary at that time to belay by driving the axe into the snow and taking turns around it with the rope. The deaths on Zero Gully proved this method to be woefully inadequate, as the then universal wooden shafted axes simply broke. A metal/alloy shafted axe was the answer so Hamish went to work.

Benjamin and Steven Massey of Openshaw near Manchester drop forged the heads, and Hamish set up the assembly line in his old Glencoe shed. Bugs McKeith and Kenny Spence used the prototype on an ascent of the Eiger's North Pillar, and Britain's first non wood axe, the MacInnes Massey, was born.

One soon fell into the hands of the legendary Glasgow based Creag Dubh Mountaineering Club, who quickly dubbed the rather heavy hammer version 'the Message' as it battered the commonly used soft steel pitons of the era so badly, that in Glasgow parlance "they got the message".

The metal shafted axe was a major step forward in axe-evolution. Early Alpinists had little more than long poles with metal tips for grip, and to probe crevasses; as the conquests got steeper an adze was incorporated for cutting steps and later on came the pick. Refinements such as teeth to hold the axe in the steep ice came much later, and as late as 1950 Geoffrey Winthrop Young tells us "Notches on the underside of the head of the axe, often seen in shop axes, are very objectionable." _

As this is not a book our regular shpping rates for books does not apply. For domestic  Priority Mail it is about $25, for Canada $50, and other countries $75 or possibly a bit more. 

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