Adze Mountaineering

With the adze of an ice tool, you can chop steps, clear ice to make a good surface for screw placement, and cut footholds at belays. As with picks, adzes come in an array of shapes and sizes (fig. 14-5). Many ice tools accept interchangable adzes, letting you replace a broken adze or change adzes depending on ice conditions. You can even

Fig. 14-5. Side and end views of three adze designs replace an adze with a hammer head.

The most common adze is straight, extending perpendicular to the shaft or drooping somewhat downward. The straight adze is excellent for cutting steps with sharp corners. Some adzes curve downward like the technically curved pick. The very end—the working edge—of some adzes curves slightly inward, although this impedes step-cutting because the full force of a swing is diffused. Tubular adzes are available, mainly for use on waterfall ice.

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