Self-arrest while progressing with an Ice Axe
This technique is the one used on climbing, where the ice axe is an active security element, very useful for self-arrest, in case of falling on a very exposed and steep area.
As usual, we have to be capable of reading the terrain, to anticipate and foresee any risky situation. If during the progression we consider there is risk of falling, we need to have the ice axe in the hand, or somewhere where it is easily accessible, to be able to use it as quickly as possible in case of falling.
In any case, falling with your ice axe in hand will be a great advantage when it comes to applying the self-arrest technique immediately.
We have to use the ice axe correctly; therefore, we’ll hold it with the blade tip pointing out to avoid self-injuring accidents, and to be able to apply the maximum pressure with all our body. We can’t forget to put on the leash, to avoid it form slipping of our hand. Don’t forget this is your life insurance.
In this case, we should forget our feet, to help catching an edge, which would propel us making us jump and roll down the slope. Besides, we should look that all of our weight is at ice axe height, to be able to stick it in the ice with all our strength.
The pressure on the ice-axe blade has to be strong enough to stop us in a few meters.
This technique is adequate in case of falling on a very exposed and steep slope.
Most relevant: The techniques exposed hereby should by no means replace training with professional instructors/guides. We advise you to take the corresponding training courses to be able to apply these techniques correctly, under the supervision of professionals.