Have you checked your axes and crampons yet?

Posted by Dan Middleton, BMC Technical Officer on 28/11/2007
Fatigue cracks are often visible before failure occurs

Help yourself stay safe this winter season, and check your ice tools and crampons for signs of metal fatigue or cracking.

When the first good conditions of the season kick in, it's all too easy to grab that kit that's been in the cupboard since April and head into the hills without checking it first.  It’s a fact of life that ice axes and crampons do occasionally break.The loads put on them during winter and alpine climbing, especially modern mixed climbing are considerable. Over time fatigue cracks can develop in the metal, possibly leading to sudden failure.

Before heading out this season, give all your winter kit a good checking over.

  • Look for fatigue cracks on your ice tools and crampons, especially around the pick and front points.
  • Check the condition of any straps, rivets and bails on your crampons.
  • Look for any movement between the shaft and head of your ice tools.
  • Make sure that the bolts on modular tools are securely done up.

Don't forget to carry a spare pick for your modular tools, a spanner or allen key if required, and a repair kit for your crampons.

For more information, download  the free Care & Maintenance Booklet



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