How to Grip an Ice Ax: Self Belay and Self Arrest

As cool and shiny as a brand-new ice ax looks strapped to the back of your hiking pack, occasionally you’ll have to take it off and actually put it to work. Like any tool, it’s only an asset if you know how to use it. There are many techniques and methods for employing an ice ax to aid progress in the mountains, but let’s start at the beginning: the two basic ways of holding it.