Ice axes are a reliable tool for people who explore cold temperature landscapes and icy terrain. But always carrying your ice axe in hand can get tiring and is potentially dangerous. Instead, you should use an ice ax leash to tether your tool to your body safely.
A top rated leash for ice axes will feature a strong cord, secure hardware, and have a functional design. By using an ice tool leash, mountaineers can reduce the risk of losing their technical tool from an accidental fall or drop. Plus, it ensures that it stays right where you need it – at hand.
With all the ice axe leashes available, you can easily get lost in the designs and have a hard time determining the best ice axe leash design. But our guide tells you exactly what to look for in a quality ice ax leash.
How To Choose An Ice Axe Leash – Buying Guide
Whether you want to go snowshoe hiking or conquer the ice, finding a quality ice axe leash can be difficult if you don’t know how to look. You will need to consider a few different details when you are looking to buy a top rated leash for ice axes. A quality leash will be made of durable materials and have solid construction. It also needs to be comfortable, so you feel confident when you are climbing a mountain. Finally, additional features can enhance a design and make them stand out from the crowd. Our buying guide seeks to provide you with all the information you need to find the best ice ax leash.
The material of an ice tool leash is an important consideration because you want the leash to be durable, reliable, lightweight, and long-lasting. The material of a leash can determine whether you are investing in a quality design or a cheap knockoff. Not all ice axe leashes are made the same, and different brands feature different materials in their design. To help you determine which model is the best ice axe leash, we’ll review the most common materials that you’ll see on the market.
Nylon is a common and affordable material that is frequently seen being used as the primary material of an ice ax leash. Nylon is a durable material that is both flexible and stretchy. The fluidity of nylon means that mountaineers have an unrestricted natural movement, which can be important for reaching your next holding position. Nylon ice axe leashes are often adjustable too. With an adjustable leash, you can extend your reach or keep your axe tucked close for a compact carry. The only downside to nylon is that it retains water and takes longer to dry. When you’re working around ice and snow, your leash is bound to get wet. You’ll have to decide whether the additional weight of absorbed water will dampen your performance.
However, nylon sometimes is blended with polyester to increase its durability and quality. By adding polyester, nylon retains full flexibility but becomes stronger and more resistant to damage. But the balance of nylon and polyester may not be equal. The balance of the two materials can vary by design, which can affect the durability. Blends of the two with more polyester tend to be stronger.
An alternative to nylon is often webbing which may or may not be combined with a stretch cord. Webbing is better than nylon in the aspect of weight and water retention. Webbing won’t retain water like nylon, which saves a little bit of weight for the mountaineer. Sometimes webbing is made into a sleeve or case that encompasses a stretchy cord, which makes the leash adjustable in length. The stretch of the cord is also unique because it reduces bulk material and ensures that your leash always stays taut and out of the way.
Finally, climbing rope is another material that may be featured in the construction of an ice ax leash. The climbing rope does not have a lot of stretch, but it is incredibly durable and rugged. The rope will be resistant to tears and wear, which makes it great for use throughout the winters on the mountain.
Other materials that may be highlighted in the design are metal. Often metal like steel or aluminum may be used as a supportive band around a section of the leash or in the clips used to attach with your axe. While the metal will be kept to a minimum, for weight-conscious climbers, remember that aluminum is lighter than steel, but still retains full durability.
No matter what material you choose, you want to be sure that you like your leash. Consider the factors of weight, flexibility, and strength when you are evaluating the material of a leash. A top rated leash for ice axes will always use quality material to ensure a durable construction.
The durability of a design is often related to the materials used to construct the leash. But other factors like construction, accessories, and price can also influence whether an ice tool leash is durable. As we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of different materials used by different brands in their ice tool leash designs. With blended and non-blended materials, the varying strength of a design can determine how durable it is. Nylon is strong, but it is more durable when blended with polyester. Webbing is as strong as nylon and has the edge of retaining less water. Climbing rope is exceptionally durable, but it doesn’t have a lot of stretch or flexibility like nylon.
But be aware that even if the material is listed as durable, it may fail in its performance. The quality of the material can also affect the overall durability of the design. Lower-quality material will quickly break versus quality material, which should last longer. A top rated leash for ice axes will be made of quality materials to ensure its durability. Additionally, when designs use steel or aluminum in the bands or clips, you may be wondering which metal is more durable. Both aluminum and stainless steel are incredibly durable materials, and sometimes there isn’t a clear winner. It will depend on the design of the leash and how the metal is used to determine how durable a leash is.
Leashes that have a minimalistic design tend to be more durable because they have fewer independent pieces that are prone to breaking. Even the most expensive axe slings with all the fine details, may not be as durable as a more straightforward design. Finally, price isn’t always a factor of durability.
Most people associate higher prices with better quality and therefore, increased durability. While the price of a leash can sometimes indicate the durability, it isn’t always a reliable measurement. Instead of the price showing durability, look at the design of a leash. If you are having trouble determining what makes a good design, canvas some of the ice axe leash reviews. Many reviewers will comment on the durability of the design and state whether they believe the leash to be a worthwhile investment. The more you research the durability of ice axe leashes, the more likely you will find a quality product that will be long-lasting. A durable ice tool leash can undoubtedly enhance your performance on the mountain.
Ease of Use
Nothing would be more frustrating than getting your hands on a new ice ax leash but learning that you struggle to use it. The best leash for ice axe tools should be easy and comfortable to use when you’re on vertical and flat surfaces. The ease of use should be determined by how comfortable the leash is to use and what features it has to make it more functional. Often, comfort and functionality go hand in hand.
Features that make axe slings more comfortable and functional to use are the wrist strap, the length of the leash, and the material of the leash. Wrist straps that have a generous amount of room or are adjustable tend to be the most comfortable to use. Ideally, an adjustable wrist strap will let you determine how tight the strap is and how secure it is too. But an adjustable leash can also be quickly released. For climbers who need to switch hands, a quick pull of the strap can realize it and allow it to be easily transferred to the other wrist.
The length of the leash can also determine whether climbers are comfortable and have maneuverability. Longer leashes have an extensive reach and can let the mountaineer move their axe as they see fit, but it can also leave a lot of extra line that can get in the way. Stretch leashes are an easy answer to this problem because they keep the line taut and out of the way. They also ensure that you can comfortably move your axe a full arm’s length away.
Finally, the material of the leash is an important factor in comfort and functionality. Quality material will never irritate your skin and should be strong enough to easily support the weight of the axe. Material like nylon is lightweight, but it also functions well because it is flexible. The flexibility ensures your leash is comfortable to use and functional for technical skills used on the mountain.
For beginners and experts, having an easy to use leash can be essential to conquering the mountain. Leashes that come with too many parts or features can be challenging to use and operate, especially when you are using mittens or gloves. For beginner mountaineers, a simple leash design can mean the difference between learning important skills and giving up due to frustration.
Mountaineers are often looking at the value of their tools. Some people think that a higher price means better value and others are shopping with an affordable budget. As we’ve mentioned, the value of your ice tool leash may not always indicate whether it is a quality design. There are expensive leashes that have disappointing ice axe leash reviews because they break easily or have a poor design. Instead of relying on only the value of a leash, consider all the other factors that can determine whether it is high quality or low quality.
Different ice axe leashes may have various features that are based on the brand and manufacturer of the design. Additional features may include second lines, clips, carabiners, and loops. The features of design can enhance the durability, functionality, comfort, and ease of use. We consider the most useful features to be the clips and loops because they can affect how you secure your axe to the leash.
Another great feature is a spring feature. The spring feature allows for adjustability on the mountain and lets you choose how to use your axe. But spring features often require more maintenance and may be difficult for beginners to use. Additionally, some axes have a spring feature, and others don’t. It will be up to you to decide whether or not you need or want a spring feature in your leash design.
Sometimes features may not be considered the most important for a design, but for ice axe leashes the features can certainly enhance your performance on the mountain. When you’re looking at all the different products, you should consider the differences in features between models and determine which will best suit your needs. It will be entirely up to each mountaineer’s preference as to what features their leash includes or doesn’t include.
But be cautious of too many features. While features can undoubtedly make a design better, they can also hinder the comfort and functionality of the leash. A leash should balance the features and calculate them into the design to make them highly functional and worthwhile to the mountaineer. Sometimes too many features can be overwhelming or make your leash challenging to use. For help with determining how well features function, read ice axe leash reviews for guidance.
Q: Why do I need an ax leash?
Ice axes are critical pieces of gear for mountaineers that enhance their performance and ensure their safety in the snow and ice. Ice axes are also a big investment. Many models will set you back a pretty penny, so losing one would mean having to invest again. By using an ice ax leash, you reduce the risk of losing your ax in an accidental fall or drop. Nothing can be more disheartening than watching your favorite axe disappear into a crevice or fall off the side of a mountain. To eliminate the worry, secure your axe to your body or climbing harness with a leash.
Leashes are also great to give you a secure grip or hold on your axe. Ice is hard, and sometimes when you hit it at a bad angle, it can cause your tool to ricochet off. If you aren’t prepared for the kickback, you may lose your grip on your axe, and it could fall. But instead of losing your axe completely, a leash will keep the axe close by so that you can quickly go back to work and conquer the mountain.
However, ice axe leashes don’t only maintain the safety of an individual mountaineer, and it can also guarantee the security of other mountaineers. If you happen to be climbing or traversing rough terrain in a group, an ax that is accidentally dropped can cause serious harm to another mountaineer. The leash will stop the ax and ensure that no one else is hit and injured by a falling tool.
Q: How to maintain my leash?
Mountains are dirty and even pristine ice can harbor dirt inside its crystals. Mountains are also rugged, which means a lot of sweat and tears can go into conquering a peak. When your ice leash gets dirty, you’ll likely want to clean it and keep it looking like new. Proper maintenance of your leash can also improve its performance and ensure that it is long-lasting.
But you may be wondering how to clean a leash and keep it maintained. The answer isn’t as straightforward because of the different materials used in an ice tool leash design. Some people may consider machine washing their leash, and others may want to handwash. The best way to determine how to maintain your leash is to read any included brand cleaning instructions. If there are provided cleaning instructions, they will be optimized to that specific leash design and material. By following the instructions, you are less likely to cause damage to your leash and keep it in a clean state.
If your leash does not come with cleaning instructions, you shouldn’t throw it in the washing machine. When the instructions are unclear, we suggest handwashing your leash with mild soap and warm water. You may also use soft toothbrush bristles to loosen any dirt before you rinse it away. The reason why we don’t suggest machine washing your ice ax leash is that you wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary damage. The spinning of a machine may damage parts or features of your leash and make them unusable. By handwashing, you are eliminating the harsh treatment of a washer and guaranteeing your leash stays in one piece.
Another tip would be to read ice axe leash reviews to see how other buyers have cared for their leash. Many times, there is a plethora of information included in reviews that can help you care for your leash.
Q: Are axe leashes safe?
You may be concerned with the safety of ice axe leashes. The idea of turning your axe into a dangerous swinging pendulum while you’re hanging off the side of the mountain isn’t pleasant. Most mountaineers would avoid that situation. Ice axes have a sharp point on one side, and an accidental hit could cause a significant injury. The great news is that ice axe leashes are completely safe to use and are designed to enhance the safety of using your axe on the mountain.
The leash can prevent accidents by stopping an axe from falling on yourself or another mountaineer. If you accidentally drop your axe, the leash should catch it before it causes any damage to you or anyone else. The length of the leash should be long enough that you can freely maneuver your arm, but not too long that you accidentally puncture your leg.
However, some features can make an ice tool leash even safer. Additional loops can be used around the thumb or for a firm grasp on the axe. The shortened hold will ensure that the axe can’t slip far from the hand and cause injuries. But overall, leashes are incredibly safe to use and elevate your safety when you are using your axe.
Q: Should I purchase a leash that holds two axes?
Some ice ax leashes have a double lead design on one handle, which allows two axes to be carried by a single leash. For some climbers, there is an additional peace of mind knowing that they have a backup leash. Other climbers prefer to carry two axes instead of one. It will be entirely up to personal preference, whether or not you choose a dual leash design or not. If you are a beginner and are just learning how to climb, learning one axe is a big enough challenge, so a single lead leash is the best choice for you. However, experienced climbers may feel comfortable carrying two leashes and can easily do so without hindering their performance.
If you do choose to use a leash that holds two axes, we highly suggest that you find a design with a swivel. The swivel will keep the two leads separate with every movement you make, which ensures that you stay safe. The two lines should never cross, become tangled, or knot together. The majority of dual leashes will have a swivel design to ensure the safety of the user.
Q: Should I worry about a leash that uses metal in the design?
For many mountaineers, the worry about rust forming on their gear is a real problem that they have to face. But with ice axe leashes, you shouldn’t have to worry about a design that features metal in the materials. Many ice axe leashes will use metals that are rust and corrosion resistant so that they are long lasting. Additionally, the metal parts of these leashes tend to be fairly minimal, so rust isn’t a prominent problem. If you are worried about the metal, consider looking for leashes that use aluminum or stainless steel. Both metals are naturally rust and corrosion resistant and many feature an additional protective coating.
Q: What type of leash should a beginner use?
For adventurers who are just getting started, a simple ice ax leash design would be best suited to their needs. A simplistic design will allow a beginner to learn the skills they need to correctly and confidently use an ice axe. For beginners, the functionality of a design is the most important because it will ensure the leash is comfortable and easy to use. Without fancy features, beginners won’t have issues learning how to use their equipment, and they won’t be unnecessarily distracted.
Globo Surf Overview
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced mountaineer, an ice ax makes conquering a mountain easier and could potentially save your life. Whether you use it to scale a vertical cliff, cross a frozen lake or stream, or even as avalanche safety gear, your ax will become a reliable companion. To ensure that you never lose your companion, you should use a top rated leash for ice axes. A leash will secure the axe to your body so that it is always ready to be deployed. The best ice axe leash will be durable, functional, comfortable, flexible, and long-lasting. The leash should have features that enhance your time on the mountain and make it a worthwhile investment.
With our list and buying guide, you’ve seen the top designs on the market and learned all the information you need to find a quality ice ax leash. We’ve broken down all the information you need and made your shopping experience more convenient. With the many tested and approved designs on our list, you’re guaranteed to find an ice ax leash that you feel confident using. With your safety ensured, you can focus on the task at hand and traverse the vertical trails.
- Essential Winter Skills: Walking With an Ice Axe – ukclimbing.com
- How to Attach an Ice Axe Leash – doityourself.com
- Umbilicals “Not For Climbing Use” – mountainlessions.com
Do you own one of the ice axe leashes that made it onto our list? Has it saved you from losing your ax on the mountain? Let us know how your ice ax leash has enhanced your safety on the mountain in the comments section below.