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The Ice Pick

The forge in Sweden is home to a small axe museum with over 2,000 unique axes. Carefully curated throughout the years, it’s a unique sight for forge visitors. Since travelling to the museum may not be in your plans, we thought we would share some photos with our US enthusiasts.

An ice pick is a tool used by mountain climbers as they ascend and descend in terrain covered by ice and snow. The ice pick originates from the alpenstock, a long wooden pole with an ironclad point, which has been used by shepherds in the Alps since the middle ages.

In 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard completed the first ascent of Mont Blanc. Illustrations show Balmat carrying two separate tools – an alpenstock and a small axe that could be used to cut steps in icy slopes. These two tools were combined to create the first proper ice pick in around 1840.

In 1978, the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) drew up formal standards for the safety and performance of the ice pick. Amongst other changes, this led to the traditional wooden handle being replaced with a metal one.

This replica is forged by @ritterforge