P. Edronkin

The Piolet and its Applications (Part II).

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"There are, indeed, many variations and adaptations. However, the most classic model reaches a length of about 80 cm. And its main point, around 25 cm. These are made out of light metals, and the stick is manufactured out of metal alloys, plastics or wood.

The usage of piolets is not well-known among many climbers and mountaineers. Most sportsters seem to think that piolets are very specific tools, useful only for ice climbing or high-end expeditions.

While it is true that professional climbers and explorers frequently use piolets, there is no particular reason for such limitations.

In order to purchase a basic, all-purpose piolet, it is very important to consider the length of the stick. It has to be long enough to act as a walking aid, and its head, where the shovel and the sharpened pint are located, should be easily grasped by your hand.

If you have to grasp the stick under the head, then that particular model may be too long for you, and if you have to lean to one side in order to grasp the piolet in such a way, the it is perhaps a little short for you. If your stature is about 1,70 m, then your piolet should have an 80 cm long stick, approximately.

Un piolet con mango de madera.
An old piolet with a wooden handle 

As in the case of the rest of your climbing, survival or trekking gear, you should purchase a lightweight model. With modern alloys and composite materials, you should not fear about buying seemingly feeble models. They are usually stronger than those made with traditional materials.

Wood has been used until some years ago. These old models are generally reliable, but wood is not as resistant as metal or composites, so unless you are collecting such items, it is better to opt for newer designs."

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