P. Edronkin

The Piolet and its Applications (Part IV).

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"Of course, as in the case of any kind of dangerous terrain, you should adopt further security measures, such as the use of secured ropes. Therefore, crossing slippery, inclined terrain should be considered as a major operation.

Piolets are mandatory tools on such operations. These tools cost about on e hundred American dollars - on average - and are available at specialty shops.

The lifespan of a piolet is in practical terms the same as its owner, if it is well-cared. I have an Argentine Army standard-issue wooden model designed for Antarctic duties which was first used on 1949. It is older than me, by 18 years.

However, new advances in science and technology, new alloys and manufacture techniques will likely entice you to purchase more than one piolet. Bear in mind that a piolet can be as letal as a weapon if it is not properly used. In 1973, a mysterious accident happened near the top of Mount Aconcagua, when a climber was killed by a deep wound produced with a piolet.

Carving steps on a glacier.
You can compare this picture with the one un the last page.
In this way it is much safer.

In fact, special forces operatives and mountain troops are trained to use their piolets in hand-to-hand combat. The light weight and manoeuverability of a piolet makes it an excellent - albeit exotic - weapon. Let this be a reminder to every user about the care required to handle such tools.

Of course, this does not mean that you should overreact and deny yourself the possibility of using a piolet; just take care and never forget that you are handling something bigger and sharper than a significant knife."

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