The Ice Axe: Life-Saving, Mortally Hazardous, and Elegant.
⛏ The ice axe is an indispensable piece of kit for serious alpinists. With a set of good crampons, a pair of ice axes can turn a climber into a frigid superhero, able to scale sheer and even overhanging ice faces.
While the use of an ice axe can be a literal life saver when clinging to the side of a mountain in thin air, their sharpness makes them an instrument to be handled with expertise. In the wrong hands, they can become a serious hazard, or even a deadly weapon - as famously illustrated by the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940.
The misuse of a tool shouldn't diminish our admiration for its effectiveness in its intended role, however. And the modern ice axe has truly evolved into a thing of beauty: strong, sharp, and ruthlessly stripped of excess weight. Practically nothing but what is required to execute its task.
Now that's our kind of tool.
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