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The origins of this project lay with a Review of the very light (5.15 ounces, 146 grams) ULA Helix Potty Trowel. The Review was based on experiences with the Potty Trowel during a three month walk in France in 2007 where it was used as a hill-walking axe (as well as digging cat-holes, as indicated by the name). UIAA-certification of an ice axe is entirely appropriate for the technical and safety requirements of snow and ice climbing, but the Potty Trowel does not have this certification, and it was not used for climbing in that Review.

However, it should be noted that the use of some sort of simple ice axe while walking in the hills has a long and honorable history, dating way back to long before the existence of UIAA Testing Standards. One could suggest that the existence of these Standards has effectively destroyed the market for such simple lightweight tools, which is a pity.

Following the Review, discussion in the MYOG section of the BPL Forum under DIY Walking axe showed that many readers felt there was a genuine need for a much lighter "ice axe" for use as a sort of upgraded winter trekking pole. The author Steven Evans set out to see what could be done with space-age carbon fiber and titanium, spurred on by advice and encouragement from other Forum readers.


  • Introduction
  • Disclaimer
    • Notes
  • History
  • Version Three
  • Fabrication
  • Assembly
  • The Finished Weight
  • Testing
    • Test 1: Shaft Strength - Bending
    • Test 2: Assembly Strength - Tension
    • Test 3: Shaft Strength - Bending
    • Test 4: Spike Cantilever
    • Test 5: Head Side Load
    • Test 6: Assembly Strength - Tension
  • Assessment of Design
  • Cost of the Project

# WORDS: 4440
# PHOTOS: 29

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