The Masters

Jeff Ward - IFMGA/AMGA Guide

Jeff Ward is an IFMGA-licensed and AMGA-certified Alpine, Ski and Rock Guide. He grew up in the Northwest and is co-owner of North Cascades Mountain Guides ( based in Mazama. Ward is a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association and serves on their technical committee.

Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

Martin Volken is the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA. He is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides over 120 days per year in North America and Europe as a ski, rock and alpine guide. Volken has pioneered several steep ski descents, ski traverses, alpine and rock routes in the Washington Cascades. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000 and has authored and co-authored three books on ski touring and ski mountaineering.

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward or Martin Volken will supply the answer.

Rappelling: Throwing Ropes
Rappelling: Throwing Ropes


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Length of Ice Axe(s)

26-Jan-2017 12:17 PM


Posts: 2

Do you find it more useful (and easier for movement) to have an ice axe on the shorter or the longer side of being fitted to you?


28-Jan-2017 01:11 PM

Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward
Posts: 46

Personally, I like to have a shorter ice axe that I can actually climb steep snow and moderate ice with.  I typically go with a 50 cm axe and carry a collapsible ski pole for the lower-angled sections of the climb.  

My preferred set-up these days is a Black Diamond 50 cm Venom combined with one Z-pole.  This seems to work for just about anything I run into in the mountains.