The Angry Corrie 13: Jun-Jul 1993
Fashion Accessories: The ice axe
Once again after another fatality on the hills, we are exhorted by all, sundry and Hamish MacInnes to carry an ice axe while out walking when there is snow underfoot. Wise advice of course, but what does your average punter understand by the word "carry"? For most it seems to mean "attach to the outside of your rucsac as an adornment/reciprocal nose-picker". This may be sufficient to identify you to the media as a "well-equipped mountaineer" in the event of an accident, but provides you with virtually no other benefit.
On Stuchd an Lochain one grey March day we encountered plenty of axe-as-ornament carriers struggling to keep their balance and footing down the one unavoidable steep patch of snow. Why did this irritate so much? Because I was the prat who'd left my axe at home (not enough snow to ski does not equal not enough snow to fall down), and was negotiating the obstacle with a conveniently purloined iron fence post, which I of course left at the bottom for the next user.