The mystery was fleeting, but the idea of a blog wasn't. That ice axe lying on the floor reminded me that one question regularly arises when we are getting ready to go into the field: How do I attach my ice axe to my backpack?
Most backpacks have two loops that hang down off the back of the pack. To attach the ice axe, one must slide the shaft down into one of the loops with the pick facing in toward the center of the pack.
is facing toward the center. You can see that if the straps that hold it
in place were to fail, the axe would not fall off.
After the axe has been dropped down into the loop, rotate the spike up toward the top of the pack. Usually there is some kind of strap or buckle that can be fastened over the shaft so that the axe stays in place. The Black Diamond pack in the following picture has a special cord with a toggle to hold the axe in place.
After I took these pictures I found a nice hole in the backyard. It looked a little bit like somebody had been using a hoe to scrape up the grass. I immediately knew better. To me, it looked like an adze had been been at work.
After discovering that, I decided that it would probably be best if two little kids were not playing with an ice axe. There will be time enough for that when they're older...
--Jason D. Martin