Objects Database

Grivel Ice Climbing Tools

Accession Number


Object Name

Grivel Ice Climbing Tools




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Grivel ice hammer and ice pick, Both have cream coloured leashes with pink and blue stripes.Hole in ferrule and gnarled edges.Serrated pick.Rubber grip.




48(l) cms

Number Of Objects


Inscription Description

"GRIVEL COURMAYEUR" on shafts."EDLINGER" on hexagonal head of hammer.


black, silver



Object Production Place



There must be thousands of ice-climbing tools lying around in climber's lofts, as each year seeems to bring a new version or a new model. it all started round about the 1960's when wooden ice axes, nailed boots and step cutting started to go out of fashion and the metal shafted, drooped pick era began.
These Grivel Super Courmayeur tools were the business in the late 1980's and you needed a pair to be cool out on the ice. Still a perfectly good tool for climbing ice 30 years later, but you'd definitely be out of fashion!
Anyway, here's what Steve Foster, gear editor for Mountain Magazine, has to say about these tools in December 1988.
Grivel Super Courmayeur
Although Gear Editors are totally unbiased I have to admit that the Super Courmayeur features in my own winter armoury, and a pleasure to use they are too. They are extremely tough, well-made tools. The clever interlocking head design is totally rattle free. Although changing parts can require several blows as the fit is too tight, you also require a spanner as well as an Allen key to remove the fastening. Troll, Grivel's UK importers, tell me that this year's models are machined better, which makes it easier to change picks.
The picks are raised above the level of the head to facilitate hammering it in for belaying. This means the axe and particularly the hammer are difficult to hold by the head. I have often been tempted to saw off these projections but have held back for fear of weakening the pick.
Two interesting new fittings for me to try this winter are a shock absorbing hammer and a pointed adze. The shock absorbing hammer is simply a sprung loaded mass inside a rather large round hammer head. It does seem to dampen vibration. The adze I am a bit more suspicious of, but am assured it works well in 'cruddy' conditions.

Looks like we've got the pointed adze version but not the shock absorbing hammer. We think this pair once belonged to Bill Newton, Mick Tighe's partner in his Mountain Guiding business outfit, Nevis Guides.

Acquisition Method

Donated by Bill Newton

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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