Objects Database

Ice Axes - homemade

Accession Number


Object Name

Ice Axes - homemade




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

2 homemade ice axes.




a- 459l0 x 28 (length of head) cms b-40(l0 x 24(length of head) cms

Number Of Objects



black, silver


Bill Skidmore


Things of the homemade variety have always been our favourites and these two ice axes are as good as it gets - 'speaking' of Scottish Mountaineering history by their very existence. We've kept them together as a pair since that's how they were used - tools of the trade for well respected pioneer climber, Bill Skidmore.
With modern mountaineering shops littered with an array of ice climbing tools it's hard to imagine an era when they didn't exist- not that long ago. Hamish MacInnes produced the first ever metal shafted ice axe back in the 1960's, called the MacInnes Massey and nicknamed 'the message'. It was quickly followed by the MacInnes Peck and the Terrordactyl, the unique drooped pick being another 'first'.
Bill's two tools emulate the Peck and the Terrordactyl, the latter by using the head of a much earlier Stubai axe which would have been wooden shafted originally. The pick has been heated and drooped in a very professional way and this seems to relate to Bill having worked in the Glasgow Shipyards where the relevant engineering skills were available. The Peck version is a very good copy and we reckon Bill must have made them both around 1965, putting them to good use on the Scottish mountains for a few decades after that.
Bill passed away in 2015 and his partner, Mary kindly donated these two axes and lots more scrummy home made gear - thanks Bill and thanks Mary.

Acquisition Method

Donated by Mary Henery

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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