Objects Database

Ice Climbing Tools - homemade

Accession Number


Object Name

Ice Climbing Tools - homemade




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

One homemade ice climbing hammer with serrated pick and one homemade ice climbing axe with serrated pick.


stainless steel, wood


Hammer - 38(l) x 20 ( l of head) cms Ice axe - 39.5 (l) x 26.5(l of head) cms

Number Of Objects



silver, red tape on ice axe


Derek Hodson


When it comes to history this pair of tools are pretty much the Holy Grail of ice climbing, summing up perfectly the void between the wooden shafted, ice axe step cutting era and the modern world of drooped picks and critical angles. Previous owner and donator of this fabulous pair of tools, Bob Richardson, takes up the story:
"They were made by Derek Hodson who did a number of climbs with Bill Skidmore. He went to a metalworking class specifically to make them. The handles and picks were cut from a single piece of stainless steel which was unfortunately a bit on the soft side - hence the run of weld on the hammer - but you could easily hammer it flat again. The flat handles could be built up to choice with slips of wood attached with adhesive and bound with tape. I preferred mine pretty flat because it stopped you over gripping the handle and turned sideways they were brilliant in soft snow. They were ok in neve or soft ice but useless in water ice. Derek only made a few sets and I don't know whether there was a pair in the Skidmore Collection.
Best Wishes
Bob Richardson "
Bill Skidmore mentioned above was a pioneer of Scottish climbing and a prolific gear maker. He and Derek Hodson were part of the Greenock Team in the 1970's who were involved in many hard ascents of rock and ice climbs throughout Scotland.
It seems that Derek made at least three sets of these tools giving one set to Bill Skidmore and this pair to Bob Richardson who, in the twilight of his climbing years, has kindly passed them on to us - thanks Bob - fabulous!

Acquisition Method

Donated by Bob Richardson

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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