Forrest Mountaineering Lifetime Modular Ice Tool

From the 1983 Forrest Mountaineering catalog:

Lifetime Axe and Hammer

The Forrest Lifetime Axe and Lifetime Hammer are the finest ice tools in the world. they are a perfect blend of advanced design, delicate balance, and Forrest reliability. Forrest originated the concept of interchangeable picks for ice tools in 1974 with the popular Mjolinir Hammer. The Lifetime is an extension of that concept. The pick selection provides unsurpassed versatility for both the novice and expert in all snow and ice conditions. You have the option of using three different picks all with a single tool.

The Lifetime Axe adze has streamlined square corners for clean, quick cutting. The picks are attached between two heli-arc welded plates which give the head maximum strength. The picks, rather than the tool itself, are threaded to ensure they receive equal pressure and remain firmly attached. The Lifetime Hammer head is attached with both a steel pin and heli-arc weld. Each of the tools is individually hand crafted, hand finished, and carefully inspected by our ice tool experts.

The Lifetime tools are the only ice tools in the world to offer a lifetime warranty against breakage. The combination of light weight materials and exacting construction is blended to perfection in each tool. The Lifetime warrenty gives you the confidence to trust these tools on your most difficult climbs.

Axe Lengths: 45-70 cm in 5 cm increments

Axe Weight: 1lb., 15 oz.

Cat.# A6011


Hammer Lengths: 45-55 cm in 5 cm increments

Hammer Weight: 1 lb., 11 oz.

Cat.# A612



The picks offered in 1983 were the Vector 1, Vector 2, and Verglas. We also show a Tube style pick which was introduced the next year for this model. The Vector 1 is an aggressive drop pick design for steeper ice. Although it is a re-curved design, it is mild by todays standards. The Vector 2 has more of a classic curve design found on more general purpose ice tools. The Verglas pick has less of a downward curve than the Vector 2 and isn’t as aggressive as the Vector 1 but provides a solid bite in many different snow and ice conditions. The Tube pick is thick and heavy. The tip of the tube has an internal taper to compress the ice or snow inward while a slot running the length of the underside allows for cleaning out any material that accumulates.

One of the interesting innovations on these tools is the way the picks are attached. As stated in the Forrest catalog, the picks themselves are threaded, and Forrest points out that it is to insure “equal pressure” and a “firm attachment” but another important factor is life span. Ice Tools take a beating. Having the threads renewed each time you change picks is a great way to insure the climber has a functional, dependable tool for as long as possible. The bolts used on the Lifetime Hammer are Hex sockets that tighten from both sides. The bolt side screws through the threaded pick until tight and then the nut side is threaded on from the opposite side and tightened. This secure arraignment still functions well even if the nut somehow comes off. A great and simple design which is still found in some forms on ice tools today.

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2 Responses

  1. bruce beckmann says:

    I have a Forrest Lifetime ice axe circa 1985 I have misplaced the two bolts for the pic, bummer Do you sell replacement bolts or know where I can get them?

    • Curator says:

      I think they are 5mm socket bolts and the threaded part is just over 1cm long. I think you can contact a fastener supply company and get the right part. Remember to get the right grade steel. The bolts are hardened and have a black non-corrosive finish.

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