Trekking: The Kronos is the world’s first wooden ice axe

Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.

Pressed beech wood is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think ice tools — and why would it? The most durable, reliable, and commonplace climbing gear is often made of steel, which allows it to withstand an insane amount of force without bending or breaking under pressure. The makeup of humble ice axe is often no different, though, if New York-based Furnace Industries had its way, that would not be the case.

KronosMeet the Kronos ($389), a wooden ice axe that’s built to be as dependable as it is charming. The simple tool touts industry standard safety certification — or a T-rating, for those outside the know — meaning it was subjected to range of tests, including those to ensure the strength of both the shaft and embedded pick. The sleek pick uses a dense beech wood laminate that relies on a swath of thin veneers and resin, a combination that’s melded together under high pressure and temperature to integrate the latter into the wood’s cell structure. This creates a dense composite, one that touts incredible wear resistance despite its natural look and feel.

The wood build isn’t merely for show, however. The unique construction allows your hands to stay warmer while climbing, and the wood helps increase sensitivity and dampen your strike. The aforementioned durability of the Kronos relies on a network of “islands,” which function like wooden bolts to secure the stainless steel hardware and help evenly distribute force throughout the pick when swung. A handful of visible bolts on the shaft further compress the wood, providing you with a greater sense of assurance should you decide to take it off your mantle and along with you for your next frozen ascent. And if you don’t? Well, we totally understand that too.

Check out Furnace Industries online to make a purchase and for more information regarding the Kronos, or the company’s youth-centric indoor ice tools.

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