I was scared. The grade of the ice shelf I was on sloped dangerously to the edge of Lake Superior’s ice shelf. Ten feet below, its sheer face was killingly cold water clogged with large ice chunks that would either hold you under or batter you to death against a cliff of ice while you died from rapid hypothermia. I was stupidly underequipped to be where I was, but I had the one tool that I’m never without. I dropped to my hands and knees to maximize traction against rock-hard, ice-slicked snow. Even now I was sliding toward my death; I yanked my TOPS Brothers Of Bushcraft knife from its friction-fit sheath and drove it into the ice an arm’s length uphill of me.
The B.O.B.’s 4.5-inch blade drove into hard-frozen snow at least half its length. Because it was driven home sidewise to myself, the flat of its 2-inch wide blade provided the surface area needed to pull against. A full-tang blade of 1095 high carbon steel, 0.190-inch thick on my sample (counting epoxy powder-coat), delivered the strength to pull my weight from that most abusive orientation. A 5.5-inch long, hand-filling ergonomic handle enabled a firm grip, even with gloves.
By using the knife as a piton to anchor myself with one hand as I ascended the greasy-slick ice grade (the impacts of ice boulders against the shelf behind me adding genuine incentive), I was able to pull myself uphill in several steps until I’d reached the safety of flat ice.
The fire-drill guide, brass-lined lanyard hole, and scraper/striker recess in a solid pommel are…
by Tactical Life / Sep 1, 2012