"his bag over his shoulder and his rifle for alpenstock."
Mountain climber Jacques Balmat carrying an axe and an alpenstock (c. 1786)
Public DomainMountain climber Jacques Balmat carrying an axe and an alpenstock (c. 1786) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

An alpenstock was an early form of ice axe, consisting of a long wooden pole with an iron tip and sometimes having a pick and adze at the head.

The device has been used by shepherds travelling on snowfields and glaciers in the Alps since the Middle Ages.