In a previous post where I willingly broke through the ice…twice…I noticed a question from MissMuley in the comments section about the ice spikes I used to pull myself out of the frozen lake.


It’s a good question, because without them I’m not sure I could’ve crawled out. Here’s how I made mine:

Step 1: I started with two 5-inch nails (Phillips-head screwdrivers would also work) and a length of strong cord (p-cord works great) slightly longer than my wingspan.

Step 2: I wrapped the cord around the nails and secured them with strong knots. And to be sure the knots stay put, I ran a lighter over them to melt them together. I also taped some foam to the to 2/3 of each nail for a better grip–and so they’d float.

Step 3: Wear the spikes underneath your coat with the cord running up your arms and around your shoulders–just like you did with mittens when you were a kid. Let the spikes dangle from your sleeves (or tuck them in your sleeves, if you prefer) when you’re on the ice.

If you break through, try to exit from the same direction from which you fell, because the ice there was strong enough to support you–at least until you go too close to the thinner area. Get a good grip on your spikes, then reach your arms out of the hold as far as you can and dig the spikes in…hard.

With the spikes in the ice, float your body to the surface while pulling yourself out. Keep driving the spikes into the ice, pulling yourself forward, until you’re away from the hole. Once out, roll away from the hole. This will distribute your weight on the surface more evenly than standing up on likely thin ice.

Now, be happy that you were smart enough to carry ice spikes. They may have just saved your life.