I think it's reasonable to take an ice axe and to store it outside the tent makes sense.
For my own curiosity , I've tried( really badly) to match the ice axe from the bus photo to the potential ice axe at the corner of the tent in the photo from the 28th of February, Sharavin ( first to discover the tent on the 26th of February) says that he used the ice axe to get the firn/hard snow off the top of the tent.
Sharavin claims this is his diagram below and the location of the ice axe.
If I remember correctly he also reported the axe was n the snow up to 2/3rds or three quarters. Looking at the peak of the tent and guesstimating the height of the tent at the entrance , I do wonder if it would actually show above the snow drift at the tent entrance. I don't think we have the actual length of the ice axe.
Any how... Here's my terrible effort below at cutting and pasting the ice axe head from the bus photo to the potential ice axe at the tent photo. I know it's not an exact science but I was only interested in the ratio from tip to shaft, and without the proper tools or expertise, it would seem to match. Coincidence perhaps?
Also , the angle of the ski pole is unusual. It would seem to be at the wrong angle if it was used as a tie off point to support the tent . Does this suggest some kind of movement or force? Given the depth of the ski pole I would expect it to snap if it was forced from the top in that direction . Could it be an indication of some sort of snow movement.
Playing devil's advocate and speculating( who doesn't) , we have potentialy three coincidence with the above info. The direction of the foot prints is roughly the same angle as the sloping ski pole , the potential axe seems to lie at the same angle as the ski pole.
I know people have said you move across an avalanche, but I don't think that advice is much use when you're in one unless your skiing. Not that I'm saying it was an avalanche but as has been suggested before, they just needed to think there was one. Or more to follow.
I welcome any thoughts , constructive criticism or abuse.