We will look at the best ice axes on the market for climbing. An ice axe is used to carry out actions under conditions where long, sliding falls are possible. Having the best ice axe for a thru-hike like the PCT or CDT is essential to help you through those tough sections.
Snow can make any mountain slope much more dangerous. A slip could send you sliding down the mountain. Even a fall on just hard frozen ground can be painful. Ice axes are not meant only for winter climbers. Climbers and hikers can use an axe any time of the year to purchase grip on a steep mountain or hill. Ice axes can be used to chop steps and to place snow anchors. Nonetheless, they are most regularly used as tools for self-arresting on snowy terrain.
Leashes and wrist loops come as standard with many axes; if not, loops can be retro-fitted. Using leashes and wrist loops prevents a dropped axe will not disappear down the hill. This does mean that you have to swap the wrist loop from hand to hand when changing direction.
Black Diamond Raven With Grip Ice Axe Review
The Black Diamond Raven is a classic ice axe. It will perform most of the functions you need in an ice axe and is reasonably priced. The aluminum construction means the axe is lightweight, and it comes in various sizes in increments of 5 cm.
The 7075-aluminium shaft lowers the weight without any cost to the strength, while the stainless-steel head and spike are weather-resistant and rust-resistant.
You can use the Black Diamond Raven as an anchor should you find yourself in a situation where you need help. You can easily make an anchor out of this ice axe; it has a hole in the head where you can clip your carabiner and set yourself an anchor.
The pick is full size, so don’t worry about not catching and grabbing the ice when you swing the axe. It has a wider pick and tapers heavily at the end, which is a genuine advantage when looking for support and purchase in soft conditions like snow.
Black Diamond Raven: Size, Weight, Materials & Key Features
- Weight: 16.1 oz/1lb
- Material: Aluminium construction
- Pick Shape: Classic Curve
- Sizes: 55-80, 90 cm (every 5 cm)
- Grip: Full density
- Hole in the head of the aze so you can clip on a carabiner
- Full-Size pick that will cut through the ice
- Wider than average for better support in softer conditions
- Ideal ice axe for beginners
Where To Buy The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe
Petzl Sum'tec Ice Axe Review
Petzl Sum’Tec is a true hybrid of a traditional ice axe and an ice tool. It adapts easily to any mountaineering activity, from classic to technical. It is completely modular, allowing it to be optimized for the objective. The TRIGREST handrest, adjustable without tools, and the compatibility of the ice axe with most Petzl accessories.
Climbs steep ice extremely well, sweet slider pommel, one of the best performing adzes in the review, chops ice like a champion. The Sum’Tec also sports a well-designed slider pummel for hand support on closer to vertical routes and a full-sized spike to help facilitate driving vertically into the snow
Petzl Sum'tec: Size, Weight & Features
- Length of handle 55 cm
- scoop version
- Weight 470 g
- Type of blade: 2
- Type of handle: 2
Petzl Sum'tec Axe Product Test Video
Where To Buy
Petzl Charlet Summit Mountain Axe Review
The Petzl Summit Mountain Axe was among the more comfortable ice axes to carry. It is slightly more comfortable in a self-belay position than a self-arrest position but was still above average overall. In self-arrest/pick forward position, there are no teeth on the pick where your hand grips to, so it is quite comfortable.
The heat-treated stainless steel head provides unbelievable anchoring performance, while the curved, lightweight 7075 anodized aluminum shaft makes the Summit Axe easy to carry with you. This model is available in 3 different sizes depending upon your needs.
The Petzl Charlet Summit Mountain Axe impressively versatile and reliably dependable and will be an essential part of your mountaineering kit that you’ll enjoy using every time that you head out on an expedition. The Petzl Charlet Summit is a marvelous axe to use and handle with the ideal balance for both walking and climbing.
Petzl Summit: Weight, Material, Size & Features
- Heat-treated stainless steelhead
- Good anchoring performance.
- 7075 anodized aluminum shaft
- Rod Type 1
- Lengths and weights: 52cm – 360g, 59cm – 380h, 66cm – 400g
Where To Buy
Petzl Summit EVO Mountain Axe Review
The Petzl Summit Evo Axe is designed to be used for general mountaineering and features a curved shaft and a T rating. It’s quite light for a mountaineering axe, thanks to the hot-forged steelhead on the axe. Hot-forged steel is lighter and stronger than standard steel. The pick is also tapered towards the tip for more comfortable penetration in hard snow and ice.
The Summit Evo looks like a stunning piece of kit when you upon it. It’s nicely balanced, not too heavy, and importantly, not too light either, even though the low weight is one of Petzl’s top-selling points for this axe.
A slight curve to the shaft gives it a better choice for those wanting a technical axe for low grade climbs rather than just on walking terrain’ You might need to play around with it a little to find the balance point for clove-hitching a sling to when burying it for a belay anchor.
This Axe head benefits from excellent anchoring placements in hard snow, ice, and frozen turf, and the shaft gives a good grip on whatever you’re wearing on your hands.
One place I do think the Summit suffers is chopping steps. It appears to struggle a little despite the adze being angled. If you don’t chop steps that often, it should not be a real issue.
Petzl Summit EVO: Weight, Material, Size & Features
- The Summit Evo is lightweight for its type weight by length:
- 360g (52 cm)
- 380g (59 cm)
- 400g (66 cm)
- Aluminum shaft, stainless hot-forged steelhead, and spike
- Steel adze supports your hand comfortably and is angled, so the force directs down the shaft.
- Stainless steel head has a broad oval hole for clipping a biner
- The tilted adze directs the axe into the snow if used upright in the cane position.
Where To Buy The Petzl Summit Evo
Stubai Hornet Ice Axe/Hammer Review
The Stubai Hornets are are great option for your first pair of ice tools, being relatively inexpensive and sturdily made. Performance of the Hornet tool easily outweighs their humble price tag. The Stubai Hornets are available either Adze or Hammer.
This Stubai Hornets Axe and Hammer feature a simple construction with a forged one-piece head. The shaft curve is reasonably gentle, while there’s a rubber grip halfway up for a better grip when wearing gloves.
Your Hornet is a great vertical ice axe for a low price. It also features a, aggressive pick bent aluminum shaft, sticky rubber grip, and a one-piece steelhead.
I think Hornet Axe represents excellent value for money, recommended for climbers who want reliable gear on a budget.
Stubai Hornet: Weight, Material, Size & Features
- Steel head
- Certification type T
- Length 46 cm
- Weight: Adze – 600 g (incl. wrist loop), Hammer – 620.5 g (incl. wrist loop)
- Designed to be used as a pair but don’t have to be
- Budget friendly
Where To Buy
Grivel G Zero Ice Axe Review
Starring a classic straight shaft shape and a neutral pick, the Grivel GZERO is a beginner-friendly thru-hiking axe for less technical applications. It is affordable and practical and even comes with a leash for added security, so you don’t accidentally drop it.
This ice axe boasts a strong steel pick and an aluminum shaft for added durability. The insulating, removable blade cover lets you firmly grip the axe by the head without risking injury. The hand is also protected from contact with cold metal, especially in extreme temperatures and high altitudes expeditions—the perfect ice tool to discover the mountains with safety and comfort in mind.
Grivel G Zero : Size, Weight & Features
- Material: Carbon steel
- Blade Type: Classical negative
- Shaft Resistance: 280kg B/617llbs
- Weight: 465 g/16.4 Oz
- Total Length: 58 cm