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The Best Ice Axe For Winter Mountaineering - Price Guide

Updated on January 31, 2011

 

If you are looking for the best ice axe on the market then look no further. We will hear review some of the top ice axes available and look at the pros and cons of each one. If you are planning to venture out into the mountains this winter it is vital you have a good ice axe with you. This guide will give you an idea of which ice axe is best for you and how much you should be looking to pay for one.

There are few better things in life that hiking in the mountains. When winter has it’s coat on it transforms the mountains into a white shimmering wonderland. But the mountains are a very dangerous place in the winter, it is vital that anyone venturing out has the proper gear and the ability to use it. One important bit of kit is the ice axe. Mountaineers all over the world use ice axes and here are some of the best ones on the market.

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

 

This is a classic ice axe. The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is specially designed to give the user comfort and ease of use. With a shaft that is made from light aluminium and a pick made from strong steel. The pick is designed with a flat smooth top and it is connected to the shaft by a smooth hourglass shaped piece of metal. This means that if you are gripping the ice axe for long periods of time you can maintain a comfortable grip. The ice axe is also designed in a way that makes it easy as possible to slip into the self arrest position should you need to perform the manoeuvre.

The shaft comes in a range of lengths ranging from 55cm up to 90cm. This is just a matter of personal preference. The 60cm version weighs in at 452g making this a good solid ice axe without it being overly heavy. The pick has a large adze which makes the job of carving out steps less tedious. This ice axe is made in China and is one of the top ice axes currently on the market.

Mountain Axe by Omega Pacific

Mountain Axe by Omega Pacific

Mountain Axe by Omega Pacific

 

This is a slightly cheaper ice axe but it still has some good features. This ice axe by Omega Pacific get consistently good feedback from users and again is a very hard wearing ice axe. With a stylish blue shaft that comes in a range of lengths from 60cm to 80cm this is one robust piece of kit. The pick is laser cut to aircraft quality and comes in an ergonomic shape which makes it ideal if you are to be gripping this for a long period of time.

The shaft is made from lightweight material and the axe pick is formed in a way to make cutting steps very easy. The pick is sharp and has ridged teeth that will bite into the snow should you be attempting to perform a self arrest. While this is at the cheaper end of the scale it is still an all round very good performer and a top quality ice axe that does it’s job very well in even the most severe conditions.

Snowalker Ice Axe by Petzl

Snowalker Ice Axe by Petzl

Snowalker Ice Axe by Petzl

 

This is a wonderful ice axe that really is a great performer. The slick silver shaft rises majestically to give the user an excellent grip and a strong reliable axe. The 4mm toothed pick is made from Charlet Steel and can be used in either snowy conditions or icy ones. The steel adze is designed to fit comfortably into the hand and can also easily be used to cut steps in the snow. This ice axe also comes with a short leash which means you can stay attached to your ice axe whatever happens.

The shaft is of high quality aluminium meaning it weighs less than many ice axes on the market. The one downside to this ice axe is that it is only available in either 60cm or 75cm lengths. While the Snowalker ice axe by Petzl is a little more expensive than some out there, it is considered by many to be the best ice axe available on the market. This is a seriously good piece of kit that you will be able to rely on for many years.

C.A.M.P USA Corse Ice Axe

C.A.M.P USA Corse Ice Axe

 

If you are not heading into quite such serious conditions but still want a little back up then this ice axe may be just what you are looking for. The other ice axes we have reviewed are designed to be carried in the hand over snowy terrain. The Corse ice axe is designed to be carried in a pack and used only in tricky situations. Ideal for ski mountaineers or alpine travellers this ultra light weighty ice axe is made from aluminium and comes in sizes ranging from just 50cm up to 70cm.

The ice axe weighs and incredible 7.2 ounces making it the lightest on the market. This means it’s not up to certain functions but for carving out steps every now and again or getting purchase on a tricky incline this is ideal. Although not designed to be carried for long period of time, the pick does fit neatly into the hand and can easily be carried over tricky snow and ice patches. Not the best self arrest ice axe but suitable in all but the worst winter conditions. This is an axe that is ideal for the more mellow journey across the snow and ice.

Hopefully you will have found something you like in these ice axes. There are lots more on the market but these are four of the best ones around at the moment. Bear in mind these are not designed for ice climbing, that requires a whole different variety of ice axe and one that is a great deal more technical. These are ideal for basic winter mountaineering, self arrest and carving out steps. While the ice axe may be a simple tool it is one that everyone venturing into the mountains should have as it could one day safe your life.

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