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Which mountaineering axe - Grivel MB Pamir or BD Raven?


Original Post
Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 380

Bit of an odd situation here. I found a nearly brand new BD Raven last year on a descent trail. Spent a few weeks trying to find the owner, but came up dry. I already have a Grivel Pamir of the same length, which has been fine for the very few times I've actually needed it. Never had to self arrest (though I've practiced a few times for good measure), and never used it to climb ice (I have Nomics for that), so I really have no idea how it performs (or how it should perform). But as I look to the future, it isn't unreasonable to think I might spend time on terrain that merits a good axe.

So here's my question - which axe should I keep, and which should I sell? I know the BD is newer and lighter, but it's also the cheapest thing on the market. The Grivel is older but seems like it was a pretty solid choice in its day. Does it even matter?

Axes
BomberBill · · California · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Light is right... Basically they are the same axe & size and when choosing between two items almost always lean toward the lighter one!

Steve Williams · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 235

Lighter isn't always the best choice.
When carving out a tent platform on Denali the Raven pro (lighter)
barely made a dent while the Raven regular chopped away much
more easily. It depends on its ultimate use.

diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Should have been using a steel spade.

Go with the light axe. The more you climb the less you will be on routes requiring (only) a single standard axe. You'll end up using the standard on basic glacier stuff and will appreciate the lighter weight on the approach.

Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 183
Steve Williams wrote:Lighter isn't always the best choice. When carving out a tent platform on Denali the Raven pro (lighter) barely made a dent while the Raven regular chopped away much more easily. It depends on its ultimate use.
The Raven pro has a smaller adze, which explains this.
Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 380

About what I expected in terms of advice - and lightweight is always my bias! Thanks all!

Thomasalwa · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Lighter Axe is the best choice forever.......

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

Not to beat the horse...but light. Any weight you can save will make your day that much better.

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 380
Steve Williams wrote:Lighter isn't always the best choice. When carving out a tent platform on Denali the Raven pro (lighter) barely made a dent while the Raven regular chopped away much more easily. It depends on its ultimate use.
Good counterpoint Steve, and thanks. Seems like the Raven is a fine choice. My underlying questions was whether or not it was sufficiently better than the Pamir to merit not selling it, given that the older Pamir probably won't see a lot of demand.
BenRobert · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I like to girth hitch a double runner to the axe for a leash. The fileted out section at the top of the shaft on bd raven helps keep it in place, beats the alternative of putting it through a hole on the grivel. Might sound like a small difference, but it makes for a more versatile attachment point. Also it feels better in my hand than having the knot/leash attached to the pick.

diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0
Emmett Lyman wrote:My underlying questions was whether or not it was sufficiently better than the Pamir to merit not selling it, given that the older Pamir probably won't see a lot of demand.
That was going to be my other point. For $5 you might as well keep it as a back up or to loan out to a friend.
Shepido · · CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 50

The raven is probably easier to hold on to as well. I like the BD axes in that regard.

Ryan R · · East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

I have the Raven Pro. Light is right, and easy on the hands. Just make a grip for it to keep your hand warmer!

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 380
Ryan R wrote:I have the Raven Pro. Light is right, and easy on the hands. Just make a grip for it to keep your hand warmer!
Cool - is there something special in terms of "making a grip"? In the past I've just wrapped the webbing around a few times to keep my palm off the metal.
aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Another vote for the Raven, not for the weight, but for the better grip when you're holding the top of the axe.

Stich Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

I really don't understand why you are asking others, since you own both. Why don't you just keep the one YOU like?

Ryan R · · East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
Emmett Lyman wrote: Cool - is there something special in terms of "making a grip"? In the past I've just wrapped the webbing around a few times to keep my palm off the metal.
I took a piece of foam pipe insulation (the kind for copper pipes) and duct taped it to the top. nice and padded and helps to keep your hand a bit warmer, since it lessens the heat conducted out of your hand. I have issues with my hands, so I gotta take every trick I can get!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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