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Ice Axes


Original Post
Jared Lepic · · Montreal, Canada · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Anyone have recommendations or good experience with an ice axe brand or model?

I've owned several Black Diamond axes but am learning towards Petzel for my next. I usually end up leaning heavily on these so I figure the investment is worth it. My main concerns are balance/safety so I'm looking for something well-built (preferably made in USA or Europe), may get into some ice fall climbing later on.

Roamin' Buffalo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 50

Depends a LOT on what you're doing with it. My .02: Long volcano slog? Raven Ultra. Steep snow/AI1-2+? Petzl Summit. YMMV.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

For waterfall ice you owe it to yourself to try the Trango Raptors before you buy anything else.

Maybe this guy's:
cascadeclimbers.com/forum/u…

CCChanceR Ronemus · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 125

#Nomics4lyfe.

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

Dude asked about axes and leaning on it. Two recent replies are aggressive ice tools. Methinks I made the same syntax error when first wrapping my head around the gear.

IMHO DMM is the stuff. I have no experience with their axes. My Apex tools are uber solid, but I just got them and haven't climbed with them yet. Hot forged awesomeness. Made in Wales. Otherwise I would prefer Petzl for their innovation in the industry and a million other reasons.

Caleb Mallory · · Seattle, N.Carolina, &Hong… · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 425

+1 Petzl Summit. It still has a legitimate spike in comparison to most other models out there. Carries much better imo than any BD axe. Used it all over the globe the past couple years in various conditions and terrain from mod. snow to even a short unintended section of AI 3/M3 (not recommended!)

George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 8

I've grown to favor Petzl axes as well. Check out the SUM-TEC if you're looking toward steeper objectives and you're not very tall...

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Faulted Geologist wrote:Dude asked about axes and leaning on it. Two recent replies are aggressive ice tools.
Good point. I read his comment as, "leaning toward" (I know, that's not what he said) as in "tending to prefer". Not surprising that anyone would lean toward Petzl. And Trango's at the other end of the awareness-rep spectrum, which is why I gave them a shout out for the Raptor. To be clear: OP, the Raptor is not an alpine mountaineering tool.
RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 65

Before you decide what to buy you need to figure out where you are going to be using the axe. Are you talking about doing snow climbs in Colorado or glaciers in the PNW? In places where you only find perfect snow, get a Camp Nano. If you are going to use the axe on ice, get something like the Grivel Air Tech Evo, Petzl Sum'Tec (probably longer version with the adze) or other that has a steel pick.

drewdogg2112 · · halifax, MA · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 20

I don't do a lot of hard Ice climbing, only up to WI2-3 really, and If I go harder I usually borrow a friends Ice tools cuz hes got like 7 pairs.

I have Petzl Summit and its awesome for general mountaineering, Super light and Ive even used it on a WI2 climb last year (definitely not what it was made for but it did a great job and actually swung very nicely into ice)

For harder more techy mountaineering and light Ice I have BD Venoms which work great. More technical picks, good heft, and not too heavy.
I looked at that Petzl Sum'tec too. Looks kinda like a cool mix.

But it all depends on what kindof climbing you are doing. Mountaineering/ winter hiking or Ice Climbing. Good luck.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162
Faulted Geologist wrote:IMHO DMM is the stuff. I have no experience with their axes. My Apex tools are uber solid, but I just got them and haven't climbed with them yet.
Haven't used their axes, and haven't climbed on their tools, so they are "the stuff" based on what, the colors?

OP, you need to tell people what you're going to be using your axes for if you want meaningful feedback.

Also, try this: outdoorgearlab.com/Ice-Axe-…

cascadeclimbers.com/ice-axe…
Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158
Kyle Tarry wrote: Haven't used their axes, and haven't climbed on their tools, so they are "the stuff" based on what, the colors?
Kyle is still pissed cuz I called him out for being kinda rude in replies. I have only been ice climbing for a year; he has probably been for longer, so listen to his advice in general.

As for DMM, their manufacturing is done in-house and uses top quality materials. Inhave yet to hear someone complain about their quality, though axes and tools are a preference thing. I made a choice based on my research and got what I wanted. Others may have a different opinion. If mountaineering and counting grams, choose Petzl and go light imho.

Just check and read lots. The DMM axes may be just the thing. I support in-house Mfg and hot forged metal. From memory, Grivel, DMM, Petzl, Cassin, and maybe BD hot forge their picks.
Chris Walden · · Soldotna, Alaska · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 640

Casting my vote for the Camp X-All Mountain great versatile axe. I also have a quiver of Grivel axes that I love. Camp, BD, Petzl, Grivel, DMM honestly you can't go wrong with any of these brands. It all boils down to your application and uses.

While I haven't use any DMM axes or ice tools I have lots of their other gear and it is simply the best. DMM's quality, anodizing and attention to detail is first rate.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 266

OP, just go to a store and check them out in person. You will learn nothing from this thread.

This is the equivalent of asking "what sort of cereal should I buy next time I go to the grocery store".

Karl Henize · · June Lake, CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 570

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the major brands. All the major brands provide similar offerings.

Caleb Mallory · · Seattle, N.Carolina, &Hong… · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 425
chrisccc wrote:OP, just go to a store and check them out in person. You will learn nothing from this thread. This is the equivalent of asking "what sort of cereal should I buy next time I go to the grocery store".
I agree that "experiential education" trumps all else, however I do believe there is value in having a frame of reference prior to making a purchase. Why do you think companies spend billions on advertising? If anything, the information given here on this thread is providing the OP with knowledge for when he does go into the store which can help save time and even money. Let's help the OP make an educated purchase! There are various factors at play when it comes to the technology behind ice axes which goes well beyond mere personal preferences. Let's help set the OP up for success by providing our knowledge of item in question instead of negating all applicable knowledge from his fellow climbers. Just a thought! (:
Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Post Deleted...

Rick Blair · · Denver · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 268

I like Black Diamond Venom axes for all around use. I am not an ice climber, I have no ambition to ever lead on ice. Venoms can be found cheaply when there are sales. I think I picked mine up 80 or 90.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

The BD Raven (Raven Ultra if you wanna cut a bit of weight) and the Grivel G1 are both great axes for general mountaineering. I use the G1 and basically cut it in half. Go with whichever you can get for cheapest and climb on.

For steep snow and alpine ice I have been using the DMM Fly. It would be overkill (and incredibly heavy) for waterfall ice.

For steep ice, the BD Fuels are incredible.

To echo a couple others, axe and tool choice is largely dependent on experience. You figure out what works and what you like. For a general mountaineering axe, you really can't go wrong with any of the brands out there (BD, Petzl, Grivel, Camp, Omega Pacific).

Caleb Mallory · · Seattle, N.Carolina, &Hong… · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 425
Dave Schultz wrote: Pretty funny. A lot of people around here give useless advice and post way more than necessary.
Shows how much they're actually getting out there. Must be difficult in Kansas though.
CCChanceR Ronemus · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 125

Nomics for everything.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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