Choosing An Ice Axe

I’m a fan of the “Gear Guy” over at Outside Online. In fact, it’s one of my favorite sections on the website, because he typically breaks things down in an easy to understand manner, and generally gives out solid advice on a wide variety of topics from the best outdoor clothing for a specific adventure, to advice on buying a kayak, and so much more. Being a gear nut, I generally like to read his thoughts and opinions, even if it’s on a topic I already know something about.

I found today’s post to be one of particular interest, as he gives out advice on buying an Ice Axe. It’s a fairly basic question, but something that a lot of people don’t think about when they’re heading off to buy their equipment. As the “Gear Guy” notes, an Ice Axe isn’t a particularly techy piece of equipment, but never the less, you want to have the right one for you, and one that is sturdy and effective.

So if you’re getting into climbing and mountaineering and you’re looking to buy some of your own gear, you may want to give this a read. He even recommends a few models that won’t break the bank either.

5 thoughts on “Choosing An Ice Axe”

  1. I purchased a Black Diamond Raven. It is pretty much the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry of ice axes.

    Pretty much any gear list you look at on various mountaineering guide service websites recommend the Raven.

  2. Have you had a chance to use it yet? I know you just got it recently. Does it meet your expecations, and how much did you pay for it, if you don’t mind me asking? 🙂

  3. Haven’t had a chance to use it yet, unfortunately there isn’t much use for an ice axe in the Eastern part of the United States.

    It won’t actually get used until the mountaineering training on Rainier this summer. I just happened to get an REI gift card for christmas and went ahead and got the ice axe early. It was $69 on REI’s website.

    It’s VERY light and sturdy. I opted for the Black Diamond Raven over the Black Diamond Raven Pro due to the fact I didn’t see what advantages the Pro offered for the additional $30. The Raven is already light, and i’m not doing serious expedition alpine style climbing.

    The Raven Pro is about 100 grams lighter and the head of the axe is actually smaller at a cost of $99.

    I was already surprised at how light the Raven was, it’s very light. It surprised a lot of people at my office who picked it up and were expecting it to be much heavier so i’m definitely not regretting my decision on the weight issue.

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