10 Best Mountaineering Ice Axes of 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

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Mountaineers have been trying their hands at this activity for many years, and some tools will help you to conquer the biggest mountains and remain safe.

One such tool is the ice axe, which is a versatile tool that will allow you to penetrate the snow and ice while out in cold weather climates safely and will be invaluable to you on your excursions. 

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The purpose of this article is to bring to light the top 10 mountaineering ice axes, as well as explain the various components and how to choose the correct one for you.

Best Ice Axes For Mountaineering

#1 Petzel – Ride

This curved axe from Petzel is a great tool for the price and will allow you to perform all the actions needed while mountaineering in the wild. 

Rugged in design, this high-quality double-headed mountain pick has increased friction on the end which allows easy and firm grasp while mountain climbing, which allows you to deal with the harshest mountain terrain with ease.

The shaft grip is comfortable to handle and allows you to maintain a firm grip while handling it or hanging from while getting your footing.

The curved design allows for a variety of various maneuvers and offers complete versatility; while the head of the ice axe is fantastic at penetrating even the thickest sheets of snow and ice. 

Easy to see in the snow, the shaft is made up of an orange color so you need not worry about losing it while out in the wilderness. 

The carabiner hole is on top of the ice axe; making it easy to attach a leash to as needed.

This is our WINNER for the best mountaineering ice axe!

#2 Petzl – Glacier

Sleek and functional in its design, the ice axe Glacier from Petzl will be a valuable tool and asset that you will want to take with you if you plan on adventuring in any type of snowy terrain. 

Excellent for both snow and ice thanks to its superior anchoring qualities, the blade is guaranteed to cut through even the most frozen snow and ice.

Both ends of this ice axe have holes and are ready to have a carabiner or sling attached. 

Included with the purchase of this axe is a leash, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing one separately. 

This is an excellent lightweight pickaxe that you will want to have with you and is great for any type of hiking, but especially for those instances that you are in the snow and ice.

#3 Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

A traditional ice axe that is a quality product both in design and construction, the Black Diamond Raven is made from stainless steel to ensure durability, and the shaft is constructed of aluminium that makes it lightweight enough for easy penetration of mountain faces.

As with most ice axes, you can attach a leash onto it so that you can rest easy knowing that you will not lose it while out in the wild on your excursions. 

Overall, a very well crafted ice pick that will be invaluable to you when climbing up mountains where you need to have a solid footing to make it to the top. 

This is a very well made quality product that you will want to make sure to have with you.

#4 Grivel – GZERO Axe

Featuring a classic yet sophisticated design, the Grivel G ZERO is ergonomic that and remains comfortable to handle even after hours of mountain climbing and will feel like an extension of your arm. 

The removable blade offers the ability to firmly get ahold of the axe head while eliminating the risk of injury in the process.

The cover for the handle allows you to have a firm grip, while also protecting your skin from coming into contact with cold metal as the temperatures decrease around you in the process of cold-weather mountain climbing. 

Lightweight yet durable, the removable rubber hiking grip allows further versatility enabling you to adapt to the situation to get the most out of your mountain climbing experience.

#5 Black Diamond – Raven With Grip

Sleek yet functional in design, this axe from Black Diamond is a quality product that you would expect from a name brand like this. 

Although you may be paying a little more for this particular product, it is well worth it. 

The ultra-sharp pick will be a great tool to use for those times that it is needed, and the head of the ice axe is great at penetrating even the toughest layers of snow and ice.

Not too thin, the shaft of this ice axe is comfortable to wear and does not feel over-cumbersome when in use, thanks to the high-quality shaft grips towards the bottom of the ice axe. 

Easy to attach a carabiner for an axe leash, this is a quality product that you will want to take a look at.

#6 Grivel – Nepal

Aimed with self-arresting in mind, the Grivel Nepal Ice Axe is one of the safest and most secure ice axes on the market today. 

This is the perfect tool for those unfortunate circumstances wherein you find yourself in need of something that will keep you from falling further down, and you can rest easy knowing that this ice axe will do just that.

An invaluable tool for any mountaineer to have in their arsenal, it is lightweight and durable; made of quality materials that will keep up with you during your mountain climbing adventures. 

In addition to being durable with safety in mind, this ice axe is also extremely comfortable to use and won’t be a burden to carry with you.

#7 Camp Neve Ice Axe

Excellent value for the cost, the Camp Neve ice axe is comfortable to use all the while remaining durable and able to penetrate the ice and snow that you encounter while out in the elements. 

Even though it is lightweight, it is incredibly durable and sturdy and you can rest easy knowing that it will keep up with your mountaineering activities or wherever life takes you.

It is not too lightweight, but instead feels like an extension of your arm, and is great for those times that you may need to self-arrest to remain safe and sound. 

When purchasing this product, the hand strap is included and the shaft has a nice sturdy grip that makes it easy to have with you during your adventures through the snow and ice.

#8 Omega Pacific Ice Axe

Made of high-grade quality alloy aluminium, the Omega mountain axe is a timeless classic that will see you through your mountain climbing ventures and get you back home safe and sound. 

Traditional in design, this particular pick does not have interchangeable components but that shouldn’t stop you from considering it for your next purchase; as it is a sound product that has proven to be a great tool to mountain climbers all over.

The blade is sharp enough to penetrate rock walls, and you will be sure to get your grip as you are attempting your next mountain climbing adventure through the wilderness. 

However, a downside to this particular product is the fact that the grip is fairly smooth, and you may want to ensure that you have the proper gloves while using or wrap some anti-slip tape around the grip to maintain the needed leverage while climbing

#9 Grivel – G1

Lightweight in design and easy to use or carry with you on your excursions, the G1 ice axe is a versatile tool that would be a great asset to you in cold weather climates. 

Although it is lightweight, this is a very durable ice axe that is comfortable to hold and wield without needing to worry about it breaking or getting damaged while penetrating the snow and ice.

The rubber grip covers the shaft of the axe to allow for a firm grip all the while keeping your hands safe from the temperature of the cold metal due to the decreasing temperatures around you. 

Unlike other axes, the shaft is not thin or awkward to hold and will be comfortable while you are using it to climb up the face of a mountain.

#10 Camp USA – Corsa Ice Axe

The aluminium handle on rock climbing pick is wear-resistant and anodized treated so that you can rest easy knowing that you won’t be out of your element and left in the dark while mountain climbing. 

This pick is made of the highest quality materials and is well worth the budget-friendly cost.

The curved design of this lightweight pick makes it easy to maintain your footing while you are climbing without worrying about anything going wrong, and the high hardness material with the double head makes it easy to use in various environments.

Choosing The Best Ice Axe For Mountaineering

Out of all the tools and resources that a mountaineer will have at their disposal, the ice axe is arguably one of the most important. 

While choosing an ice axe, you will first want to consider the type of outdoor activity that you will be participating in. 

For the following sections, we are going to assume that you are primarily going to be engaging in cold-weather mountain climbing; although ice axes are a well-rounded tool that is suited for all types of outdoor activity.

Choose The Best Length

Considering the right length for ice axes, you will want to take into consideration the length from the tip of the axe head to the bottom of the handle. 

When you are choosing the correct length for you, you will want to hold the head of the axe in the palm of your hand and let your hand rest naturally at your side. 

When you are in this position, the bottom of the handle of the ice axe should be parallel to your ankle, give or take an inch. 

Choosing the correct length for the ice axe can make all the difference when you are climbing mountains, and you will want to make sure that you choose the appropriate size for your body.

Reasons For Long and Short Axes

There are various reasons for choosing either a long or short ice axe; with the obvious being your height. 

If you are shorter, you will want to avoid having an ice axe that is too long; as it can be cumbersome to wield and may cause unnecessary accidents while on your excursions.

By choosing to go with a shorter ice axe, you are saving on the amount of weight that you are carrying with you, as well as when using it. 

Ice mountaineers are repeatedly swinging their ice axes to climb up the mountain, and overtime having a heavier and longer ice axe will take a toll on your endurance levels. 

There are reasons to choose a longer ice axe, however. 

For instance, if you are using it to build a snow anchor or to traverse low-level ice fields then you may opt-in for using a longer ice axe. 

It all depends on the type of activity and situations that you are planning on getting yourself into, and part of being a mountaineer is to plan accordingly.

Parts Of The Ice Axe

Ice axes are comprised of 7 main parts: the shaft, adze, spike, head, pick, carabiner hole, and shaft grip. All of these components are essential to a mountaineer and they all come standard, for the most part. 

The head of the ice axe is comprised of the pick and adze, with each of these on either side. Both are versatile aspects that are great for those times that you encounter snow and ice and will penetrate the barriers of snow with ease. 

Going downwards from the head, the shaft, pick, and pick grip are there to allow you to easily grip the ice axe comfortably and safely. 

Also, the pick (or bottom) of the ice axe is used for times that you need to hook or swing into ice or snow and in the event of needing to perform self-arrest, this is the most valuable part of the ice axe. 

Lastly, the carabiner hole is used to attach a leash to the ice axe for use; sometimes, these are attached by utilizing a carabiner; hence the name.

Do You Need An Ice Axe Leash?

While it is not the most important part of the ice axe, the attachable leash may benefit you in certain situations. 

For instance, if you accidentally lose your grip on the ice axe and it falls, you will be glad to have a leash on it making it easier to re-acquire the axe. 

Some mountaineers opt-out of using one, however, as they believe that it slows them down as you will need to constantly switch hands while you are using it. 

That said, the safety aspect far outweighs the inconvenience and so if able, you should have a leash on your ice axe. This is especially true during falling or needing to perform a self-arrest.

Conclusion

We hope this information was helpful, and that after reading through this article you can make an informed decision on which ice axe will suit your needs, as well as the different types that are available for use. 

As always, safety when mountaineering should be your primary concern, and with a proper ice axe you will be able to stay safe and enjoy all that nature has to offer; especially in cold-weather climates.

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