Are you a fan of extreme sports like mountain climbing? To ensure your safety, you must be well equipped for your climbs. The ice ax will therefore be essential for you to be able to evolve on the steep snow slopes, like a professional mountaineer.
But to avoid falling on faulty equipment, it is important to check the characteristics of the products before validating their purchase. This is why we invite you to read this article which contains all the information you need to know about the best ice axes on the market.
There is the Petzl Nomic which ensures perfect anchorage on the ice. You may also appreciate the versatile and easy-to-use Black Diamond Viper BD30043.
The Best ice Axes for ice climbing mountaineering (Reviews & Tests) of 2022
1. Petzl Nomic Ice Ax
Do you like ice climbing and are looking for the best brand of ice axes? We suggest you purchase the Nomic from Petzl, which is a reference product in this field. It is equipped with weights which give it a perfect balance so that you can enjoy a good swing.
Thanks to its Pur’Ice blade, you can easily anchor it in the ice. Equipped with a double handle and excellent geometry, several gripping modes are possible and you can change hands in complete stability. Its handle is ergonomic and its Griprest support block is adjustable for a comfortable grip.
In addition, it has a modular character, you can optimize it according to the race. Buying this equipment will be advantageous for you, because it comes with a Mini Hammer which is used to repair pitons as well as to protect its head.
Materials: Its construction is very robust thanks to its composition. Indeed, it is made with steel, aluminum and plastic which is reinforced with fiberglass.
Efficiency: It allows perfect anchoring, whatever the type of ice on which it is inserted thanks to its geometry which offers good balance.
Double handle: It has low and high handles. These protect your hand from the cold when in contact with the ice, bring you comfort during suspension and provide excellent grip.
Weight: This Petzl ice ax is quite heavy, as it weighs 585 g. This could tire you out quickly on your ascent.
2. Black Diamond Viper Ice Climbing Ice Ax
Choosing a mountaineering ice ax is not easy, especially when you want to acquire equipment that meets all your purchasing criteria. To prevent you from wasting your time comparing the descriptions of different products, we offer you the Black Diamond Viper which can meet all your requirements thanks to the maximum versatility it offers.
Its main asset is its ease of handling due to its hydroformed aluminum handle which is very light. Very robust tool, its Titan blade resists wear. It is the ideal equipment for the various winter races. It is suitable for mixed and ice climbing, because its Alpine FlickLock knob is modular and can slide all along the handle.
It can therefore be set as an auxiliary handle or a hand rest, depending on your wishes. In addition, the configuration of its head makes it easy to change blades. You can therefore use it as a hammer or a claw.
Versatile: It has a modular head that allows it to be assigned to the function of hammer or breakdown. It is also compatible with BD slides of all kinds.
Robust: This ice ax has a Titan blade which is very resistant to wear. So you don’t have to worry about ice or snow, because your equipment won’t rust.
Color: With its shade that combines black and gray, it is suitable for male and female use.
The cost: On the market, there are ice axes offered at a cheaper price than this model.
3. Petzl Quark Hammer Ice Axe Mountainer
Do you enjoy both technical mountaineering and ice climbing? This Quark ice ax will be indispensable during your adventures. Don’t fear for your safety, as its balance allows you to make secure anchors no matter the texture of the surface it is used on.
Equipped with Griprest and Trigrest support blocks, it is easy to handle and very comfortable to use in all situations. During your difficult passages, you can count on its overmolded and bi-material handle which gives you an effective grip, gives you excellent grip and insulates your hand from the cold.
It is made of plastic reinforced with fiberglass, steel and aluminum. Its Ice blade is 3.3 mm, and is interchangeable and very robust. This product is therefore resistant to wear caused by bad weather. In addition, its T-type handle is 50 cm long.
Versatile use: For your climbing and expeditions in the high mountains, for your ice climbing, the Petzl Quark is the ice ax you need thanks to its very modular structure according to your desires.
Ergonomic handle: It is both molded and bi-material and allows you to have a good grip. It also insulates your hand from the cold.
Resistant blade: Its interchangeable 3.3 mm Ice blade is very robust and wear-proof.
The dimensions: This model of ice ax only exists in a single size of 50 x 14 x 5 cm.
4. Grivel 200 axes
For all your glacier mountaineering adventures, find the best ice ax to guarantee your safety. To stand out from the crowd, this model relies on an appearance reminiscent of old axes and unfailing robustness. With a length of 68.8 cm, a width of 27.9 cm and a thickness of 7.6 cm, its size allows it easier maneuverability.
With a weight of 640 g without packaging, this accessory is not likely to weigh you down. Made from ash wood on the handle and chrome steel on the head and the hood, its performance is no longer to be tested. To show the authenticity of this hiking ice axe, the manufacturer has engraved its logo on the tip and on the handle.
To have a better stability, this article is also equipped with a chromed steel tip. And icing on the cake, know that this equipment can be used in any season.
The design : Its rustic and old style is a real asset. Indeed, with an original appearance, it differs from models that have a modern appearance.
Materials of construction : The combination of ash wood and chrome steel offers a reliable mountaineering accessory ready to take on any challenge.
The weight : With a mass of 640 g without its case, this tool will not be at all too heavy a load even if you are at a height.
No strap : This Grivel ice ax does not carry this element, which is nevertheless essential for hanging on in the event of a fall or accident.
5. Petzl Summit Evo Adult Ice Pick
If you want to know where to buy the best ice ax for your mountaineering activities, here is a model that meets all the criteria. Obtained through the assembly of steel and aluminum, this accessory has a high resistance. With a length of 59 cm and an approximate weight of 400 g, it perfectly matches an adult ice axe.
We notice on the latter a head with a wide tip as well as a steel tip that can hang on the majority of climbing terrains. The curved handle also provides a more comfortable grip for the user. Lower down, you have a polypropylene cover at the grab handle which prevents fingers from slipping.
The multiple lines drawn on the latter allow better fixation once in the phalanx. There is also a steel spike with an opening that is used to suspend the object for quick storage.
Curved handle : This configuration gives this climbing accessory great performance and greater maneuverability.
Anti-slip protection : The handle is equipped with a polypropylene cover to prevent slipping and mishandling.
Holey tip : Both ingenious and practical, this setting allows this tool to be easily stored at home or on a backpack, even without a case.
Price: Without being excessive, the cost of this mountaineering sport product exceeds that of most similar items.
6. Petzl Ride
Go on a ski tour or freeride, then follow our advice and equip yourself with a good ice ax to ensure your safety. The Petzl ride is a handy and compact accessory that will accompany you during your mountaineering activities. Lightweight, this model weighs only 240g with a neck length of 45cm and a narrow 3mm pick.
The curved stem guarantees a secure grip and handling, even in the most inclement weather. Designed with hardened steel and 7075 aluminum, this inexpensive ice ax is easy to carry. With a beveled shank tip, the accessory can be placed in a backpack without the risk of cutting the person carrying it.
For added versatility, this tool is compatible with Pick and Spike protective caps and a Linkin wrist strap for better hanging on.
Very light: It is difficult to find such an object for adults that has a weight of only 240 g, and yet this is the case with this model.
Safe : The beveled rod tip reduces the risk of injury while carrying your gear in a backpack.
Practical : If you don’t have one, this Petzl Ride ice ax can be combined with Pick and Spike Protection brand caps and a Linkin strap.
The length of the handle : For a person with a large size, this element seems quite short for different situations.
7. Black Diamond Raven piolets
Look no further for the best ice ax on the market to practice your favorite sport with this high-performance model. To provide maximum durability and sturdiness, this model is made entirely of hardened steel. From the head to the tip of the rod, there is a straight and 55 cm long handle.
In all, the accessory weighs approximately 430 g, which remains average. With a silver color, the design is highlighted and this allows the ice ax to blend easily into the decor. Find on the bottom of the handle a tip that allows you to keep your balance on the steepest paths.
The presence of the cavity on the tip also facilitates the storage and transport of the object. Made to be used on different types of circuits, the head and hood of this Black Diamond ice ax are solid.
Solidity : By choosing an ice ax designed entirely with steel, the manufacturer offers a practical and robust tool at the same time.
The weight : If we can expect a heavy object for this kind of material, this accessory is light.
The price : This inexpensive item is sold with a market value entirely in line with its quality and performance.
The handle : The absence of rubber protection or other material on the handle makes the object more slippery than some similar items.
8. Climbing Technology Alpin Tour
Remember to direct your choice towards the most efficient model that will provide you with a robust and quality article. This is precisely what the following article proposes. To make the difference, this ice ax has a 60 cm handle and accessories that offer better safety during practice.
Equipped with a tempered steel head and aluminum assembly, it combines solidity and performance. There is also an adjustable strap attached to the blade and to your handle to reduce the risk of accidents related to slipping or poor grip.
The non-slip red handle is followed by a black-colored hardened steel tip with an opening that facilitates transport and storage. Built in Italy, this model meets the manufacturing and safety standards required for this type of tool. Its size also allows mixed use for men, women and teenagers.
Hand strap : This is one of the few models that incorporates this element while maintaining a more than reasonable price.
The handle : The length of this component is quite important for the different types of people who perform this type of sporting activity.
Holey spade tip : Both ingenious and useful, the presence of this cavity makes it easier to handle.
The strap : The latter is not as robust as the rest of the tool and it can let go if it is used by a heavy person.
If you are a mountaineer and like to climb high mountains of ice, you will need an ice axe. It is a versatile tool that will help you navigate steep snow slopes with good support. This accessory is available in several designs, which may complicate your choice in store. Our buying guide for the best ice axes therefore gives you the criteria to favor in order to find a quality model.
The standards met by the ice ax
Before embarking on the acquisition of such an accessory, you must ensure that the item you plan to take has EN 13 089 and UIAA 152 certifications. These are quality standards required in France which serve to guarantee the reliability of the ice axe. To avoid the risk of falling on models that will not last over time and that will be damaged quickly, these certifications must be checked on the products.
Thus, these can be classified into 2 categories: Technical type T ice axes equipped with resistant blades and handles and basic type B versions which are more fragile. For T-types, the blade should not break even when sustaining a moment of 60 Nm and holding 50,000 bending cycles of 20 N. As for their handle, it should be intact without breaking under a weight of 350 kg in bending. If the tool does not meet these conditions, it will not be able to obtain certification.
For the basic versions, they are type B if their handle withstands a bending of 250 kg in their center and if the moment supported by their cutting edge reaches 42 Nm. When they are stretched by a force of 250 kg, it will also be necessary that they remain linked. Therefore, in order to determine which ice ax to choose, bet on its quality.
The activity to be carried out
In a comparison, you will have a multitude of models before your eyes. You should not rush into your purchase, but take the time to analyze the activity you plan to carry out. For a glacier hike, it is best to opt for a version with a straight and long handle, because you will need good support to move forward in hard snow. However, avoid a model with unrounded blade teeth which could cause you injury.
In addition, for steep glacier climbing, the ideal is to bring 2 technical equipment with curved handles. You will need a pair in order to control your gestures and to dock or undock the tools. These models have interchangeable blades that are adapted to the discipline practiced.
Also, if you are a fan of technical mountaineering and are looking for where to buy a new ice ax to nail complex alpine curves on ice, an all-terrain model will suit you the most. It stands out from other varieties by its straight and ergonomic handle, its robustness and its versatility. Its wide claw and its sharpened teeth will allow you to have better support at the top of your course.
The advantage of this accessory is that it often has an insulating coating on the handle. It is obviously more expensive than the basic models, but a price comparison can help you find the cheapest on the market. However, you can turn to a lighter version with a straight handle and a simple design to cut the steps if you practice ski mountaineering.
The material and shape of the blade
How to choose the best ice axes of 2022? To answer this, you must also think about the quality of the blade of the article you are going to find. There are versions with an aluminum blade that are appreciated for their lightness. On the other hand, they are quite fragile and cannot be planted easily in hard snow. There are also versions with a steel blade. The latter is more resistant to wear and has good inertia. Despite the fact that these versions are heavy, they offer perfect anchoring.
You will also have to consider the shape of the blade, because it is a determining criterion that can help you know how to buy an ice ax with better value for money. A thin blade with beveled teeth is more suitable for mountaineers looking for easy unanchoring. In order to ensure your safety during your activity, it is preferable that the cutting edge of the ice ax is exclusively reserved for the tool. Thus, you will be sure to have an accessory that will not risk coming loose during its use.
frequently asked Questions
Q1: When to use an ice axe?
Since it is the ally of mountaineers to advance on an ice or snow slope, it will therefore be used during mountaineering activities such as ice climbing, ski mountaineering and technical mountaineering where you will have to perform tricks and complex curves. It is also called upon during a hike on an ice mountain in order to be anchored in the latter and act as support for the mountaineer.
Q2: Ice ax or hammer? Straight or curved?
To stop a fall and serve as a support, you must opt for a straight-handled ice axe. On the other hand, for practicing technical mountaineering, a model with a curved handle will be ideal so that your hands are not affected by the snow. In addition, ice climbing requires the use of an ice ax to cut the step. However, a hammer must be mounted in place of the purlin if you want to drive pitons.
Q3: How to hold an ice ax?
The performance of your ice ax and its proper alignment on your outstretched arm mainly depends on how you handle it. Thus, you must ensure that its tip is forward and far enough away from your body for safety. Your index finger should be lying on the tip, while your thumb is placed on the eyecup.
To lean on the tip, you must put the palm of your hand on this part. On the other hand, if you go down a slope, the breakdown must be located behind so that in the event of a fall, the impact is attenuated. You will avoid a slip thanks to the tip anchored in the hard snow.
Q4: How to use an ice axe?
The use of this material varies according to its type. Indeed, for an ice axe-cane, it must be held in such a way as to promote better support for the mountaineer. Its peak, however, is oriented backwards during a descent. There is also the pick-axe used during a diagonal descent or to cross a steep slope. You must hold it horizontally with both hands, anchoring its tip in the ice and pointing its peak forward. One hand extends the ice ax upwards while the other grips its handle by pressing on the tip.
In addition, you can plant your accessory at arm’s length using only one hand in order to raise yourself or with both hands by anchoring it near the hip in the hard snow to offer you support on very steep slopes. . It is also possible to use it as an ice ax-support or an ice-axe-ramp by inserting its peak at the level of the feet. This last function facilitates the undocking of the tool, because the hand slides freely along its handle.
Q5: What size ice ax should I choose?
The dimensions of the equipment must be based on your activity, your size and the slope to descend or climb. For good support on slopes of 0 to 40°, an ice ax of around 60 cm will be ideal. A longer model with an 80 cm handle is however suitable for glacier hiking.
Q6: How to attach the ice ax to the bag?
For a mountaineer, having a hiking bag is necessary. This bag must have side pockets and an ice ax holder in which the tool will be placed. If you are going for a stunt on snow, the bag must have 2 ice ax holders. To hold your accessory, point its head down and turn its tip up.
- 1 The Best ice Axes for ice climbing mountaineering (Reviews & Tests) of 2022
- 1.1 1. Petzl Nomic Ice Ax
- 1.2 2. Black Diamond Viper Ice Climbing Ice Ax
- 1.3 3. Petzl Quark Hammer Ice Axe Mountainer
- 1.4 4. Grivel 200 axes
- 1.5 5. Petzl Summit Evo Adult Ice Pick
- 1.6 6. Petzl Ride
- 1.7 7. Black Diamond Raven piolets
- 1.8 8. Climbing Technology Alpin Tour