For many climbers, hikers, and mountaineers, winter means taking a few months off from spending time on the cliffs or trails. However, those who are truly diehard outdoorsmen will have no problem hitting the trails in the harshest of weather, even when it’s impossible to walk without using extra equipment. One piece of equipment that is a must-have for those icy trails and routes up your favorite rock faces is a good ice axe. Here’s a look at some of the best you can get on the market right now.
Top Pick Overall
Petzl Summit Evo
The Evo ice axe from Petzl is just about the best all-around axe you’re going to get your hands on. It’s designed to be used for more technical routes, but it will work just fine on a slippery hike or trip across a glacier. The shaft is curved and made from lightweight aluminum. The head is made from stainless steel and it’s fairly heavy, which makes it a great choice for steeper terrain. It also performs great during self-arrests, thanks to its sharp pick and tip. The only real downside to the Summit Evo is the price tag, which will run you around $150.
Top Pick For General Mountaineering
The Camp Corsa is a great option for those who are just starting to venture out for some mountaineering or glacier traversing. It’s incredibly lightweight. At just 7 ounces, it weighs about half of what most other axes way (including the other two options on this list). It comes with a straight, aluminum shaft. The head is made from aluminum as opposed to stainless steel, accounting for the big reduction in weight. However, the low weight and big clearance angle don’t make it an ideal pick for steep terrain.
Best Budget Pick
Black Diamond Raven
The Raven from Black Diamond is the very definition of getting the most “bang for your buck.” It offers amazing performance at a low price—generally around $80. The straight shaft is made from light aluminum and the axe head is constructed from stainless steel. This particular axe performs incredibly when it comes to self-arrest and the variable length options make it a great pick for hikers and mountaineers of any experience and skill level.