Been wanting to conquer mountains lately? Been desiring to show the world a list of high, steep, or dangerous mountains you climbed up of? Been craving to fill your heart’s desire to explore and conquer dangerous terrains and snowy glaciers? Well, look no further as this article is a list of the best ice axes for every preference and budget. 

Ice axes are used by mountaineers to climb and hike snowy and/or icy terrains and slopes. This mountaineering tool is a hiker’s best friend, so it has to be reliable, durable, and high performing. It sounds easy enough to look for a good ice axe. 

However, they come at different lengths, weights, functions, qualities, and prices. So, there is no universal ice axe that everyone and anyone can use as each person has their own conditions, preferences, and mountaineering circumstances. The search for the perfect ice axe for you depends on several factors. Keep them in mind as you go on to the best ice axes (based on our review).

The Best Ice Axes / Picks

Best Budget Ice PickBlack Diamond Raven Ice Axe

Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe Review

Product Name: Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

Product Description: The classically designed Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe has a stainless-steel flat head, an aluminum and sturdy shaft, and a reassuringly large adze.

Offer price: 57.80

Summary

This budget-friendly ice axe is definitely fit for you if you need an affordable axe that has it all instead of buying an unnecessarily pricey one with the same use. Its pros overwhelm the minimal cons because of its effectiveness. A definite must-have for any mountaineer.

  • Durability
  • Value
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Weight
Overall
4.2

Pros

  •  
  • Easy to use and handle.
  •  
  •  
  • Affordable but still high quality.
  • Warranty of 1 year.

Cons

  • Not advisable to use on extremely steep mountains and ice.
  • Not advisable to use in long high-grade climbing or mountaineering.
  • A bit difficult to remove from the belay.
  • Aluminum shaft gets a bit cold in low temperatures.
  • Aluminum shaft occasionally gets slippery at times.

I know you are expecting something that is dirt cheap to be under the most “Budget-Friendly Ice Axe”. However, there definitely are cheaper ice axes than this item, but for a good reason. 

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is listed as the most budget-friendly ice axe that is not only affordable but also reliable and durable. It comes in different lengths (55 cm, 60 cm, 65 cm, 70 cm, 75 cm, 80 cm, and 90 cm) to support all types of mountaineers and their mountaineering circumstances and difficulties. 

Of course, as length increases, so does the price. There is no one-size-fits-all length that I can advise and prefer you to buy because the length of the axe really depends on our preferences and mountaineering circumstance. Ideally, the length of an ice axe is dependent on your height. The taller you are, the longer your axe should be for utmost comfort and handling.

Its steel and aluminum combination makes it a light 16 oz. Hence, it is light to bring around, easy to yield, and efficient to use. To increase its features, it has a stainless-steel flat-top head, an hourglass figure that connects the head and shaft, and a light aluminum shaft. 

In conclusion, what we have here is a lightweight, reliable, and sturdy ice axe. Although it only comes in gray, its aesthetic does not matter since it took on a “less is more” theme. 

The item received a whopping 4.5 stars and almost all its feedback was centered on the ice axe’s efficiency, effectiveness, lightness, and durability. That is when you know that this budget-friendly axe does not translate into a cheap and shabby product. Ice axes need to be uber reliable to sustain your thrilling adventure to guarantee your safety. And reliability never comes at a cheap price. 

You can buy yours at 32% discount for as low as $57.80 on Backcountry. So, not only is it affordable, it is discounted. What more can you ask for? Purchase yours today at https://www.backcountry.com/black-diamond-raven-ice-axe-bld0294

Key Features

  • Classic and simple design in order to accommodate any mountaineering situation. 
  • Stainless-steel head has a flat top and hourglass shape between it and shaft in order to provide a more comfortable yet efficient hand rest and a very secure self-arrest. 
  • Large adze to make chopping a belay ledge quicker and easier to anchor onto. 
  • Fairly unbreakable aluminum shaft. 
  • Lengthy warranty of one year which proves its confidence to serve as a quality and durable product. 

Read our full review of the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe.

Best OverallGrivel G1 Ice Axe

Grivel G1 Ice Axe Review

Product Name: Grivel G1 Ice Axe

Product Description: The Grivel G1 Ice Axe has a durable carbon steel head, a lightweight aluminum shaft, and a design meant to fit and support your grip on the ice axe.

Offer price: 79.95

Summary

The Grivel G1 Ice Axe is that type of ice axe that is worth the money. Its all-around features make sure that you have the most reliable, durable, and efficient sidekick in your adventures across the unforgiving glaciers and steep terrains.

  • Durability
  • Value
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Weight
Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Strong
  • Durable
  • Not too heavy.
  • Can resist up to 280 kilograms.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Supports self-arrests and glissade parties.

Cons

  • The head is heavier than the rest of the ice axe.
  • A bit difficult to use due to the uneven weight distribution.

Although the previous ice axe seems to have it all, you have not seen it all yet. The Grivel G1 Ice Axe is your best and most qualified sidekick when climbing those steep, icy hills and enormous mountains. You could imagine that the deemed “Best Overall Ice Axe” would be strong and efficacious — which it is — but that is not all. 

Its traditional design is meant to fit into your grip like a glove. This ergonomic fit makes sure that your grip never loosens and supports you as you conquer that uphill slope of glacier terrain. While its carbon steel head is made sure to be sturdy and tight for different weathers, temperatures, seasons, and years to come. It’s so durable that the manufacturer guarantees a lifetime warranty to show their confidence in the longevity of this ice axe.

To counter the hefty weight of the top part, an aluminum shaft was placed to make it into a 16 oz weight. But this varies depending on the length that you would prefer. The length options available include 58cm, 66cm, and 74cm. 

As if all these features are not enough, they also come in the color’s neon green, yellow, and pink — different colors that fit different aesthetics and preferences. To explain and justify its neon color, well, who would not want to immediately spot their ice axe in the middle of some heavy snow? All the color variations are guaranteed to make you and your reliable ice axe stand out.

If you are ready to purchase this $79.95 ice axe worth its value, buy yours at https://www.backcountry.com/grivel-g1-ice-axe. For some tangible evidence of the Grivel G1 Ice Axe to give you that extra reassurance, it proudly has a 4.5-star rating. So, grab your best-valued ice axe today. 

Key Features

  • Durable, hot-forged, and carbon steel head that is highly durable and can last a lifetime. 
  • Traditional design with an ergonomic fit that provides you an easy grip and handle. 
  • Aluminum shaft that gives it that bearable weight as you explore or transcend over steep terrain. 
  • Hammer is also a shovel. 

Read our full review of the Grivel G1 Ice Axe.

Premium PickPetzl Sum’Tec Mountaineering Ice Axe

Petzl Sum'Tec Mountaineering Axe Review

Product Name: Petzl Sum'Tec

Product Description: The Petzl Sum'Tec Mountaineering Ice Axe has a modular ice axe, a tapered ice pick, a curved shaft with adjustable TrigRest handrest, and an interchangeable head that can be turned into an adze, a hammer, or multiple types of ice picks.

Offer price: 199

Summary

This product has the best of both worlds (i.e., function and performance) because it integrated both quantity and quality into a simplistic ice axe. Hence, it will not disappoint you whenever you use it in any and all mountaineering circumstances.

  • Durability
  • Value
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Weight
Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Under a pound in weight.
  • Multifunctional
  • Customizable and good grip.
  • Customizable head for different uses.
  • All-in-1 ice axe for all-around use

Cons

  • A bit pricey.

It is true that whenever you hear the word premium, it usually means that the price is over the standard. However, that also means the quality and features exceed the usual, too. 

The Petzl Sum’Tec Mountaineering Ice Axe certifies you to go on even more adventurous and daring climbs and mountaineering. On one of the ends of this axe is a modular axe for anchoring onto belay ledges, while the other end is a tapered ice pick that easily cuts into solid ice. Although, this premium design can be replaced with a hammer, adze, or even different types of picks. 

Hence, you do not need to buy and carry around numerous axes, hammers, adzes, and ice picks as the Petzl Sum’Tec Mountaineering Ice Axe has the whole package. It has a curved shaft with an adjustable TrigRest handrest that provides a good grip. 

The shaft is actually made of aluminum to bring down the ice axe’s weight down to a tolerable 1lbs. As for its durability, the manufacturer provides a three-year warranty. That alone speaks volumes of its quality. 

At first glance, this ice axe marvel may not look like much, but upon closer inspection, this ice axe can efficiently guide and support you with your adventures on dangerous yet exhilarating uphill terrain. 

This premium item costs $199 at https://www.backcountry.com/petzl-sumtec-mountaineering-axe. A price worth every penny with its many uses and features. Well, it is premium for a reason, you know. 

Key Features

  • Modular ice axe for mountaineering. 
  • Tapered ice pick that easily penetrates all types of ice. 
  • Curved shaft with adjustable nylon TrigRest handrest. 
  • Interchangeable head into adze, hammer, or different ice picks.
  • 3-year warranty. 

Read our full review of the Petzl Sum’Tec Mountaineering Axe.

Best Axe for Self-ArrestPetzl Summit Evo Ice Axe

Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe Review

Product Name: Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe

Product Description: The Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe has a steel head, spike and adze at the top, an anodized aluminum shaft, and clipping-holes at both ends.

Offer price: 179.95

Summary

What more could you ask for? Your mountaineering experience will be awesome, and your life will be safe in the presence and proper use of the Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe. This is the best deal you will get.

  • Durability
  • Value
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Weight
Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Can be used for extreme terrains.
  • Multipurpose
  • Very reliable in possibly saving your life.
  • Durable
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Has no leashes included. It is sold separately.

Another Petzl product topping the charts with the trait of being the best self-arrest ice axe. Ice axes do help mountaineers in their journey, but there is a specific axe that helps save them. The Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe is mans’ trusted friend. 

What makes them so reliable is its anodized aluminum shaft that is straight at the base but has a slight curve at the top which makes it effectively plunge into the snow or ice. That’s not all. It even has a steel adze and hot-forged steel head and pick that is so durable that the axe has a three-year warranty. There even is a stainless-steel pick or spike at the bottom of the axe that helps penetrate harder and solid ice. 

Unlike conventional ice axes whose teeth are found only at the bottom part of the head, the Petzl Summit takes it up a notch, having teeth on both top and bottom for better anchoring on icy slopes. With this one, you can rest assured that you are supported and safe during self-arrest. 

The curved shaft makes gripping and plunging the snow almost effortless. Its shape enables you to hold on to the ice axe without getting snow on your hand, so you’re more comfortable, at ease, and secure. 

What’s more is that the handle has a textured rubber layer that reduces the strain on your palms and reduces the chances of hand fatigue — so you can hold on for longer and experience more comfort even after a long, tiring day of adventure. 

Now, depending on your preference and situation, you can buy the ice axe in the lengths 52 cm, 59 cm, and 66 cm. So, not only will you be able to climb and explore that dangerous mountain or glacier, but you can also be reassured that with the Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe and the proper knowledge and skills of self-arrest, you will have a safely thrilling adventure. 

The price of $179.95 is nothing compared to your life. So, purchase your own Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe at https://www.backcountry.com/petzl-summit-evo-ice-axe for an exciting but safe conquest.

Key Features

  • Light and durable anodized aluminum shaft. 
  • Durable and sturdy steel head, spike, and adze. 
  • Clipping-holes in both the head and spike.
  • Top and bottom teeth for more solid anchoring

Read our full review of the Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe.

Editor’s ChoiceGrivel G Zero Ice Axe

Grivel G Zero Ice Axe Review

Product Name: Grivel G Zero Ice Axe

Product Description: The stylish, affordable, light and durable Grivel G Zero Ice Axe has a one-piece carbon steel head, a carbon steel shaft, an insulating blade cover, a leash, and a lifetime warranty.

Offer price: 79.95

Summary

I think the features, durability, and affordability alone can justify why the Grivel G Zero Ice Axe is the “Editor’s Choice” — it efficiently does the job at a low and affordable price.

  • Durability
  • Value
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Weight
Overall
4.3

Pros

  • Easy to use and handle.
  • Performs well compared to its weight.
  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • Durable 
  • Comes with an insulating blade cover.
  • Comes with a leash.
  • Lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Does not have an ice pick or spike at the bottom end of the axe.

The best mountaineering axe for me has got to be the Grivel G Zero Ice Axe. Not only does it look amazing, but it is also affordable, multifunctional, and comfortable to use. It comes in a neutral black design with yellow accents, making it look industrial yet aesthetically pleasing. 

This carbon steel ice axe comes in lengths of 58 cm, 66 cm, and 74 cm. But its main feature is its one-piece carbon steel head. Don’t be fooled by its lightness as it can penetrate right into solid ice easier than you think. It even is easy and comfortable to hold, carry, and use even after a whole day of steep and unsafe terrain. It even has an insulating blade cover to avoid injuries and to be protected from the cold metal. 

It may seem like a long list of features that cannot possibly be added to, but it gets better. The Grivel G Zero Ice Axe’s durability and quality can be defined by its lifetime warranty. You don’t have to worry about making this big investment, as you’re sure to enjoy lifelong use of this durable, high-performance ice axe. 

All these features are bundled up only to cost a measly $79.95. It’s my favorite ice axe because it has all the features and uses of the best ice axes we just reviewed, but only with a low price tag. Shop for it now at https://www.backcountry.com/grivel-g-zero-ice-axe

Key Features

  • One-piece carbon steel head. 
  • Carbon steel shaft. 
  • Insulating blade cover. 
  • Included leash.
  • Weighs 1lbs. 

Read our full review of the Grivel GZERO Ice Axe.

Climbing Axe Buying Guide

Durability of the ice axe in general

Durability is essential, as you would not want to buy a cheap ice axe every other month or to encounter your ice axe shattering during a climb. 

Durability often refers to the quality of the ice axe and all its accessories. The better the materials used and processes gone through to create the ice axe, the longer the ice axe will last and support your adventures and conquests on icy terrains and steep slopes. 

Hence, you need to remember that spending a few more bucks to get a quality ice axe is better than wasting more money on easily breakable ice axes that might cost your experience, or worse, your safety and your life. 

Functionality depending on the number of features

Functionality in an ice axe may be difficult to measure as all ice axes are sure to do what they claim they can do for you. However, true functionality remains within the features of the ice axe. 

Each feature of an ice axe can help you be more equipped and ready to take on that terrain. The more features it has, the more likely it can be more efficient in helping you in more mountaineering situations and mountain circumstances. 

Thus, the number of premium and well-needed features that an ice axe has will help you determine the degree of functionality the ice axe will provide you with. 

Reliability of its functionality

We have discussed that the functionality of an ice axe relies on the number of its features. However, the durability (or quality) of these features should also be considered. It is crucial that all the features that an ice axe claims it has can actually effectively execute the purpose of each feature. 

It might say that it has the lightest aluminum shaft in the business to make the ice axe extremely easy to carry and use. But its downside might be that it can get easily bent after a long time of usage or it won’t be able to support your weight properly while ascending steep routes. Therefore, an ice axe is reliable if it actually does what it claims to do with no hidden downsides. 

Has a long warranty

This criterion is quite self-explanatory. The longer the warranty the manufacturer guarantees, the more confidence it gives customers that their ice axe is durable, functional, and reliable. Any type of warranty is good, but those ice axes with lifetime warranties is supposed to be what you are after. 

Features to look for in a quality ice axe 

Steel head

Steel axes, picks, and spikes ensure the mountaineer a sturdy, efficient and reliable use in climbing and self-arresting. Having a strong ice axe with a reliable steel head will make ascending and descending the mountains easier and keep you safe during self-arrest or other mountaineering activities. 

Light and durable aluminum shaft

The aluminum shaft sort of balances and makes up for the heaviness of the top head of the ice axe. If a steel shaft was used, it is more likely that the mountaineer will have difficulties and be uncomfortable handling the ice axe, hence, ending his journey. 

Curved shaft for easier self-arrest

The curve on the shaft lessens the time required to swing or penetrate the ice axe into the snow or ice. It also improves your grip and makes swinging and plunging effortless. What mountaineers appreciate the most about curved shafts is the fact that their hands do not touch the snow or ice during self-arrest. 

Hence, they have a more solid grip and their hands are kept as comfortable as possible, enabling them to safely and securely hold on to the ice axe. This curved shaft feature ensures a safer climbing experience while keeping a mountaineer comfortable and safe. 

FAQ

1. What is the best axe for self-arrest?

The best axe for self-arrest are the ones with a curved shaft and a strong and durable top head. An example of this is the fourth item on the list — the Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe. 

This feature helps you get a faster grab and hook in the snow or ice. This way, you would not need to put in too much effort and pressure. Although an ice axe with a straight shaft can also be effectively used to do a self-arrest, the curved shaft increases the chances of stopping our fall downhill. 

2. How do you self-arrest with an ice pick?

Falling or slipping down an icy and steep terrain can be scary and fatal. However, by properly doing a self-arrest with your trusty ice pick, you can change all of that. 

You first need to know that you should practice this on a short slope. After all, practice does make perfect. Next, you need to keep in mind that you must quickly but properly self-arrest as soon as possible because the longer you are falling, the more speed you fall and the harder it is to do a self-arrest. 

Here are the 4 main steps on how to do a self-arrest with an ice pick:

1. Hold the axe so the pick is pointed forward just above the shoulder of your uphill hand. The shaft should then be positioned in a diagonal manner across your body. Your hand should be holding the bottom of the shaft and positioned near your hip.

2. Drive the pick of the axe into the snow and pull up on the shaft (keep it out of the snow).

3. Get your body off the snow. Kick yourself against the slope to help stop your fall and reduce the speed of your decline.

4. Look down at your shaft with your face in the snow.

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