No one can stop a determined mountaineer. Amidst the descents and ascents of routes while conquering slopes under freezing conditions, the adventure can reach its peak and challenge the climbers even more. With the right equipment and tools and using the best ice axe available in the market, climbing and belaying will be just like breathing.

Whether you need to self arrest, or just need some stability while climbing a steep face, investing in the best ice pick for your next trip can do wonders when it comes to your convenience and safety.  

One must choose an ice ax that meets manufacturing and design standards. The best self arrest ice axe can be a good tool for survival as it can guarantee strong support, specifically during vertical ice climbing. Modern ice axes today are built with curved shafts dedicated to withstand steep journeys on the mountains. 

But while most mountaineers focus on the sturdy features of an ice axe — which is essential in any climbing discussion — some people forget about other important features, like bright colors and the ability to use it for self-arrest. The best ice picks should make any mountaineer feel like they are conquering the cold heights with a reliable friend. 

The Raven Ice Axe offers a new experience in mountaineering with design features prioritizing both safety and comfort to all users. The grips can affect your hiking performance, especially if you are not confident with the ice pick for self-arrest that you are using. The Raven Ice Axe aims to solve the woes of mountaineers who mostly encounter issues such as gripping transitions and chopping belay ledges. 

Although no journey is easy, the Raven Ice Axe is an excellent candidate for the best mountaineering axe that can transform the climbing experience and make it a little more bearable. Here is a thorough review of Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe, supporting the claim of its well-commended reputation. 

Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe Review

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.

Design 

Minimalist and simply classic, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe stands out with its ergonomic stainless steel head with an hourglass shape that connects to the shaft and a flat top. The Raven Ice Axe is not the fanciest-looking pick you will find, but it is structured to offer a sense of ease and comfort with its easy-to-grip pick shape. 

The secure grip of the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe has a large adze to reduce the work of chopping a belay ledge. Its flat top serves as a comfortable hand rest while overcoming steep paths to most mountaineering situations. 

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe’s shape plays a huge role in supporting mountaineers in various vertical climbing positions. Maneuverable and hassle-free, the ice axe design formation allows the climbers to quickly transition to self-arrest as the need arises. The stainless steel ice axe appears reliable and dependable because of how all the parts are assembled and connected into a singular shaft. 

The pick of the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe was intended to be a teeth-like curve producing rough lines to securely bite into a frozen ground or icy hills. Overall, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is specifically designed to provide a smooth mountaineering experience with its shape and hand rest features. 

Build quality

One consideration that every climber must bear in mind is the build quality of an ice axe. The best self-arrest ice axe must be composed of solid and durable materials. Fortunately, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe manufacturers agree, so they built the item with high-quality steel and aluminum. 

With a shaft that is intricately formulated using a 7075 aluminum and a pick head built from a 17-4 investment cast stainless steel, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe guarantees total resilience and robustness. Given the different characteristics and conditions of mountaineering locations, the Raven Ice Axe frees a mountaineer of the worries and cold feet tendencies just before the quest begins.

One might expect the shaft to be heavy and a hassle to carry since it is made of 7075 aluminum. However, on the contrary, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe shaft is a lightweight item meant to be manageable without sacrificing the standard strength required from the tool. 

The 17-4 investment cast stainless steel head with spike has its own perks to offer. Sturdy and made with functional considerations in mind, the head of the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is suitable for chopping, glissading, and self-arresting steps in any mountaineering environment.

Performance 

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is an ice mountaineering tool that has increased versatility and security. From the flat top head down to the shaft, the aircraft-grade materials provide classic functionality and durability in traversing a jagged rift field or climbing a snowy mountain pathway. 

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe has a dual-density secure grip that improves the holding power for short steep sections and icy steps — instances where using the best ice picks are most essential. 

Height also matters in choosing the best pick. Mountaineering has a firm rule of thumb that can help climbers choose the ice axe they should use. If one is standing and holding an axe hanging by the side, the spike of the shaft should hardly reach the ground. 

A long ice axe will make self arrest quite difficult to pull off. A trekking axe should prevent you from slipping off the mountain hills and not the other way around. Hence, it is highly recommended to hold the axe during purchase and see if it fits. The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe keeps its gear height and weight on a standard level to match multiple users.  The ice axe has available sizes of 60cm, 65 cm, 70 cm, and 75 cm. 

In ascending or descending ice-covered slopes, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is a reliable companion in facing the challenges of slogging through the snow and crossing glaciers. Because of its ergonomically shaped and spiked head, the ice axe holds well to the icy ground and secures safe plunging. Plus, the aluminum shaft is designed to be in a trapezoidal cross-section dedicated for a restful grip. 

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is efficient in chopping and securing placements while gliding or climbing a mountain.

Benefits  

Comfortable

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe offers a comfortable hand rest through its flat top stainless steel head that mountaineers can hold to get a good grip on its top while plunging or slipping down a hill. 

Unlike other ice axes, the Raven pick provides utmost ease no matter how tough the trekking can get. The hourglass shape that connects the head and shaft adds support to the axe and assures a firm hold while force is exerted during the climb.


Durable

The best mountaineering axe is judged from its main compositions. The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is made durable through a careful selection of materials. Using 17-4 investment cast stainless steel and 7075 aluminum, the Raven ice axe is at its best at being resilient to any mountaineering situation or weather conditions. The durability of an ice axe greatly contributes to its functionalities.


Lightweight 

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is a lightweight trekking tool regardless of its aluminum composition. Most ice picks are too heavy and can slow down climbers. The Raven Ice Axe only has a claimed weight of 60 cm. or 16oz. A lightweight axe boosts climbing performance and helps mountaineers transition or move quickly. 

Efficient

The spike and adze greatly contribute to the overall efficiency of the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe. Chopping ledges and securing placements are of excellent performance because of the ice axe shape and structure features. 


Manageable 

The dual-density secure grip allows mountaineers to enjoy a comfortable hand rest that they can hold onto while traversing the mountain. Lightweight and easy to use, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is a hassle-free ice tool to bring on steep adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the different types of ice axes?

Walking ice axes and mountaineering ice axes are the two main types. The function of a walking axe is to provide consistent stability and avoid trips and slips when walking on icy ground. Such instances require ice axes with long shafts. However, when a walking axe is used for self-arrest, the shorter shaft is highly recommended. 

Mountaineering axes promote easy climbing. The pick is made durable and sturdy, hence it is meant to withstand the rigors of heavy trekking, whether on ice or green mountains. But while it is designed to encounter tough climbs, a block of mountaineering ice is a lot trickier to handle compared to a walking axe when doing self-arrest. Mountaineering axes should have an updated gripping accessory and a leash. 

What is a self-arrest grip? 

A self-arrest grip happens when you hold the head of the axe with an uphill hand. Position your thumb under the adze while your fingers and palm are at the space around the pick. Every time you feel like you are about to slip, you have to grab the lower part of the shaft using your other hand. 

Start raising the adze above your shoulder. Throw your weight over the pick to plunge the said part of the axe into the snow. Self-arrest is one of the most important skills in mountaineering as it secures your safety and improves your balance to help you successfully climb the mountain. 

Do I have to check my ice axe before going on a hike? 

Keep your tools well-maintained, especially your ice axe. Check them before mountaineering. As this kind of activity is usually exposed to cool weather or winter season, it can affect the condition of your tools. For ice axes, it is always advisable to bring a spare pick since the head of the axe is prone to possible damage. 

Fatigue cracks can start to form in an ice pick even after the winter season. The shaft can also have impact damage, particularly on the top part of the tool. It will be dangerous to climb without checking your ice axe as they can break midway and cause an accident. 

Are there any standards for an ice axe?

Ice axes can be classified as basic or technical tools. Basic ice axes only have minimum pick and shaft strength requirements. This standard is applicable for mountaineering activities such as ski mountaineering, winter walking, or glacier travel — all of which are where a reduced tool weight is required. The pick and shaft of the basic ice axe are usually lightweight and more manageable. 

Technical tools are ice axes that have higher pick and shaft strength requirements. Such strength is needed to accomplish mixed climbing, technical ice, and other mountaineering environments where the tools are essentials for belaying. Balance and weight count are vital factors in deciding which tools should you use in a particular activity. 

Do I need to use a leash?

You may or may not use a leash for your ice axe. Some people prefer to attach the axe to themselves to avoid losing the axe in case they slip. If you drop your axe in the middle of a climb, it will be a little risky for you to continue. The terrain can get tougher and steeper and climbing the hurdles along the way is almost impossible without a safety tool like an ice axe.

On the other hand, if you want to use a leash, it is advisable to tie your axe around your wrist. Avoid attaching the axe near your harness as it can cause you injury when you fall. You will have to stop and direct the leash to the other wrist every time you attempt to turn around. 

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.

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