Nov 5, 2010 at 2:09 pm #1265176
Afer climbing Shasta this summer I'm interested in doing some mountaineering this winter in the local socal mountains with some more experienced friends. I'm heading to REI to get fitted/find out what size ice axe I need and I was hoping you could direct me to resources or explain how to properly figure out what size ax I need. I've had mixed results with REI employees and their knowledge base, and want to make sure I get the right size.
I went with a guide service on Shasta and they just handed me an ax, so I'm not sure what size I used. Axe recommendations would be great too. Right now I'm leaning towards a BD Raven Pro which I found for $70.Nov 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm #1661520
is it more for glacier/scrambling or mountain use?
how steep of a gradient will you be climbing with it?
how tall are you?
for a general guide …
Your Height Axe Length
<5'8" (<1.72m) 50-60cm
5'8"-6'0" (1.72-1.8m) 60-70cm
>6'0" (>1.8m) 60-70cmNov 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm #1661524
For a general purpose ice axe, you hold the axe head in your right hand and let the shaft extend to the floor. It should just barely touch the floor to be the correct length.
For a vertical ice climb (which I doubt) you want a North Wall Hammer, which is considerably shorter.
–B.G.–Nov 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm #1661530
More for mountain use. MR on Whitney, and summiting during winter on Baldy, San Jacinto, Gorgornio, etc. I'm 5'5". Bob, I'm assuming that if I'm left handed, same procedure, just holding the ax with the other hand?Nov 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm #1661532
Jeff, you may be left handed, but we can get you surgically altered!
If you measure the entire length of the ice axe (not just the length of the shaft), the very longest that you would want is about 75cm. However, I think the more likely length would be 70cm. I believe that 65cm would be too short. I'm a little taller, so I extrapolated that from my own ice axes, which are WOOD-SHAFTED! That demonstrates how "old-school" I am.
Grab a yard stick and see if that 70cm makes sense with your body.
–B.G.–Nov 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm #1661538
60-65 cm max in my opinion for general mountain use … hold it from the head and it should just touch yr ankle
for a glacier walking you could go a bit longer
im 5'7 and the max ill go is 65cm
i recently bought one of these so i can use it for both the mountain and glacier walking … goes from 65cm to god knows how long … lol
for the best ice axe comparison yet go hereNov 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm #1661542
As you can see, the length is kind of a personal decision based on how you think you will use it. For general purpose use, like what you did on Shasta, you are using it more like a walking stick while you are going upward. Then on the descent, you might be doing some self-arrests. Only then does the length need to be correct. On the other hand, some people don't seem to mind if their axe is 5cm too short or too long. One really tall guy I know uses a short axe (because it is lighter in weight) but he never uses it for general purpose walking.
–B.G.–Nov 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm #1661553
I'll second the comment that it's a personal preference. I'm 6'1" and throughout my mountaineering years in New Zealand I used a stout 50cm ax. I never felt it was too short, and you're never needing to use it on flat ground anyway, I could beat it into submission as an anchor, and on steeper stuff it was a perfect length for me. I still have it. Later on I got matching 50cm BD carbon fiber ice tools which had curved handles but weren't so versatile. So get what you're comfortable with and don't be afraid to try something shorter to see if you like it.Nov 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm #1661719
Well I went into REI and I'm waffling between a 65 or 70 cm axe. I have short arms so it will be a little longer than it prob. normally would be for someone else. The 65 cm length felt more comfortable in my hands, but the 70 cm would probably be better for walking.
Can anyone comment on the differences between the BD raven and raven pro besides the weight? I can get them for about the same price due to a certain retailer's advertising mistake. I liked the lightness of the raven pro, but the pick and adze on the raven seemed more substantial in size. I don't know if there really is any difference in performance though.Nov 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm #1661720
the purpose of an axe will be to self arrest or self belay … all other considerations are secondary
practices with each axe to see which is faster and easier to get into an arrest position
get that one …
remember that length isnt as big a deal when yr climbing up steeper terrain due to the angle
this will tell you the pros and cons of each axe by someone whos actually used them extensively and been climbing for decades … better than what any of us part time alpine bums can say ,,,Nov 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm #1661787Nov 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm #1661795
the all aluminum corsa is a very specialized axe meant for moderate stuff, aluminum is not the most durable material for a pick
id suggest the camp corsa nanotech with steel inserts at 250g … at the very least for a light axe
or better yet the raven ultra … which is all steel head at 337gNov 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm #1661800Nov 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm #1661803
what will you be using it for rick? … what routes?Nov 7, 2010 at 3:25 am #1661828Nov 7, 2010 at 10:03 am #1661875
she probably has short arms like me! I'm only 5'5" but measured between 65-70 cmNov 7, 2010 at 11:04 am #1661893
the hold in hands till it hits the floor is generally the max length …
my rule is
– hold in hand and it should come to the ankle …. max
– hold in self arrest poistion diagonally across the body and spike come to hip … max
rick … id be fine with a corsa nanotech for myself for the use u mentioned
here's an analysis of the petzl snowscopic (axe/pole hybrid) vs other axes + pole that i did before i bought it
as you can see for moderate terrain the snowscopic + single pole is basically the same weight as camp corsa nano + double pole
the advantage is that ill always have the snowscopic in my hand for arrest
the disadvantage is that ill look like a psycho killer hiking with it on the trail … lolNov 7, 2010 at 11:28 am #1661895
"I'm only 5'5" but measured between 65-70 cm"
That's good enough. Your legs reach all the way down to the ground, don't they?
–B.G.–Nov 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm #1661946Nov 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm #1661976
the question is how often will you be using the axe? … like i said for your intended purpose id be fine with the nanotech … chance are most of the time itll be on the pack anyways
any axe should be fine for your usage …Nov 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm #1664279Nov 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm #1664324
@dirtbagclimberLocale: Pacific Northwest
Those are very nice axes made by Seattle Manufacturing Corporation at there factory in Bellingham, WA. They handle well and are fairly light for the price. I'm sure you will like it.Nov 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm #1664908
@mtn_nutLocale: Morrison, CO
I’m not sure if it will bother you, but my yeti started rusting after only one short trip. its coated steel, so as soon as you use it, you will chip off the coat. i ended up returning it and decided i would go with something that has better corrosion resistance. I was going to get a Raven Ultra, but got a nanotech instead (10.8 oz for a 70cm)
i don't think the surface rust will actually degrade the yeti by much, just something to think about.Nov 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm #1665000Nov 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm #1665033
i just coat the heads and spike with the same wax based lube i use for my cams
you could also use wd40 … just make sure it doesnt get on any of the slings
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