Winter’s here soon, and if it’s anything like the last two then you’ll be needing one of these. There are many different shapes and sizes when it comes to ice axes. It’s quite bewildering when you first set out to buy one. Invariably, unless you’ve more money than sense you’ll end up buying the cheapest one that looks like it’ll do the job. Who knows if you’ll even see any snow this winter, spending more than you need to would be unnecessary on an item you probably won’t need. Now unless there’s a sale on, look into your shopping bag and more likely than not you’ve got yourself a Grivel Munro. Nothing wrong with that.
Once you get on the hill, you notice that every other person will be carrying a Grivel Munro and the other 50% are probably not carrying any winter gear (or a much higher percentage on Yr Wyddfa!). Ultimately, it’s a decent ice axe designed with the walker in mind and being attractively priced has become a popular choice. That’s not surprising considering that you may need to shell out well over £200 for boots and crampons, you’ll definately look to cut costs somewhere.
The main problem is that everyone has one and you’ll need to identify your axe once they’ve all been speared into the snow at lunch. The observant amongst you will note that the strap may be of a different colour on some axes, but you’ll surely need to put a bit of tape around your axe to start with. After a few years though, you’ll start to appreciate the scrapes and scratches you’ve managed to produce over the years. You’ll look at your well worn axe, paint scraped through to bare metal in places. Then back at someone’s new axe, complete with red gaffer tape for identification and remember that you were once that green.
What’s good: Tried and tested entry level ice axe.
Not so good: Everyone’s got one so you’ll need to be able to identify yours!