Grivel Brenva

This ice axe weighs 574g for the 58cm version, making it lighter than many other axes yet it is also rated as technical, so it is strong enough to be used for rope belaying. It is also exceptionally well finished off, and so it feels wonderfully comfortable in the hand thanks to a little extra smoothing of the contours around the head and shaft. It comes with a leash, which is supplied with a pre-attached rubber spike protector. The shaft is also precurved a little, to make placement a little easier and more comfortable when ascending or descending slopes. The curve also makes the axe more comfy when stowed between the shoulder blades of the user while wearing a rucksack as regular winter mountaineers commonly do. The pick and the adze are well-designed for general ice axe braking and step-cutting. In fact the whole package is ideal for most winter walkers who want just that little extra performance.  But the high price tag is the main drawback here, as unless you need the extra strength of the shaft for roped belays you are not going to benefit from this axe and you would be better off buying the Grivel Munro for just £40. The leash is not quite as elaborate as the some leash either.

Verdict: Buy it if you need a top-quality axe for easier Alpine walking and mountaineering, and want to be able to use it for roped belays.

Classification: technical

Materials: 7075 alloy shaft; forced steel alloy head

Sizes: 58, 66, 74cm

Weight: 574g (size 58cm with leash)

Made in Italy

Stores in UK: England 60; Wales 4; Scotland 8; Ireland 0