Petzl Charlet Snowalker 2009

The Petzl Charlet Snowalker is a beautifully made axe and, as the name suggests, it is ideal for the walker heading to the snow, and therefore great for most British hill-walkers. The shaft is a straight design and the head offers a gentle curve to make it perfect for using as a walking stick in the snow. The balance is fairly light to the head, which makes step-cutting and swinging into ice slightly harder. The head has a reasonably wide adze for chopping steps and a good pick for ice axe braking. The weight is reasonable too and lighter than some axes here of similar design. While it has no rubber grip, its shaft has a rough surface that aids grip. The price makes this an exceptionally good-value axe for those who just need basic features for tackling more gentle winter terrain. But the Petzl Charlet Snowalker has no leash is supplied and the head is not as aggressive as others. Some axes have a pre-curved shaft for easier placement in snow slopes, while others are rated as technical so that they can be used for roped belays.

Classification basic
Materials 7075 alloy shaft, steel head
Sizes 60, 68, 75cm
Weight 426g (size 60cm without leash)
Made in France
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details tel. (015396) 25493, www.lyon.co.uk
Verdict
The Petzl Charlet Snowalker is a well-made ice axe that’s ideal for general winter hill-walking in the UK, glacier travel and high-altitude trekking. Trail rated is as ‘Best value’ in its test.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009