Stubai Blue Star

This ice axe is a well-proven classic that has been voted Best Buy in past Trail reviews and has provided a popular, low-priced option for many years. The design is fairly standard with a straight shaft, a rubber grip, leash and head. On closer inspection the details stack up very well too. Firstly this is rated as technical axe, making it strong enough to be used for roped belays. The leash is adjustable at the wrist loop too, while the head has a very wide adze for hacking out snow. The pick is not as aggressive as some, which is just what you want if you only need the axe for ice axe braking (arrest). You also get a rubber protector for the spike. This is a well-balanced axe that is ideal for winter walking and even the odd snow gully. All that for just £52 is a bargain. But the head is not as aggressive or as well-finished as some others, so although this axe is strong enough for belaying you wouldn’t want to tackle anything with ice pitches. The axe is also heavier than most others here and not quite as comfortable to hold in the hand.

Verdict: Buy it if you want a low-priced axe with a strong shaft that can be used for belays as you won’t find anything better for the price.

Classification: technical

Materials: alloy shaft, forged steel head

Sizes: 55, 60, 65, 70, 77cm

Weight: 684g (size 60cm with leash)

Made in Austria

Stores in UK: England 20; Wales 2; Scotland 4; Ireland 0