The Stubai Hornet is an excellent entry-level technical climbing ice axe, although to use it properly you need a matching hammer. This is exceptionally affordable for the type of axe, as most climbing axes boast a far higher price tag. For the small outlay you get a 46cm axe with a pre-curved shaft to allow placement clearance on steep ice-climbing. There is also an adjustable loop with padding supplied to provide wrist support while climbing. The head is a one-piece design with pick and adze, with good hand clearances for daggering, aggressive teeth for steep ice and hooking rock, and a bevelled pick for clean ice penetration. The tool is rated as technical, so it can be used for belaying when required. A rubber grip adds further comfort and enhanced grip. If you are just starting out in climbing this is a low-priced entry to the activity. But at 624g the Stubai Hornet is quite a heavy tool to wield above your head. It is not designed for walking and so its lack of length is to be expected, but this means it is really only for climbing. Other higher-priced equivalent designs have interchangeable heads and even more technical design features.
Materials 7075 alloy shaft, steel head
Weight 630g (with leash)
Made in Austria
Stores in the UK 29
Stockist details tel. (0161) 343 6166; www.trailwise.co.ukVerdict
If you want an entry-level ice-climbing axe for graded climbing routes the Stubai Hornet is great, but it is not ideal for walkers (or climbers with more cash to spare).
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009