The Stubai Hornet is an excellent entry-level technical climbing axe, although to use it properly you need a matching hammer. This is exceptionally low-priced for this type of axe, as most climbing axes cost a lot more. For this small outlay you get a 46cm axe with a pre-curved shaft to allow placement clearance on steep ice-climbs. There is also an adjustable loop with padding supplied to provide wrist support while climbing. The head is a one-piece design with good hand clearance 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 618g the Stubai Hornet is quite a heavy tool to wield above your head. Its lack of length 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 618g (with leash)
Made in Austria
Stores in the UK 29
If you want an entry-level ice-climbing axe for graded climbing routes the Stubai Hornet is ideal, and it offers excellent value for money.
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011