The Black Diamond Raven has been a long-term favourite ice axe with Trail. The rubber shaft grip and leash have now been removed; however the axe is still very comfortable to hold, particularly as the head is well-contoured for the hand. You get a straight shaft and a gently curved head. The adze and pick are both well-designed for cutting steps and ice axe braking, but the head is a little more comfortable in the hand compared to some others, which is a real advantage for the walker. The 502g weight is very good, and ideal for the typical mixed conditions of UK winters. The shaft and head are exceptionally well-finished and the whole package can be yours for just £55. But this axe is only rated as basic, so it is not for use as a rope belay. Other axes are lighter too. Some axes have a precurved shaft for easier placement in snow slopes. You do not get a spike protector, pre-attached leash or a rubber grip, unlike the 2006 version.
Materials 7075-T6 alloy shaft; cast stainless steel pick and spike
Sizes 55, 60, 65, 70,75cm
Weight 502g (size 60cm without leash)
Made in China
Verdict A good all-round basic axe for walkers if heading more regularly to the snow and perhaps walking up snow-covered peaks abroad.