The Black Diamond Raven Pro is a beautiful piece of engineering and it’s also a beautiful tool to use on the hill – and that’s why it has been a long-term favourite of Team Trail. The axe has a sleek, modern design with a polished head and spike. The head is slightly less aggressive than others so it is not quite as useful for mountaineering, but it’s far more suitable for glacier travel and walking than most. The axe does not have a rubber grip on the shaft, or a leash, which some users may prefer as it makes this a neater tool to use and it also helps keep the weight down, meaning this is a much lighter axe than others here (a 65cm long version weighs around 424g). The balance of the axe is ideal for walking and it sits very neatly in the hand too, while its large range of sizes mean that there is something to suit most people’s body height and personal axe length preference. The drawback is the price of this axe as you can get other models that will provide perfectly good service for much less cash. Still, the Black Diamond Raven Pro is a great option for walkers on snow and glaciers.
Materials 7075-T6 alloy shaft, cast stainless steel pick and spike
Sizes 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75cm
Weight 385g (50cm)
The Black Diamond Raven Pro was the best hill and glacier ice axe in our test.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013