Grivel Munro

This ice axe has been Trail’s favourite ice axe for the last couple of years and it continues to set the pace on the slopes this winter. It wins as it would be very difficult to equip an ice axe any better for the typical British winter walker. You get the basic set of features that all winter walkers need including a good range of sizes. Grab the axe and the tool feels well-balanced in the hands. You get a leash that has a spike protector pre-attached and this will no doubt save the coverings of many car seats! The shaft is a straight design and the head offers a gentle curve to make it ideal for walking in snow. The head has a reasonably wide adze for chopping steps and a good spike for ice axe braking. There is no grip on the shaft to hamper vertical placements . At 482g for the 60cm version this is light, even when allowing for the difference in lengths supplied here. Better still the price of just £40 makes this exceptionally good value for money. In these days of mixed winter conditions when you may actually end up carrying your ice axe all winter in the hope of finding a snow slope, all these features combine to make this a winner for the average winter hill-walker.  But while the Munro is very good it could be even better. You don’t get a rubber grip on the shaft for example, which can be helpful if you are going to be swinging the axe for cutting steps regularly. The leash is a rather basic design, so regular users may prefer an alternative. Some axes have a precurved shaft for easier placement in snow slopes, while others are rated as technical so that they can be used for roped belays. But if you want an excellent basic axe for general walking these drawbacks should not put you off.

Verdict: Buy it if you are heading for the British hills this winter as it is well-priced and does most things really well, though others are better for more regular users or those heading for more difficult terrain.

Classification: basic

Materials: carbon steel

Sizes: 58, 65, 74cm

Weight: 482g (size 58cm with leash)

Made in Italy

Stores in UK: England 160; Wales 10; Scotland 40; Ireland 4