Petzl Charlet Snowalker

As the name suggests, this ice axe is ideal for the walker heading to the snow, and it’s therefore suitable for most British hill-walkers. The shaft is a straight design and the head offers a gentle curve, making it suitable for walking in snow, where it can be used as a walking stick, while being ideal for hacking the odd step and ice axe braking in case of a slip. The head has a reasonably wide adze for chopping steps and a good pick for braking. The weight is reasonable too and lighter than some axes here of similar design. Better still, the price makes this axe exceptionally good value for those who just need basic features for tackling more gentle winter terrain. But you don’t get a rubber grip on the shaft, and no leash is supplied. The head is not as aggressive as some others, and others are more comfy in the hands too. 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.

Vital stats

Classification basic

Materials 7075 alloy shaft, steel head

Sizes 60, 68, 75cm

Weight 426g (size 60cm without leash)

Made in France

Stores in UK 20


Verdict Ideal for general winter hill-walking in the UK, but others are better for more regular users or those heading for more difficult terrain.