I'm using a Grivel Evolution (www.grivel.it). Has a T rated shaft so suitable for most classic mountaineering purposes and is light (<500g). I have the shortest (48cm) and with a slightly bent shaft it packs nicely.
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:18 pm Posts: 57 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I second Jon's vote for the Prophet. 'light' and short enough to sit on a small pack. You should be able to pick a pair of these up on ebay for under $100. I'm happy with the BD Raven ($60), too.. Not super light, but it's got just the right amount of heft for choppin steps if you need to.
Whippets look really versatile, too. They're pretty high up on my want list.
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm Posts: 293 Location: Northern CA
I spent some extensive amount of time researching and even trying many brands of axes last season. I found that most axes, be it made of aluminum or steel, were uncomfortable when carring it with thin gloves. This was due to most constructions types on current axes. Most are stamped out of a flat piece of metal. Then the aze portion is welded on or twisted out of the flat piece of metal. The problem is the flat section of the axe head tends to cut into the hand when carring it. Many climbers wrap duct tape around to make it more comfortable and to insulate from the metal.
I found that BD and Grivel are the only two who make lightweight axes with formed axe heads. The benifit of this is the heads are mushroomed at the top where the axe rests in the palm. This is much more comfortable! Check out the BD Raven/Raven Pro or most Grivel models.