Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gear Review: Petzl Sum'Tec Ice Axe

Petzl’s Sum’Tec ice axe is my new favorite mountaineering ice axe. It has the features of both a traditional mountaineering axe and a more technical tool so it is ideal for glaciated and alpine routes with shorter sections of steep ice and snow. It could also just be used as a single tool for mellow mountaineering routes in addition to becoming a second tool for steeper alpine routes. The tool swings well and is easy to climb leashless since it has the adjustable trigrest hand rest, which is an excellent feature in itself. The pick is interchangeable and it is curved and aggressive enough for swinging into vertical terrain.

Drawbacks are the weight of the tool. It is a bit on the heavier side for a mountaineering tool at 485 grams for the 52 cm tool. Also the trigrest unfortunately did not remain very tight on the tool and slid off the tool at one point in time. I’m not sure if this was due to cold temperatures or a lack of tightening of the screws. It would also be nice if this tool could come with a hammer instead of an adze for added versatility. Apparently a hammer version will be released soon.

Overall, this is a fantastic tool for alpine routes that have both mellow glaciated walking sections combined with steeper snow and ice sections. I look forward to taking it with on my next alpine adventure!

Topping out on the fixed lines (16, 200 ft) on Denali

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