Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

Editor: Cory McLaughlin

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Just the Facts:


The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe with Grip takes our classic mountaineer’s piolet and adds a lower grip and a Slider Leash for increased security and versatility. The aluminum shaft and investment-cast stainless steel head provide durable, classic functionality-whether you’re plunging up a snowy chute or traversing a jagged crevasse field. The comfortable dual-density grip increases holding power for icy steps and short steep sections where you need to use the axe like a modern ice tool.

  • Durable, aircraft-grade aluminum shaft
  • Investment-cast, one-piece stainless steel head with a large hole for a carabiner
  • Comfortable, dual-density molded grip
  • Pick’s curve and teeth engineered for secure self-arresting
  • Equipped with Slider Leash
  • CEN-B certified


Head :  Stainless steel

Shaft :  Aluminum

Grip :  Dual-density

Weight With Leash :  [55 cm] 505 g (1 lb 2 oz)


My Story:

If you are not a huge mountain climber you may have never even seen an ice axe and you likely have only seen them in the movies. To be honest this is not a piece of gear that finds its way into most packs. It is however a piece of gear that can be a must have when climbing up the side of an ice field or glacier. If you are a serious mountaineer or a winter backpacker you can attest to the importance of a good ice axe. Black Diamond is in the business of making great climbing gear and that includes this amazing Raven Ice Axe.

When I began to plan my hiking trip up Washington’s second highest volcano I knew that I needed some new gear. Mt. Adams is a non-technical hike but there is a very real risk of injurie if you pair inexperience with poor equipment so I focused on the thing I could control most immediately. During the Summer OR show in Denver I had the great pleasure of stopping by the Black Diamond booth. During my meeting I discussed that I had a climb up Mt. Adams coming in the near future and that I would love to review some BD items. Arrangements were made and the box arrived just a few days before my hike!

Now I have done my fair share of hiking and climbing around the hills of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon but to summit an actual volcano was a new one on me. Climbing dry mountains is one thing but when you add in massive glaciers and very steep grade you have to reevaluate your gear and the first thing on my list was an ice axe. I knew that I needed it for at least two things the first of which was use while ascending and the second was during our glacade. The axe was tucked nicely in my pack until the trail turned from crushed lava to ice and snow. It was the axe I chose was 65CM and I worked perfectly as a walking stick as I slowly climbed the glacier leading up to Pikers Peak. The shortness of the axe was complemented by the steep incline and it felt very nice. The Raven stuck with me all the way past the false summit at Pikers Peak and on up to the summit. I was happy to not have needed it to slow me down as I did not fall so I didn’t have to test that. Well, until the glacade!

Our summit experience was fantastic and while we loved the view it was time to get back down the mountain. The Glacade was something we had been looking forward to for a while and from the second that I entered the shoot I knew that the ice axe was an absolutely essential piece of gear. It took all of about 10 feet before I was screaming down the mountain and felt the need to slow down. The Raven was tucked under my arm and the chisel tip performed flawlessly as I used it to brake myself and slow to a pace that felt safe and controlled. Over and over I switched sides left and right using the axe as a break until the shoot would end.

During one Glacade I wanted to see just how well the axe would stop me if I smashed the pick end into the snow. It stops you right freaking now! I almost felt like my grip was going to fail but the rubber handle and strap helped make sure I held firm to the axe. Test complete and a very cold backside I waddled over to a sun cup and stowed my axe into my pack. This tool is nothing fancy, it has no bells and whistles, and it is not something that you are going to need all day long. It’s simplicity is also it’s strong point because it is not complicated to use and it just flat out works. I would and already have recommended this great axe to others and can easily see why Black Diamond in such a prevalent name on the mountains of the world!

Find it Here:


What can be done better?

Nothing! Black Diamond has a great variety of products and lots of axe’s to choose from. The Raven Ice Axe fit my needs perfectly and I would not make any changes.

5 stars         

  • Functionality
  • Value
  • Ergonomics
  • Durability