Heading to the Alps this year? Chris Townsend reviews an ice axe suitable for all levels of general mountaineering

This review is part of our ice axes gear guide, and was first published in the February 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.

The Italian-made Alpin Tour is described as ‘a robust general walking axe’ and it’s certainly that. However it is T rated and so is also suitable for classic mountaineering routes, especially as it has a well-curved pick, a wide adze for step-cutting, and a curved shaft. There’s no rubberised grip on the lower shaft but there is a padded wrist support on the adjustable leash. You can get the biggest mitt into the wrist loop too. The Alpin Tour has a hexagonal shaft that is slightly easier to grip with cold and wet hands or gloves than an oval one.

The weight is light for a T-rated axe. The Petzl Summit Evo weighs even less but costs considerably more. More effort is needed when using the pick or adze than with a heavier axe but the Alpin Tour isn’t so light using them becomes tiring.