The robust Grivel Airtech Evo earned a ‘recommended’ label in Lucy Wallace’s review of the best walking axes for 2021. Here’s the full test.

I managed to take the Grivel Airtech Evo out on a couple of work days teaching winter walking skills just before lockdown, and was very glad I did as it’s an impressive workhorse. The huge volume of the adze, which really shifts snow, was by far the best I tested – and this test has some strong contenders. That, coupled with a pleasing weight to the head, makes for easy step cutting too.

I like the ‘G-Bone’ shape of the shaft, which is nice to hold. The lower section is covered with hardwearing rubber that adds grip and insulation. That unusual shape is designed to reduce the weight without losing strength, but it’s still heavy compared to others in this test. I personally don’t mind that – I’m not particularly strong, and the weight helps to add momentum to digging and swinging.

As a T-rated axe, it’s incredibly robust – rated to 4kn at the head of the axe. In reality, in winter belays, the snow or ice is more likely to give way first, regardless of whether the axe is T- or B-rated, but the extra strength is reassuring in mountaineering situations.

In many ways the Grivel Airtech Evo was my favourite axe of the test, but it is overkill for most winter walking and the price is off-putting. However, those venturing into steeper terrain may like it for the strength and efficient handling, and see it as a worthwhile investment.

Read more: 6 of the best walking axes reviewed