A technical ice axe designed for 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 Summit Evo is the most technical and aesthetically the most attractive ice axe reviewed. It really is beautiful. If I was mounting one of these axes on a wall this would be it! It is expensive though, due to the materials and the construction method of the shaft, which is hydroformed under high pressure so it can be shaped without losing any strength. The shaping – a long indentation near the top of the shaft – is to make the axe easier to hold here.

The Summit Evo is designed for general mountaineering and has a curved shaft and a T rating. It’s quite light for a mountaineering axe, partly due to the hot-forged steel head, which is lighter and stronger than standard steel. The pick is also tapered towards the tip for easier penetration in hard snow and ice. The adze is wide enough for step-cutting and is angled more than on other axes so when you hold it by the head the lower shaft points straight down for thrusting into the snow. This is only a small point but I did find that it makes a difference compared with other curved shaft axes. Those with less tilted adzes pointed a little forwards rather than straight down when held by the head. There’s a rubberised serrated grip on the lower shaft that sits flush with the upper shaft.

As a general purpose axe for hillwalking and classic mountaineering the Summit Evo is fine. I like it very much. It is expensive though and there are perfectly adequate alternatives even if they don’t look and feel quite as special.