Petzl Glacier LiteRide ice axe
It's comforting to find your guide is using the same gear as you - it means you've probably made a good choice. The fact that both guides, plus some clients, were using the Petzl Glacier LiteRide on a steep skiing expedition in Greenland, gave a lot of confidence in its credentials!
And in practice it didn't disappoint. At 50cm long and weighing 320 grams, it is barely noticeable strapped on a pack, or for that matter, in hand, and so passes the first test of a gear-heavy trip.
When the gradient passed the skin-able pitch, and skis were swapped for crampons, the lean 50cm shaft proved that its diminutive size works - plenty long enough to plunge into the slope which quickly rose above me. It was also incredibly willing to plunge into the hardest of snow, thanks to a very sharp stainless steel spike and an uncluttered shaft. That sleek profile, combined with the lightweight design make for some incredibly efficient movement when the ascent gets steep.
The teeth of the steel pick bite relentlessly into varying ice and neve - on a par with more technical climbing axes - and the steel adze is a great size for cutting steps when necessary.
One design feature that can often be overlooked is how comfortable the Glacier LiteRide is in the hand. A skimo axe will most often be used like a walking axe, and the head is very conducive to that, with no uncomfortable bumps or angles, I could have carried it all day. As with the other elements, it adds to a sleek and efficient package that has clearly been designed, successfully, for purpose.