Hands-on Gear Review

Compare ice axe ratings side-by-side >

Grivel Air Tech Evolution Review

   

Ice Axes

  • Currently 4.2/5
Overall avg rating 4.2 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: June 4, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $170 - $180 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, penetrates hard ice well.
Cons:  Expensive, a little on the heavy side.
Best Uses:  General mountaineering and steeper snow and ice climbing.
User Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Grivel
Review by: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 15, 2010  
Overview
The Grivel Air Tech Evolution (often shorted to Grivel Evo) is designed down to the finest detail. The Evo is the only T-rated ice axe in this review. T stands for Technical and refers to its shaft and pick being rated to 400kg. It sports a hot-forged chromoly steel pick and adze that will chop steps as well as any axe I tested. Its hot-forged pick is extremely durably and provides incredible ice incursion capabilities. The Evo climbs steep, firm ice as well as could be asked from a classic curved pick. Grivel was founded in 1818 and is the oldest ice axe manufacturer in the world today.

If extreme toughness and top-notch steep snow performance are priorities, then this is fantastic ice axe. If you are looking for a simple ice axe for general mountaineering, you can save a few dollars and ounces with another axe. But if there are steep alpine couloirs in your future or if you expect a lifetime of climbing, the Evo makes a great choice.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The entire head is hot-forged, which makes it stronger and thinner (for better ice penetration) than laser-cut or stamped models. This head, combined with its T-rated shaft, makes the Evo the toughest in the review. The shaft has a gentle curve just below the head, giving it greater clearance when climbing steeper snow and ice. Also, like the other ice axes with a slight bend, I liked the added "power" while self-arresting. It climbed firm ice better than nearly all the ice axes I looked at; similarly to the Petzl Summit and not quite as well as the Petzl Sum'Tec or the Black Diamond Venom. The hole in the middle of the head easily accepts a carabiner and the spike helps facilitate a vertical anchor extremely well. The Evo was one of the best step choppers no matter how hard the ice was. We thought it was similar to the Petzl Sum'tec and Petzl Summit and outperformed the rest of the ice axes in the review. I have personally pounded over a thousand pickets with my own Evo and have seen very little wear. The hot forged chromoly steel head and T rating mean this axe is built to last.

Dislikes
This is the heaviest non-modular ice axe I tested. It is also the second most expensive ice axe in this review. While it scored low for comfort, it was still comfortable enough. It has a larger bias (as many European ice axes do) to the self belay position.

Best Application
This axe is best on steeper routes where you need to penetrate hard ice and don't mind carrying a few extra ounces. It pounds thousands of pickets without much wear, which makes this a good choice for guides and instructors or those who are extremely hard on their gear. Since it is heavy, it isn't an ideal choice for ski mountaineers, early season backpackers or alpine rock climbers. It is a sensational choice for 40-60 degree routes by itself and 75-degree routes when paired with an ice tool.

Value
This is the second most expensive ice axe in the review, but it brings a lot to the table. It is an ice axe that can last you a lifetime if you are gentle on your gear, or at least a decade if you put serious hurt on your gear.

Ian Nicholson

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?

Seller Price  Shipping Cost Visit
Amazon
$170.40  -  5% off! Check Site
MooseJaw $179.90 FREE!*

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 4, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jun 4, 2013 - 02:31pm
butters · Climber · Spokane, WA
Superb axe. I've used it on general volcano routes in the Cascades (St. Helens, Adams, Baker, Reineer) and on more extreme climbs in the Columbia Icefields in northern Alberta. I use the 58cm length and sometimes find it annoyingly short on longer slogs up slopes that need an axe, but anything shorter than 65cm is useless for controlling your ascent. Still, it's ideal to have the sense of security. On steep couliors, nasty scrambles up mixed rock and ice scree/moraine fields this axe really shines. When you need a back-anchor, you have the confidence of a T-rated shaft. Love it.

If I were to do it over again, I might consider the 66cm for an all purpose tool and use my Nomics for everything else. As it is, I ended up getting a 74cm G1 for further general mountaineering use and will keep my 58cm air tech when I'm planning on a sketchy route. Not sure if I'll find the hammer version of this useful though.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No


Have you used the Grivel Air Tech Evolution?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Grivel Air Tech Evolution Ice Axe
Credit: Steve
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Amazon $170.40  -  5% off!
MooseJaw $179.90
Compare prices at 2 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
Picking the Best Ice Axe

Picking the Best Ice Axe

We looked at 14 different ice axes and compared them head-to-head on tasks from self arrest to chopping steps.
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Ice Axe - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Ice Axe

by Ian Nicholson
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Related Gear Reviews
Petzl Summit

Petzl Summit
$160
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Editors' Choice Award
Petzl Sum'Tec

Petzl Sum'Tec
$175
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Editors' Choice Award
CAMP Corsa

CAMP Corsa
$120
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Editors' Choice Award
Black Diamond Venom

Black Diamond Venom
$140
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Best Buy Award
Black Diamond Raven

Black Diamond Raven
$80
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Best Buy Award
Petzl Snowracer

Petzl Snowracer
$80
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Best Buy Award
More related gear reviews...
Other Gear by Grivel