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Petzl Sum'Tec Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Ice Axes

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: September 27, 2011
Street Price:   Varies from $146 - $195 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  Climbs steep ice well, sweet slider pommel.
Cons:  Doesn't self arrest as well as other ice axes, expensive, heavy for basic mountaineering.
Best Uses:  Steeper snow and ice routes.
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 15, 2010  
Overview
New in the summer of 2009, the Petzl Sum'Tec is a hybird ice axe/ice tool. It sports a modular and durable hot-forged pick with a fixed adze. The Sum'Tec climbs ice better than any other axe in this review and is easily compared with basic (less dramatically curved) alpine ice tools. You can carry two of them and easily climb more difficult water ice. It is durable and its only drawback is the fact it is on the heavier side for ice axes (but lighter than other modular tools). The slider pommel is cool; it turned nearly everyone's head.

This is one of the heavier ice axes we tested and a little overkill for moderate routes. But if you climb a lot of steeper terrain, this ice axe is tough to beat. Along with the Petzl Summit and the Grivel Evolution, it is the best step chopping and platform digging axe we tested. Compared to the Black Diamond Venom, it was more expensive but lighter and easier to climb leashless.

View our complete Ice Axe Review to see how this product compared to others.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The hot-forged pick is durable and isn't so curved that it much affects its self-arresting ability. The upper section of the shaft is curved, which provides good clearance during ice climbing or in the snow. The Sum'Tec is the best ice climber in the review with the Black Diamond Venom not too far behind. Another benefit of the Sum'Tec is that it kept our hands drier during mid dagger (Piolet Manche). We love the Trigger rest, far superior to the Grivel "Horn." It locks into place but is easy to stow out of the way. The hole in the center of its head easily facilitates use as an improvised anchor. This axe is easy to drive even into hard snow. The adze is, along with the Summit, the best in the review for chopping steps quickly and effectively no matter how firm the conditions. The Sum'Tec is relatively pleasant carry.

Dislikes
The biggest disappointment is the fact that there is no hammer option and no other pick options. It is one of the heavier tested axes but is is a little lighter than the Venom.

Best Application
It is good for general mountaineering routes and excels when the terrain gets steep. Its main drawback for moderate mountaineering routes is that it only has a reverse curve pick, which is overkill. The reverse curve is not as useful as a classic positive pick on mellow routes with no steep terrain. It is a steep snow and ice-crushing machine that also works sensationally as a leashless ice tool.

Value
At $175 it is more than the similarly designed Black Diamond Venom. But for that extra $33 you get a hot-forged pick, half an ounce of weight savings and a sick slider palm instead of a more traditional leash.

Other Versions
Petzl Summit

Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 27, 2011
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
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

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   Sep 27, 2011 - 10:42pm
Sergio Colombo · Climber · Red Rock
a great tool for sure. Light but very sturdy, I climbed WI4 in Ouray with it. Only downside - if I have to find one - is the price.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Petzl Sum'Tec Ice Axe
Credit: Steve
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
CampSaver $146.25  -  16% off!
Backcountry $165.75  -  5% off!
Amazon $165.75  -  5% off!
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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
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