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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Mediocre ice penetration.
REI is no longer selling the Yeti. Instead we recommend you check out the nearly identical SMC Capra which is produced by Seattle Manufacturing Company (SMC) just like the Yeti. You can also check out our full Ice Axe Review or keep reading to hear our thoughts on the discontinued Yeti.
The Yeti is a good all-around ice axe for general mountaineering and for easy to moderate snow climbing. It is one of the most comfortable ice axes to carry and is one of the smoother axes for self-arresting. The large, wide head is presumably for comfort while carrying but is also useful when "spinning" it from self-belay to self-arrest.
This is a good beginner to intermediate ice axe for someone on a budget. It is great for general mountaineering where you will probably not be faced with medium or long sections of firmer snow above 50 degrees. It is one of the best self arresting ice axes with its wide, rounded head and well-designed pick. It performs average at digging anchors with its adze. It has a nice price, is great to carry, self arrests wonderfully and is relatively light, making it a good option for almost any mountaineer.
RELATED: Our complete review of ice axes
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Yeti's large rounded head makes it very comfortable to hold; only the Black Diamond Raven family is more comfortable. It was the smoothest self-arresting axe along with the Black Diamond Raven and the SMC Capra. It just edges out the Petzl Summit in this category. The hole in the middle of the head and the one in the adze worked fairly well to facilitate use as a snow anchor as well as use in standing belays. The adze is a nice size and chops steps fairly well, on a par with most other ice axes in its price range.
The pick of the Yeti penetrates firmer ice about average; not a great choice for steeper snow and ice climbs. It performs similarly to the Black Diamond Raven and CAMP Neve and not quite as well as the Petzl Snowalker. During a crevasse, the rounded head made it slightly more difficult to girth hitch a sling or clip a carabiner. I didn't notice it much when I was standing around. But when hunched over with my quads screaming and my partner in a crack, it was a bigger deal.
A perfect ice axe for general mountaineering and snow climbing. If you climb or aspire to climb a lot of steeper snow and ice, it's not ideal either alone or with another ice tool.
At $75 the REI Yeti is the best priced ice axe in the review. It is $5 less than, and scored relatively close to, the Black Diamond Raven. The Yeti weighs one ounce less than a CAMP Neve and is the same weight as a Raven.
— Ian Nicholson
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 15, 2010
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