A Little History
CAMP has been around since 1889, producing ice axes since 1920 and is possibly the world's largest ice axe manufacturer, distributing to more than 65 countries. CAMP stands for Construzione Articoli Montagna Premana, which translates to English as Articles for Mountaineering Made in Premana. Premana is the small mountain village in Italy where founder Nicola Codega started manufacturing. Premana is located at the furthest end of the main valley running north out of Lecco. There are literally no roads running out of Premana other than the road coming in. The town is situated in the pre-Alps just shy of the Swiss border. CAMP still calls Premana home.
The adze of the Neve chopped steps in even the hardest ice because of its aggressive curve. It is the best performing adze in the general mountaineering category for chopping steps and digging anchors. It comes with a built-in leash, making it the best deal for the ice axe/lanyard combo. If you don't like leashes, it is easily removed by sliding off the rubber keeper. It is one of the smoother ice axes at self-arresting. It ranks about the same as a Snow Walker and just below the Black Diamond Raven. Its steep snow and ice performance is average; about the same as the SMC Capra and just below the Snow Walker.
At 17.1 ounces the CAMP Neve is an ounce heavier than both the Black Diamond Raven and the SMC Capra, a small disadvantage. It is one of the more uncomfortable ice axes to hold over long periods of time. The hole in the head of the Neve is harder to clip a carabiner into compared with all other models I tested. In fact, some mid-sized and most larger carabiners won't fit. If you need to make an anchor by driving your ice axe in vertically then you could girth hitch a sling to it, but who wants to do that while their quads are screaming and they are holding their partner hanging in a crevasse?
Smooth self-arresting and anchor building make this a perfect ice axe for general mountaineering and snow climbing. If you climb a lot of steeper snow and ice climbs, you may not be happy with its performance, either alone or in conjunction with another ice tool. However, for almost any mountaineering application this is an excellent all-around ice axe.
This is a bargain. For $80 it is the same price as a Black Diamond Raveni. The Neve, however, comes with a built-in leash, making it a better deal overall.