CAMP Neve Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great price, self-arrests very smoothly, adze is above-average for digging snow anchors or choping tent platforms well
Cons: Less comfortable to carry than other models, particularly in self-arrest positions; slightly heavier than average
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The CAMP Neve is a well priced, general mountaineering axe that will serve most climbers attempting simple glacier routes and moderate snow climbs. A strong contender for our Best Buy Award, this model only barely missed the award, as the Neve can be purchased for an impressive price. Despite missing out on our award, it features several advantages over many of the more costly models we tested.
Smooth self-arresting, respectable performance in low and mid-dagger positions, and a solidly performing adze make this a great ice axe for general mountaineering and snow climbing. If you climb steep snow and ice, you may want to upgrade to a slightly different model. While the Neve doesn't offer poor performance in these arenas, it just doesn't offer the performance of some of the higher-performing models. However, for almost any mountaineering application, this is an excellent all-around ice axe.
The Neve is designed with general mountaineering and self -arresting in mind. The continuous drop of this model's positive curve pick helped it to self-arrest smoothly and effectively, earning it above average marks.
Digging & Step Chopping
The Neve's head is nicely weighted; coupled with its aggressively shaped adze, it chops steps in even the hardest of ice. It is the best performing adze in the general mountaineering category for steps and digging anchors but is a little too downturned for truly exceptional step chopping. For breaking up firm surfaces, it offers up excellent performance.
While the heavily curved adze doesn't perform incredibly well at chopping steps, it digs T-trenches for snow pickets or other improvised snow anchors extremely well. It also breaks up ice surfaces nicely; two trade-offs we'd easily take over good step chopping, a technique we rarely, if ever, use.
Use As Improvised Anchor
The Neve has a CEN-B rating, meaning it is suitable for use as an improvised anchor for crevasse rescue or for belaying off of while ascending steep snow (but not vertical terrain). We generally liked models with bent shafts better than straight-shafted options for self-arresting and ascending steeper terrain. However, straight-shafted designs are easier and require less digging when using as a deadman in a t-slot and are easier to drive in vertically for backing up a previously buried snow pick either in front of the snow picket (saxon cross anchor) or behind equalized with a cordelette.
Steep Ice and Snow
The Neve's head is a single piece of forged chromoly steel; similar to all other models in its price range; it is not hot-forged. The Neve's pick is slightly more aggressive than typical for a general mountain axe, allowing it to penetrate firmer snow and ice well.
Comfort to Carry
The Neve is pleasant to carry in the self-belay/piolet canne (pick forward) position. Its adze is nicely articulated to fit in the palm of your hand but is one of the least comfortable to carry in self-arrest/pick backward position. This is both because of the sharp teeth on the pick that continue down and the aggressive downward dropped pick (which offers other advantages but is just not comfortable in the pick-forward position). Comfort to carry is one of the main reasons this axe only barely missed out on our Best Buy Award, as the Black Diamond performed very similarly overall, but was far more comfortable to hold.
The Neve weighs in at 15 ounces which is the same weight as its closest competition, the Black Diamond Raven. The Neve is average in weight when directly compared to general mountain axes in its price range. For little more in cost, you may want to consider the similar Petzl Glacier, which is only 12.3 ounces.
The Neve is among the best-priced models in our review, with only the Black Diamond Raven offering the same price point. The Neve climbs steep snow and penetrates firm conditions slightly better, but the Raven is far more comfortable to carry, particularly in a self-arrest position.
The Neve is a solid ice axe that was very nearly our Best Buy Award winner. It lost to the Black Diamond Raven, which is identical in price and was more comfortable to carry but didn't perform quite as well on steeper snow in firmer conditions. While you can buy a nicer axe, the Neve will provide more than enough performance for basic glacier climbs or more moderate snow routes.
— Ian Nicholson