The Grivel G1 is a solid, well-designed ice axe that is made of high-quality materials for a sweet $80 price tag. The G1 was above average in nearly every one of our comparison categories and is a fantastic option for general mountaineering applications. It's an okay option for steeper routes but doesn't perform as well as many of the other ice axes we tested with more aggressive picks and slightly curved shafts.
Grivel G1 Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Good price, excellent self arresting performance, descent steeper snow climbing ability, comfortable to carry, looks cool
Cons: Just okay steep snow climbing ability, marginally on the heavier side
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Grivel G1 was one of our highest scoring ice axes overall in our side-by-side self-arrest comparison. Our testers thought the G1's hot forged pick bit into firm snow extremely well in addition to very good soft snow performance. We thought the G1 self-arrested noticeable better than the Black Diamond Raven and Raven Pro especially when conditions were firmer and about the same as the Petzl Glacier. During our comparison our testers felt they liked how a curve shaft self-arrested every-so-slightly better than a straight shaft and as a result felt the Petzl Summit and Grivel Air Tech Evolution performed marginally better.
Steep Ice and Snow Climbing Performance
The G1 was okay for steep snow and ice climbing performance and was slightly above average overall. The G1's pick isn't super aggressive (one reason it self-arrests so well) but was aggressive enough for moderate snow and ice routes. We thought the G1 climbed steep snow better than the Black Diamond Raven but not as well as the Petzl Summit or Grivel Air Tech Evolution.
Use As Improvised Anchor
The Grivel G1 is a CEN B rated ice axe, meaning it is suitable to be used as a deadman or in a "T-slot" type situation for moderate loads. We thought the G1 featured a well-designed pick that helped facilitate the axe to be driven into the snow for self-anchoring or as a backup while belaying on snow. The only thing our testers didn't love is that the hole on in the head of the G1 is a little difficult to clip and doesn't work super well with all carabiners.
Digging Step Chopping
The G1 was in general above average at hacking out icy tent platforms and digging anchors. The G1 features a well designed hot forged adze that chipped away firm and icy snow noticeably easier than the similarly priced Black Diamond Raven.
Comfort to Carry
The G1 was average to carry overall among ice axes in our review. Like many European models, our testers felt it was a little more comfortable to carry in self-belay (pick forward or piolet manche) position. It wasn't bad in self-arrest position, it just wasn't as comfortable as the Black Diamond Raven, Raven Pro or the Petzl Glacier.
The Grivel G1 is best for general mountaineering applications and is suitable for early season backpacking or ski mountaineering, but is a little heavy. The G1 has okay steep snow climbing ability for more difficult routes but if you plan to climb steep snow and ice routes more regularly we would recommend the Petzl Summit Evo or the Grivel Air Tech Evolution.
At $80 the G1 remains an excellent value considering its hot forged high-quality pick and construction.
The G1 performed better in nearly every category compared to the similarly priced Black Diamond Raven and Black Diamond Raven Pro and was similar in overall scoring and performance to the Petzl Glacier.
— Ian Nicholson