Testing the Petzl Glacier ice axe on Mt. Shuksan, North Cascades WA.
The Petzl Glacier performed above average in our self-arrest side-by-side comparison, only being out performed by the much more expensive Grivel Evolution, Petzl Summit and Petzl Summit Evo and even then only being out scored by a small margin. The Glacier pick provided purchase into firmer snow effectively and our testers found the pick drove in smoother and felt less "jerky" than most other axes. All of our testers thought the Glacier self-arrested noticeably better than the similarly priced Black Diamond Raven Pro and base model Black Diamond Raven. We did think the Glacier self-arrested about equally to the Grivel G1.
The pick of the Petzl Glacier performed slightly above average for self-arresting and our testers unanimously thought it self-arrested better than the Black Diamond Raven.
Steep Ice and Snow Climbing Performance
The Petzl Glacier performed average to slightly above average overall in its steep snow climbing ability. The pick design of the Glacier allows it to penetrate into even very firm snow surprisingly effectively whether our testers were swinging in mid-dagger or low dagger position, better than nearly all of the other sub $100 ice axes like the Black Diamond Raven, and Raven Ultra. The ripples on the lower part of the shaft provided noticeable assistance and additional grip while swinging the axe and we really liked this small feature.
The spike of the Petzl Glacier ice axe.
Use As Improvised Anchor
The Glacier is UIAA rated with a CEN-B making it suitable for use as a "T-slot" or deadman while belaying or during crevasse rescue. The Glacier features a good clip in point at the top of its head that accommodates most carabiners well. It also features a well designed spike that helped facilitate it to be driven quickly in vertically to self anchor or to provide a quick backup while belaying others.
Comparing how effective the Petzl Glacier was at digging T-slots and being used as an improvised anchor. We thought the Glacier had the best performing adze for an ice axe $100 and under.
Adze Performance: Chopping Steps, Anchors and Tent Platforms
The Petzl Glacier scored near the top of our review for its adze design and ice clearing and step chopping ability. We found the Glacier's adze hacked into all but the hardest ice very effectively, dug "T-slots" and deadman better than most and blew away most other ice axes in its price range. It only scored just barely behind the Petzl Sum'tec and Summit, was a little better than the Grivel G1 but far out scored the Black Diamond Raven, Raven Pro and Raven Ultra. The Glacier Literide features a much better axe than either the CAMP Corsa or Corsa Nanotech.
The Petzl Glacier was comfortable to carry in either position. It was very nice in self-belay position (pick-forward) and was fine for all-day ascents in self-arrest position (pick-backward) but wasn't as nice as the Black Diamond Raven.
Comfort to Carry
The Petzl Glacier is quite comfortable to carry and scored above average in either self-belay or self-arrest position. We thought the Petzl Glacier was more comfortable than the CAMP Corsa or CAMP Corsa Nanotech but just barely didn't find it as comfortable as the Black Diamond Raven in self-arrest position, but the Glacier was more comfortable in self-belay position (pick forward/piolet canne). One interesting note is that the Glacier Literide works great for folks with smaller hands.
The Glacier is a good option for early season backpackers and snow climbers, but is the perfect for general mountaineering as long as the routes aren't too burly. We love the weight, self-arresting ability and respectable steep climbing performance of the Glacier but if you partake in plenty of steep routes we'd recommend the Petzl Summit Evo, Petzl Sum'tec or the Black Diamond Venom.
Value and the Bottom Line
The Glacier is an incredible value and again nearly winner of our OutdoorGearLab best Buy Award. At $100 its in line or a little bit more expensive than many of the base level ice axes but far out performs most of them. We do think the Glacier is better than the Black Diamond Raven in nearly every way and if you aspire to climb a lot of general mountaineering and glacier routes we think it will be worth the extra $20. If you're only going to climb simple snow and glacier routes then we think the Raven or Raven Pro will be just fine.
The Petzl Glacier Literide is basically the smallest length and a different color of the Petzl Glacier. Other than length and color the Glacier Literide has all the same features as the Glacier.