The Petzl Glacier Literide is a surprisingly versatile axe for ski touring, general mountaineering, or moderate snow climbs and is a former Top Pick award winner for being the best ultralight ice axe. At 11.2 ounces, its weight certainly falls in line with other ultralight models, but it doesn't make many of the typical performance sacrifices that are common with ultralight options. The Literide strikes an excellent balance between light weight and quality features, such as its pick, steel spike, and a full-sized adze - something that almost no other model under 12 ounces can attest to.
Petzl Glacier Literide Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightest weight mountain axe with a spike, great price, very comfortable, solid self-arrest performance
Cons: Only comes in one size, just okay steep snow performance
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Petzl Glacier Literide
|Price||$99.95 at REI|
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|$194.95 at Amazon||$175.90 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightest weight mountain axe with a spike, great price, very comfortable, solid self-arrest performance||Hot-forged pick, excellent self-arrest performance, fantastic adze design, below average weight particularly for an all-mountain option, solid steep snow climbing ability||Hot-forged pick penetrates snow and ice extremely well, no-teeth on gripping area of pick, curved shaft and teardrop/oval shaped shaft excel in steeper terrain, exceptional self-arrest performance, one of the best overall adze designs||Best steep snow climbing performance, durable, penetrates hard ice well, excellent self-arrest and steep snow climbing performance||Climbs steep ice extremely well, sweet slider pommel, one of the best performing adzes in the review, chops ice like a champion|
|Cons||Only comes in one size, just okay steep snow performance||Slightly more expensive side, not the best ice performance||A little on the heavier side||Expensive, slightly on the heavier side, like its slider pummel but wished it could be placed in more positions along the shaft||Self-arrest performance is good but not great, heavy for basic mountaineering, expensive|
|Bottom Line||One of the most versatile axes for the weight, this model performs surprisingly well at a wide range of tasks while still weighing in less than several specialized options.||One of the most versatile models, the Summit excels in a wide-range of activities, from steep snow routes to alpine rock climbs.||The best all-around ice axe; while other models might perform specific tasks better, there is no better do-everything model.||Across-the-board high performance helps this axe excel at almost any application; from general glacier travel to steep snow routes to alpine rock climbs, this model is among the best.||A true hybrid of a traditional ice axe and an ice tool; it has the shaft of an ice axe and the same head and pick selection as the rest of Petzl's ice tools.|
|Rating Categories||Petzl Glacier Literide||Petzl Summit||Petzl Summit Evo||Grivel Air Tech Evolution||Petzl Sum'Tec|
|Self Arresting (22%)|
|Digging & Step Chopping (17%)|
|Use As Improvised Anchor (8%)|
|Steep Ice And Snow (22%)|
|Comfort To Carry (11%)|
|Specs||Petzl Glacier...||Petzl Summit||Petzl Summit Evo||Grivel Air Tech...||Petzl Sum'Tec|
|Weight (oz/gram)||11.2 oz/320g||13.4 oz/380g||14.8 oz/420g||17.6 oz||17.9 oz/507g|
|Lengths availible||50cm||52, 59, 66cm||52, 59, 66cm||48, 53, 58, 66cm||52, 59, 66, 73cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Petzl Glacier Literide is lighter than many ultralight models, sans typical downsides found in many of these designs. Most ice axes that weigh less than 12 ounces have an undersized adze, don't feature a real spike, or make countless other sacrifices to save weight. That is simply not the case with the Glacier Literide, which features all of those aforementioned designs, and performs similarly to a general mountaineering axe.
The Glacier Literide performed above average during our side-by-side self-arrest testing, though it was outperformed by a number of models, including the Grivel Evolution, Petzl Summit, and Petzl Summit Evo. These models scored higher by a small margin mostly due to their curved shaft, which provided more leverage for the user to self-arrest. The pick of the Literide bites into firmer snow effectively, and our testers found it could also be driven in smoothly. The Glacier Literide self-arrests noticeably better than the similarly priced Black Diamond Raven and Raven Pro, and defeats the other "lightweight" axes by a wide margin.
Digging and Step Chopping
For digging and step chopping, the Glacier Literide finished toward the top of our review, thanks to its hacking ability compared to other sub-12-ounce models. Its adze cut effectively into all but the hardest of ice and dug "T-slots" and deadmans better than many other contenders. It only scored just barely behind the Petzl Sum'tec and Summit, which are two high scoring models.
Use As Improvised Anchor
The Glacier Literide has a CEN-B rated shaft, meaning it is suitable for use as an anchor to belay off of for snow climbing or during improvised crevasse rescue. The hole in its head is large enough to clip a carabiner for retrievable rappel anchors, standing ice-axe belays, or the rare time when you might drive the axe in vertically for use similar to a picket. Its well-designed, functional spike aids the Glacier Literide in its ability to be driven in vertically and quickly to self-anchor or to provide a quick backup while belaying others.
Steep Ice and Snow
The Glacier Literide performed slightly above average in its steep snow climbing prowess.
It features a pick that effectively penetrated even the firmest of snow whether swinging, in mid-dagger or low dagger better than nearly all of the other sub one hundred dollar models, like the Black Diamond Raven and Raven Ultra. The ripples on the lower part of the shaft also provide additional grip while swinging the axe.
Comfort to Carry
The Glacier Literide offers a decent amount of comfort when carrying in self-belay or self-arrest position. Like many European designed models, it is most comfortable in self-belay/pilot canne position (pick forward) but is still pleasant in self-arrest (pick backward position). The Glacier Literide was more comfortable than the CAMP Corsa or CAMP Corsa Nanotech and ideal for folks with smaller hands, as it is lower profile in general.
At 11.2 ounces, the Glacier Literide is on the lighter side of models currently on the market, and the only fully featured sub-12-ounce axe. It's not quite as light as the CAMP Corsa (7.4 oz), Petzl Ride (8.4 oz), CAMP Corsa Nanotech (8.7 oz), or Petzl Gully (9.4 oz), but does feature a full-sized adze and real spike; compared to those lower in weight, none feature said adze or spike.
It might be worth considering the Petzl Summit, as it's very near in weight but offers far better across-the-board performance. The CAMP Corsa Nanotech is lighter and climbs steep snow better but is far less versatile overall.
The Glacier Literide functions well for a wider range of mountaineering applications than many people might give it credit for. It's lighter weight than several ultralight models and performs in line with most general mountaineering models. It's ideal for basic glacier climbs, general mountaineering, early season snow climbs, ski mountaineering, or alpine rock climbing. It can also be utilized anytime someone is after a fairly featured mountaineering axe but still desires something fairly low weight.
Sub one hundred dollars, the Glacier Literide is a pretty darn good deal for a rad, multifunctional axe. It's less expensive of all the "ultralight" models and is incredibly versatile. While several of the aforementioned options do excel at a specific function, the Literide can perform most tasks adequately. If you're after a tool for a specific job, we'd recommend seeking something else out.
Don't let this model's "ultralight" label fool you into thinking it's not versatile Other than its 50cm length, it's equally capable as most other mountaineering-oriented models like the Black Diamond Raven, CAMP Neve, or the Petzl Glacier. It's perfect for folks who want a lightweight axe but still desire something more well-rounded for a cross-section of activities, such as basic glacier climbs or moderate snow routes. It's also ideal for ski mountaineering, alpine rock climbing, or early season backpacking. Best of all, it's less weight than several non-fully featured "ultralight" models; while some of these models might offer definite benefits, not all offer such exceptional across the board performance.
— Ian Nicholson