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Petzl Ride Review

The lightest model to feature a 100% steel head, it's surprisingly versatile for its weight.
Petzl Ride
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $120 List | $124.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Extremely lightweight, second lightest model we tested and the lightest overall to feature a steel head, steep snow climbing performance and self-arrest abilities, versatility
Cons:  No real spike, only available in one fairly short length (45cm)
Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 11, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 17
  • Self-Arresting - 15% 9
  • Digging & Step Chopping - 15% 4
  • Use as Improvised Anchor - 15% 7
  • Steep Ice & Snow - 25% 5
  • Comfort to Carry - 5% 8
  • Weight - 25% 9

Our Verdict

As one of the lightest in the fleet, the Petzl Ride is surprisingly versatile for its weight and features a 100% steel head. The Ride is most at home ski-mountaineering or early season alpine rock climbing but is versatile enough for basic mountaineering and moderate glacier routes. The Ride's pick provides good purchase in firm conditions and is solid while ascending steep terrain. It's also one of the more comfortable models to carry. It faces tough competition from other ultralight models but offers top-notch across the board performance that is hard to beat, especially for its 8.4 ounce weight.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Petzl Ride is our Top Pick for Versatility and Ultralight Adventures. It's very nearly the lightest axe we tested but still features a surprisingly functional steel pick/head/adze. It's only available in one length (45cm), but in reality, not one of our testers felt like that was a big deal, as it performed as designed. It's best for adventures into the alpine where you are likely to need an ice axe and could encounter a wide range of conditions, but the terrain you plan to travel isn't too technical, and every ounce matters. It's perfect for ski-mountaineering, accessing alpine rock routes, early-season backpacking, or even some more basic glacier climbs.

The Ride is perfect for the type of trip where you may or may not need an ice axe  and it's likely to stay on/inside your pack. Its short length means it can be carried inside your pack (or will be less bothersome on the outside) while alpine rock climbing or ski-mountaineering. Here  Nick Nason carries his Ride ice axe down the West Ridge of Cutthroat Peak  North Cascades  WA.
The Ride is perfect for the type of trip where you may or may not need an ice axe, and it's likely to stay on/inside your pack. Its short length means it can be carried inside your pack (or will be less bothersome on the outside) while alpine rock climbing or ski-mountaineering. Here, Nick Nason carries his Ride ice axe down the West Ridge of Cutthroat Peak, North Cascades, WA.

Performance Comparison


The Ride wins a Top Pick Award because it's our favorite ultralight ice axe to feature a 100% steel head. It's the second lightest model overall and proves far more versatile than all of its most direct competition.
The Ride wins a Top Pick Award because it's our favorite ultralight ice axe to feature a 100% steel head. It's the second lightest model overall and proves far more versatile than all of its most direct competition.

Self-Arresting


We really like the shape of the Ride's pick, which strikes a very nice balance between self-arrest performance and steel snow prowess. Its pick is quite tapered for a lighter axe and was able to penetrate firm snow and ice surprisingly well relative to its weight. Even people comparing this with the Petzl Glacier Literide will notice that this model has a thinner pick better suited to daggering into the snow and ascending firmer slopes.


All of our testing team liked the slight bend in the Ride's shaft, which increased leverage on the head while self-arresting as well as climbing in low and mid-dagger positions while climbing.

The Ride was above average in its self-arresting ability  even when compared to non-ultralight models. Its pick struck a nice balance between providing security in steep terrain and also being able to execute a smooth self-arrest. The curved shaft gave its user better leverage when driving the pick in and pulling up on the shaft. The only real downside  which we found small  was that at 45cm it took marginally more effort to make the initial grab of the shaft compared to other models. Even our 6'4" testers managed to do it without much problem  but it was something everyone noticed.
The Ride was above average in its self-arresting ability, even when compared to non-ultralight models. Its pick struck a nice balance between providing security in steep terrain and also being able to execute a smooth self-arrest. The curved shaft gave its user better leverage when driving the pick in and pulling up on the shaft. The only real downside, which we found small, was that at 45cm it took marginally more effort to make the initial grab of the shaft compared to other models. Even our 6'4" testers managed to do it without much problem, but it was something everyone noticed.

After extensive side-by-side testing, we found that this model self-arrested the smoothest and the best overall of all the sub-12 ounce axes we tested.

The adze of the Ride was below average in performance overall  but better than a majority of ultralight models which all sport adze designs that are smaller than usual. The Ride's adze is small and is designed more for comfort in low-daggering position and ascending steep snow than it is for constructing T-slots and chopping out icy tent platforms.
The adze of the Ride was below average in performance overall, but better than a majority of ultralight models which all sport adze designs that are smaller than usual. The Ride's adze is small and is designed more for comfort in low-daggering position and ascending steep snow than it is for constructing T-slots and chopping out icy tent platforms.

Digging & Step Chopping


The Ride's adze is certainly smaller than most general mountaineering models, and in reality, a little less functional overall. Its adze is surprisingly sharp and thus more functional than other super-light models like the CAMP Corsa Nanotech and the CAMP Corsa, which both sport even smaller aluminum adzes. This is because the Ride can chip away at ice or firm snow far better than either of these models.


These characteristics are some of the main reasons the Ride is a more specialized weight-focused model perfect for ski mountaineering or alpine rock climbing but isn't as well suited to general or glacier mountaineering.

The Ride certainly won't weigh you down. Its minimal weight and compact length are the primary reasons to buy this axe. At 8.4 ounces is the second lightest model in our review and the lightest model to sport a steep pick and adze. Our staff appreciated its short 45cm length for alpine rock climbing and ski mountaineering because it could easily be stored inside your pack when it proved beneficial for the terrain.
The Ride certainly won't weigh you down. Its minimal weight and compact length are the primary reasons to buy this axe. At 8.4 ounces is the second lightest model in our review and the lightest model to sport a steep pick and adze. Our staff appreciated its short 45cm length for alpine rock climbing and ski mountaineering because it could easily be stored inside your pack when it proved beneficial for the terrain.

Use As Improvised Anchor


Despite the Ride's short length, it is quite suitable for use as an improvised anchor. Its CE-B rating means it is strong enough to be used as an improvised anchor for crevasse rescue or to use as a deadman while belaying other people up steep snow.


Its lack of a true spike and curved shaft means it isn't as easy to plunge vertically as other straight-shafted models. It has several holes in its head that easily accommodate a carabiner or sling that makes anchoring with it (or incorporating it into an anchor as a secondary piece) easy to do.

Steep Ice and Snow


The Ride provides security in steeper terrain far better than you'd expect from a sub-9 ounce ice axe. It features a heavily tapered positive curve steel pick that is designed to excel at climbing steep terrain and penetrating firm snow.


Even the angle of the adze is designed to position your hand in the perfect place while low-daggering/piolet panne into the snow more so than it is for chopping steps.

The Ride features a steel pick and adze and is the lightest such model in our review. Our entire review team was impressed at how well this model's more aggressive  positive curve pick bit into firm snow and ice. We felt it was even comparable to many general mountaineering models.
The Ride features a steel pick and adze and is the lightest such model in our review. Our entire review team was impressed at how well this model's more aggressive, positive curve pick bit into firm snow and ice. We felt it was even comparable to many general mountaineering models.

The slight curve of the Ride's shaft also helps the user get more leverage and thus better purchase while in mid-dagger/piolet appui positions. There's also the added benefit of keeping the user's hand slightly more out of the snow, thus staying warmer and drier, depending on conditions. We also liked the small grooves that are machined into the Ride's lower shaft.

This axe is geared toward adding security while ascending steeper slopes  right down to the angle of its adze  which is designed to position your hand comfortably while low-daggering into the snow more so than it is for chopping steps. Here  Jussi Tahtinen low-daggering his Ride while ascending slopes up to 50 degrees over the Pas de Chevre  Switzerland.
This axe is geared toward adding security while ascending steeper slopes, right down to the angle of its adze, which is designed to position your hand comfortably while low-daggering into the snow more so than it is for chopping steps. Here, Jussi Tahtinen low-daggering his Ride while ascending slopes up to 50 degrees over the Pas de Chevre, Switzerland.

While we typically would never imagine ourselves swinging the Ride like an ice tool (piolet traxion), we found ourselves doing it far more than expected; this is because the Ride is so light.

All of our testers appreciated this model's curved shaft and found it to be a boon over more traditional designs. Most notably  it provides better leverage when mid-daggering the axe in steeper terrain while also offering the advantage of keeping the user's hand warmer and drier. Also  while we would've never imagined we'd ever swing this model overhead like an ice tool  we employed this technique on several occasions as a way to help get better purchase with such a lightweight axe.
All of our testers appreciated this model's curved shaft and found it to be a boon over more traditional designs. Most notably, it provides better leverage when mid-daggering the axe in steeper terrain while also offering the advantage of keeping the user's hand warmer and drier. Also, while we would've never imagined we'd ever swing this model overhead like an ice tool, we employed this technique on several occasions as a way to help get better purchase with such a lightweight axe.

The weight is centered in the head, and we felt it was an easier way to get solid purchase in firmer conditions while pulling a small bergschrund or in a steep section while booting a couloir.

Some people may be deliberating between the Ride and the Gully (Petzl's ultralight tool more geared towards moderate to challenging water ice and steep snow). While these two models have vastly different pick designs and are slightly different weights (the Ride is around 1.5 lighter)  they share identical shafts.
Some people may be deliberating between the Ride and the Gully (Petzl's ultralight tool more geared towards moderate to challenging water ice and steep snow). While these two models have vastly different pick designs and are slightly different weights (the Ride is around 1.5 lighter), they share identical shafts.

Comfort to Carry


Like most European manufactured ice axes, the Ride is most comfortable in self-belay/piolet canne (pick forward) position but is the most comfortable sub 12-ounce axe to carry in self-arrest/pick backward position.


Petzl just removed all the teeth on the pick that are close to the adze, allowing for a smooth, comfortable place to hang on to. While this is a small design feature update, we certainly appreciated it.

The Ride was less comfortable than other models in self-arrest position  though average among the ultralight models. However  it was hardly uncomfortable  and we sometimes carried it for hours on end with thin gloves on.
The Ride was less comfortable than other models in self-arrest position, though average among the ultralight models. However, it was hardly uncomfortable, and we sometimes carried it for hours on end with thin gloves on.

The Ride is a perfect choice for alpine adventures where every ounce matters but the terrain isn't too technical. It's great for steep booters or assisting in technical descents while ski-mountaineering  approaching alpine rock climbs  or basic snow and glacier climbs. Here  the group packing their axes on the descent above Chamonix  France.
The Ride is a perfect choice for alpine adventures where every ounce matters but the terrain isn't too technical. It's great for steep booters or assisting in technical descents while ski-mountaineering, approaching alpine rock climbs, or basic snow and glacier climbs. Here, the group packing their axes on the descent above Chamonix, France.

Weight


At 8.4 ounces, the Ride is the lightest axe we tested to feature a steel head and one of the lightest overall. The only model that was lighter is the 100% aluminum CAMP Corsa (7.2 ounces), which isn't nearly as versatile and is only 1.2 ounces lighter.


The Ride is impressively lighter than the CAMP Corsa Nanotech (8.7 ounces), which is nearly entirely aluminum, save for a thin piece of steel riveted onto the end of its mostly aluminum pick.

In addition to its short length (45cm) and undersized adze  another reason this axe was able to achieve such a low weight was its spikeless design. Instead  it just features a 45-degree cut  though unlike other models  Petzl plugged the bottom to minimize snow filling up the shaft and adding weight.
In addition to its short length (45cm) and undersized adze, another reason this axe was able to achieve such a low weight was its spikeless design. Instead, it just features a 45-degree cut, though unlike other models, Petzl plugged the bottom to minimize snow filling up the shaft and adding weight.

The Ride can achieve fairly high performance with such a low weight thanks to a few design characteristics. It's only available in a 45cm length and is the shortest of any of the ultralight models we tested (not by much, as the other models are available in a 50cm length). The adze is undersized compared to most general mountaineering models, and its pick and adze are filled will holes. Despite all these things, we didn't feel like Petzl cut any corners when it came to its steep snow climbing performance or ability to self-arrest - two of the most important characteristics of an ice axe.

In self-belay/piolet canne position (pick forward)  the Ride's low volume head was a benefit and was easy to carry. Its adze design is more focused on carrying comfort than digging in the snow.
In self-belay/piolet canne position (pick forward), the Ride's low volume head was a benefit and was easy to carry. Its adze design is more focused on carrying comfort than digging in the snow.

Value


The Ride is in line with most other models with a similar, more weight-conscious design focus. It's also one of the lightest models to feature a steel pick and adze. Like all ultralight models, the Ride is versatile, and we found it to offer a higher level of versatility than any other sub-12 ounce model.

The Ride is one of the best priced "ultralight" models currently on the market  which is sweet because it is also one of the best performing. The Ride works well for more types of climbs and ski mountaineering descents than we initially expected  which is a testament to its overall versatility.
The Ride is one of the best priced "ultralight" models currently on the market, which is sweet because it is also one of the best performing. The Ride works well for more types of climbs and ski mountaineering descents than we initially expected, which is a testament to its overall versatility.

Conclusion


We like several of the different ultralight options for specific applications, but if we could only have one weight-conscious model, the Petzl Ride would be it. It's very nearly the lightest in the fleet, and still offers the highest across the board performance of any sub-12 ounce model we tested. It features the best combination of steep snow climbing performance, ability to self-arrest, and weight of any model. We could even pound the occasional snow-picket with it and would easily consider using it for basic glacier climbs, which is something that our testing team wouldn't consider doing with the majority of other ultralight axes.


Ian Nicholson