The Seattle Manufacturing Company (SMC) Capra ice axe is a great value for a fantastic general mountaineering axe. It is one of the most comfortable axes to carry and performs great when self-arresting. As a result of the large, wide head (presumably to help with comfort while carrying) it was especially easier to "spin" for self-belay to self-arrest during our tests. The Capra is named after the sure-footed mountain goats of the Cascades.
This is a good ice axe for climbers on a budget who do general mountaineering and snow climbing routes. It is one of the best self-arresting ice axes we tested. It performs wonderfully at digging anchors and tent platforms even in firm snow. The slight drawbacks are that it is harder to clip the head and also that it has average snow and ice performance. But for short sections, it can get the job done. It is made in the USA and the Black Diamond and CAMP are not.
See how the Capra compared to all of the products tested in our Best Ice Axe review.
The SMC Capra has been updated slightly. These changes are aesthetic - including a new color and new decals. All other features remain the same.January 2019