Camp Corsa Ice Axe
This proper winter has made me think a lot about the kit that I routinely just carried for many a winter but not fully used. My Camp Corsa ice axe is one such item.
This is my third ice axe. Like most folk I started with the Grivel Munro but I really didn't know what to do with it. So I went on a Winter Skills Course with Kendal Mountaineering Services to give me the basics and build my confidence up on dealing with stuff in winter. The first thing I did after that course was go out and buy a new ice axe as my trusy Grivel at 70cm was too long for me to comfotably self arrest. Lots of research and talking to friends lead to the DMM Crque being axe number 2 in my arsenal. For me this is the hard man of my ice axes and ceratinly ticked all the boxes for what I needed it to do and more. Using it was a pleasure too.
Then a wee birdie started going on about these lovely lightweight ice axes. I started thinking about how many times I had the axe in my hand as compared to carrying it on the pack. Milder winters now, I might be as well carrying an axe less than half the weight of my trusty Cirque. In came axe number 3, the Camp Corsa. It's the lightest ice axe in the world at 205g so perfect if you end up carrying it a lot.
Mmm, what's this now, a proper winter :-) We've had snow and ice sice before Christmas so the pointy toys have been in use a lot. The Camp Corsa has been a star. I have a 60cm one so length wise it's perfect for walking. I gave it a work out with self arrest when I first got it as I wanted to make sure it would do the job with no issues. So far I've not had to use it for real but have every confidence in it if I need it. It holds very well in the hand and being so light you hardly know it's there. It doesn't have a grip on the shaft so goes into the snow fairly easily. The adze is on the smaller side compared to the Cirque or Munro but don't let that fool you. It does really well in cutting steps and digging out. I've not had to use the pick in anger but I did have a wee play with it when we went to Steall Falls and was impressed at how it dug in. It officially gets a B rating for the shaft which means it will do for an emergency belay, the same as the Munro whereas the Cirque is T rated. Not surprising really as it is a technical axe.
Not once have I felt this winter that I needed to have my hard man axe with me instead of the Corsa so I suspect it shall continue to be my axe of choice when I'm walking the hills in winter. If I'm ever brave enough to do more technical stuff the Cirque will be out but til then the beast will stay in the hoose.