CAMP Corsa Nanotech ice axe

CorsananoWhen light is right, CAMP has proven they are the go-to guys. The bigger players in backcountry hardware have followed their lead in the past few years, releasing ultralight crampons, axes and more, but CAMP is still a great benchmark.

We've been using their Corsa Nanotech axe for years now. They took their Corsa ice axe, added a curve to the shaft and a steel pick and spike. This adds negligibly to the weight of otherwise all-aluminum axe, which now tips the scales at all of 8.7oz. About the only way it's going to get any lighter is to fill the shaft with helium.

Available in 50, 60 and 70cm lengths, we like the shorty for a number of applications. As a safety axe for scrambling, the Corsa Nanotech won't weigh you down when it spends most of the trip riding on your pack. As a tool for short sections of more technical ascent, e.g. the 2,000 feet of 50 to 60 degree snow and ice in the Chicken Couloir on Denali's West Rib, it likewise saves the weight during the other two weeks you're on the mountain. The pick is aggressive enough for this type of climbing, and at just over a pound for a pair the weight is certainly attractive.

The curved shaft makes it handle like a tool, and the grip-strip really does its thing. Chopping steps, plunging and otherwise banging it about in the Chugach front range didn't seem to loosen anything up, so we're confident that it's good for the long term. It's not going to sink effortlessly into bulletproof alpine ice, but for its intended applications its a great piece of kit.

$159.00 at




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