Snow Sculptor: Camp X-Lite Ice Axe


When you’re going light and fast in the mountains, shaving ounces counts. The CAMP X-LITE ($150, barely registers on the scales at 10 ounces, but it’s perfectly balanced whether you’re swinging its futuristic aluminum head into alpine ice or plunging its steel spike into the snow as you kick your way up a peak. After five days in Idaho’s Marshall Basin, one tester said, “It’s ultra-light with a good adze size for digging two-foot snow anchor trenches in hard pack, and the ergonomic head shape was easy to hold onto, so my hands didn’t fatigue.” This axe’s sculpted head is not as durable as a steel pick and adze, but testers were willing to trade some durability for weight, and the pick chomped effectively into snow for self arrests and technical snow climbing. Available in three sizes: 50, 55, 60 cm. —Berne Broudy