Steady Choppin'

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Light makes right in the alpine, but there’s no shortcutting with your axe — when it’s time to sink the pick or self-arrest, all must be bomber. The PETZL SUM’TEC ($175, nicely marries the two concepts in a technical mountain axe that’s also a fl yweight: 17.1oz for the 52cm shaft, 17.8 for the 59cm. The slightly curved shaft is stonker extruded aluminum, with a quick-adjust (fl ip a lever, it slides up and down) TRIGREST hand rest. Meanwhile, the ergonomic adze has a tilt for piolet-canne usage, and the curved, interchangeable pick (3.5mm thick) sinks solidly into ice and hooks rock steadily. This is a mountaineering axe of the highest order — it carries well and weighs nearly nada.

—Matt Samet