I'm 5' 6" and have a 65 cm, and a 68 cm. If the potential user is planning on 40 degree slopes, those heights are fairly good. If s/he is doing lots of low-angle glacier travel, the shorter axes will seem obnoxious. Really steep, shorter is desirable.
In "the old days" taller axes were more common. Nowadays, my main uses of an axe are self-belays (which favor a right-sized axe), and the potential for self-arrests, in which a short axe is likely better. I also use my axe to smack snow off my crampons and occasionally dig steps, when a longer axe seems more useful.
If you are taking both trekking poles and an axe, a shorter axe is OK.
Last edited by MoapaPk
on Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.