Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Capra
Manufacturer SMC
Page By Rob Ricks
Page Type May 6, 2008 / May 6, 2008
Object ID 5297
Hits 4164

Product Description

We’ve named our newest axe the “Capra”, in recognition of the sure-footed mountain goats that inhabit the nearby Cascade Mountain range. Quite often seen at elevations of nearly 10,000 feet, these hardy animals spend most of their lives above the timberline and are well known for being extremely nimble on steep mountain faces of 60° or more.

One of the lightest weight axes in this category, the 65cm version tips the scale at a mere 16.08 ounces. Among the other more notable features of the Capra is the head and handle; both are completely new designs from SMC. The head fits more comfortably into the user’s hand helping to minimize the discomfort often associated with using a mountaineering axe for extended periods on time as on longer routes. While the overall weight of this axe is remarkably light, the axe features a full sized chromoly steel head and spike, not ones that were chopped off to save weight. The unique handle is designed to be easier to index in hand for surer placement and in self-arrest. Great balance and swing weight are hallmarks of this new axe. Every part of the Capra is an entirely new design and not only is it one of the most advanced axes on the market; it is manufactured entirely at the SMC factory in Ferndale, WA.


Weight: 16.08 oz (65cm)
Material: Chromoly Steel Head & Spike, Aluminum Handle
Strength: not yet rated

Available in lengths of 60cm, 65cm, 70cm, 75cm & 80cm. Special order required for 100cm.


The Capra is a result of more than 2 years of extensive design and field testing around the globe. Prototypes were used by experienced guides and other climbers in successful summits of such notable mountains as Mt. Everest, Mt. Vinson, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Adams. “There is very nice feel of the head of the axe in the palm when using in piolet canne,” professed Phil Ershler, International Mountain Guides Director and world-renowned guide. “We also noted that the spike was good, particularly when anchoring with the axe at a break. The flat design allows us to auger a bit with it when trying to get it into firm snow. I personally think that’s real important for this type of an axe.” Another IMG Guide Justin Merle used the Capra for 2 months on Mount Everest this spring. “It's a great lightweight mountaineering axe. It climbs well, is sturdy, light, and comfortable to carry” explained Merle. “Carrying an axe like this is the way to go on long mountaineering routes--it's light in the hands and you hardly know it's there when it's on your backpack. I had a couple of nice ice axes to choose from--in the end I took the Capra to the top of the world.”



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Rob Ricks - May 14, 2008 10:33 am - Voted 5/5

Seriously sleek
This is probably the most comfortable axe I've ever held. Very ergonomic grip with a shaft profile that imparts strength. Excellent swinging characteristics for ledge chopping and alpine ice work. The pick features a nice positive angle to promote easy penetration of ice and minimize fracturing. This is an excellent all-around mountaineering axe for serious climbing efforts. One of the best purchases I've made.

Rob Ricks - Oct 10, 2009 6:46 pm - Voted 5/5

Re: Seriously sleek
REI sells the Capra as a store brand known as the "Yeti". It's sold at a very good price and worth a hard look. RR

Brian C - Dec 14, 2010 8:53 pm - Voted 5/5

Was a present for my wife but when she stays home I steal this axe. It's lighter and more comfortable that many others.

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