Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Nepal
Manufacturer Grivel
Page By julesblaidd
Page Type Feb 26, 2007 / Feb 26, 2007
Object ID 2697
Hits 11080

Product Description

The Nepal S.A. is a non-technical ice axe ideal for trekking, classic snow climbs, rental programs, and schools. The carbon-steel head features a classically inclined pick with teeth along half its length. The body and pick are hot, drop forged in one piece, then the stamped adze is welded to it. The Ergal shaft surpasses UIAA norms for strength and durability; it is coated with black, epoxy-based paint. Version with shaft S.A..

S.A. Shaft


Originally shafts were made in wood. This might make us smile today but all classical alpine endeavours and explorations were carried out with these tools, well deserving their part of the glory. The natural strength of wood, optimised with an elliptical shape, comfortable to hold but whose size couldn’t be reduced as this would automatically reduce the shaft’s strength. The new light alloys, from the aerospace industry used by Grivel make possible all sorts of shapes and sizes without reducing strength. This has produced the S.A. shaft. S.A. means “self arrest” - the possibility to brake a fall or even a simple slide by using the ice axe in the climber’s grip properly. To do this the ice axe must be held with the blade facing the slope so it can be plunged into the snow without having to turn it round. In other words the ice axe has to be held in the traditional way, blade facing forwards during the ascent. But on the way down the grip must be changed so that the blade is again facing the slope. If the climber falls it will be easy to grip the lower end of the shaft with the free hand and brake leaning his whole body weight against the ice axe. A test run on an easy slope helps to learn how to do it, ready for whenever it’s needed. But why is the shaft slightly curved rather than straight as normal? Again, the introduction of extremely strong and sophisticated materials has allowed us to change shapes to bring improvements, previously impossible. By gripping the shaft as described earlier, with the blade always facing the slope, a slightly curved shaft penetrates the snow at a better angle than a straight shaft, increasing its resistance to extraction. The resistance is always perpendicular to the plane of application of force so the geometry of a curved shaft is better than a straight one. This is true, as can be seen in the drawing, both when ascending and descending. The S.A. shaft brings together a series of advantages for the average climber who doesn’t want anything extreme but needs the safety advantages that Grivel’s new tool provides.





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julesblaidd - Feb 26, 2007 10:45 am - Voted 3/5

I have this kind of axe and I liked it until this winter. It is very strong tool and really very good work. The weigth of the axe is very good as well.
But the pick is very short. I had a chance to try some kind of ice axes to arrest a sliding and this Grivel Nepal was the loser. I tried a Stubai axe and I could stop myself in 2m but with my Nepal I could do that in 10m !!! And I tried it several times but the results were the same. :-(
So now I want to buy a more effective trekking axe. Grivel Nepal is dangerous.

camerona91 - Dec 3, 2007 9:56 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Hmmm...
The Grivel Nepal SA pick is as long as the other Grivel axes and is a fairly standard length. It is however a negative clearance pick, which could affect how it arrests on ice, although that is theoretical. I don't think the axe should be referred to as dangerous. Maybe you are just using it with poor technique or for a use it is not intended for.

delmarco - Feb 26, 2008 9:35 am - Voted 5/5

5 Star Axe!
I think you are using it wrong or you got yourself the wrong size. I've used Petzl and CAMP axes and the Grivel Nepal is the best of the lot for anyone who is a beginner or intermediate mountaineer. Also the Pro's and many rental companies use this axe (which is how I came to use it).
Just get "your" size since these come in several length selections and experts will all tell you their own rules for selection lengths. So it may get confusing and you end up with a really good axe that isn't worth anything when push comes to shove simple because it is too short or long for you.
Start out with a Petzl Snowwalker (rent or loan it if you can)since it has an adjustable length and play around with various lengths to get he lenght you are more comfortable with. Becareful though the Snowwalker is a glacial axe so don't go jumping off Everest with it to practice a self arrest.

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