Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Raven
Manufacturer Black Diamond
Page By John
Page Type Apr 10, 2002 / Apr 10, 2002
Object ID 210
Hits 10204
This mountaineering axe has a 17-4 investment cast stainless steel head that was designed with both beauty and function in mind, this svelte piolet has a neutral-clearance pick which tapers back to a wasp-waisted platform. Finger notches on each side of her head make for a secure grip and allow for quick, smooth hand rotation when going into a self-arrest. The curved adze chops steps and clears snow and blasts ice with ease. It's also light and lithe—for the 7075-T6 extruded shaft cuts weight to a minimum without a sacrifice in strength. Available with or without grip.
  • Great piolet for alpine security and support
  • Stainless steel head is durable; 7075 shaft is light and strong
  • Steel spike has narrow width for speed and a wide profile for braking
Similar Products: Grivel Air Tech Racing, Grivel Pamir



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RescueU247 - May 28, 2002 4:29 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I absolutely love my Raven Ice ax! The grip is really comfortable and feels like its molded to your hand. Although lightweight, it is a very sturdy and reliable axe. I've used mine as a deadman and performed numerous arrests with it with no problems. Mine doesn't have the rubber on it though so I can't vouch for that model so I'll give it a strong 4 rating.

geoffcasey - Jul 30, 2002 11:41 am - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I really like my raven, especially when using thin gloves in warm weather as the contoured top fits nicely in the hand, though it's not as effective with heavy mitts on. It plunges well I have used it in high dagger position on steep(er) hard snow and ice and did not have any problems. I think the pick could be a little sharper.

tbnelson - Oct 14, 2002 8:55 am - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
Good basic ice axe. Relatively light and seems well constructed.

Dean - Nov 12, 2002 9:27 am - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
For years I have used the MSR thunderbird iceaxe (the orange one designed by Larry Penberthy) and it not only served as my ice axe but was also my walking stick.

Then my knees started giving me some problems and I shifted to trekking poles and felt the MSR ice axe much too heavy to haul around on my pack so I started looking for an ice axe that would be durable and yet light enough to be able to ride along without weighting me down. I didn't want an aluminum ice axe and when I saw the Raven, I felt I had found the one that filled my needs.

I am happy with the design of this axe and it seems well made. I like the way it fits in my hand and the fact it only weighs 17 oz. I too feel the pick's point could be sharper and since I didn't buy the one with the leash (ah well), I made my own. I haven't had to use it for self arrest yet so the jury is still out on that aspect (the most important one of course) and for now, I'm very content with my purchase.

dsnell - Aug 5, 2003 11:30 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
I bought my Raven last year for a trip to Iztaccihuatl. For years, I had been using the REI generic Ice Axe with the stamped (not forged) head, which was heavy and clunky.

The Raven is a world better than my old REI axe. The forged head feels my stronger and fits nicely in my hand. The axe is so light that you barely feel it while climbing.

Erik Beeler - Nov 17, 2003 9:49 am - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
Good over all axe. Not the lightest but well priced. Be aware there are two head designes out there right now being sold side by side. One has a point that has a negative angle, it points back at the shaft, the other is more parallel to the shaft. The parrallel point is better at self arresting a fall. The other seems to be better at over head placements so pick the one that best meets your needs. At some point the negative one will be sold out and you will probably only be able to find the parallel one.

The heads are rated to 2000 lbs and are pull tested to 1000 on every one that goes out the door so you know they are strong.

scottfromcali - Dec 26, 2003 7:34 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
love this axe, light, made very well, durable as it is a BD product. I actually choose this over the Raven Pro as it is a bit heavier (which is a plus in my mind, but still light comparied to others). The Pro's adze is half as long and much narrower. I can't see it being very useful to chop steps. The Pro's very light weight definitely make it a plus for those weight conscious or high altitude climbers. The engineer who designed the head of the axe needs a well deserved raise. Very ergonomic in design, it’s as if it just conforms to your hand as you grasp it.

Haliku - Feb 8, 2004 11:33 am - Voted 3/5

Untitled Review
I used a teammates BD Raven on Rainier Sept 03. It held up well for the basic snow skills but lacked in its use around camp. Chopping a tent platform required a lot of energy and to make matters worse the pick broke while braking up glacier ice! We used it as a tent anchor for the rest of the week. I've never had a BD item so obviously fail before thus the 3 star rating. If you want BD go for the Raven Pro instead.

nguy33 - Nov 11, 2004 7:48 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
This is a nice all around axe. Well priced, not too heavy, and bites well. I wish the adze was larger--chopping snow is a bit tough, and i guess i prefer a broader head. Otherwise, no real complaints.

Trevor Simmons - Dec 8, 2004 5:12 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
This axe is slightly heavier then it's silver twin, but also $30 cheaper. The axe has a solid pick and seems to be very well made. The value of this axe is hard to beat! You can't go wrong with it.

kjkrow - Mar 1, 2005 5:35 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
This axe is great for a cheaper alternative to the Raven Pro or some Grivel entries. It is still very light and feels great in your hand. Of all the axes I considered purchasing, the two BD entries had the most comfortable and natural feeling head of any axe.

So far, the axe has worked great and has been durable. For general mountaineering, I would recommend this axe, despite the smallish adze.

bigwilly - Apr 15, 2005 3:42 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
Cheap but very durable. Heavier than some other costlier models but still very manageable. A great deal.

Ed F - Jul 31, 2005 6:13 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
This is a great ice axe for most types of general mountaineering. Study enough for a good belay or self arrest, and light enough that you don't even notice it on your pack.

travisgollaher - Oct 3, 2005 3:48 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
I came to know the Raven because of a friend who has had one for years. He recomended it to me while on a climb in the Alps. I became desiorus to have one of my own so I bought the 70cm. I am now planing to purchase a second one for full body climbing and as a spare for easer climbs while introducing friends to mountaineering. I am happy with the comfort and the price. I am a big Black Diamond fan.

Scott Dusek - Nov 4, 2005 11:04 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
Great Axe. comfortable axe in hand, especially cane position because of the large surface area of the head. #1 recommended general mountaineering axe.

DBaker - Nov 22, 2005 4:07 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
My first, and favorite axe.

The Black Diamond Raven is inexpensive, light, and functional. I bought one of these as my first axe, and it served me well, making approximately 3 dozen summits over the course of 9 months or so. The bottom spike became downright blunt after a while, but that was easily solved with some careful filing. The shaft has lost some paint, but being that this axe is made out of stainless steel and aluminium, it has not rusted or lost strength.

I sold my raven to a friend of mine so that I could upgrade to a Grivel Airtech Evolution, and frankly I miss my raven. If the raven doesn't seem "technical" enough for your taste, I'd suggest the Black Diamond Venom, as it shares a number of similarities with the raven (Materials and fabrication methods, mostly).

Blair - Jan 21, 2007 1:27 am - Voted 5/5

My first love...
always loved her. I love my Raven Ultra too... Just dont tell Raven!

rasgoat - Jan 28, 2007 4:55 am - Voted 5/5

All of the above
Can't say a bad thing about this axe.

CubicleSlave - Feb 21, 2007 7:29 am - Voted 5/5

Good for newbie
I bought this for my first year of mountaineering and it's been great. Inexpensive. A little heavier than the pro, but still works just great.

BSPclimber - Apr 9, 2007 6:08 pm - Hasn't voted

I love my new Raven. So much lighter than my old Camp axe, seems very durable as well.

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