The Petzl Ride is one of the latest additions to Petzl's newly designed line of ice tools. I was initially drawn to the incredible scale weight but over the months found myself appreciating many of the subtle nuances of this axe. Billed as a ski mountaineering or glacier travel tool, the Petzl Ride weighs in at only 240g and is only available in a 45cm length.
Plunging and Self-Arrest
Machined grip at the head features slight grooves to sit naturally in the hand and the adze tapers slightly at the junction of the shaft, making it very comfortable in the hand. If anything, the comfortable hand position and the light weight almost made me forget I was carrying it for a while and I was worried I'd loosen my grip and drop it. But this made the tool very natural in the hand for plunging. Granted at only 45cm it found it's best use when traversing steep slopes, kicking up coilours or down climbing on snow. The bevelled spike cut into hard pack fairly easily and certainly up to he standard I'd expect from an aluminum shaft. It lacked the ease of shall we say, a hot forged Grivel spike but that should be expected at less than half the weight of a burlier classic piolet.
The narrower neck at the adze helped easily flip the tool into self arrest position and the curved shaft nestled nicely into the nook of my chest, further improving the position and leverage. The angles appear well designed.
Swinging and Stabbing
The Petzl Ride is first and foremost a mountaineering piolet. It is primarily intended for use in snow and those seeking an alpine ice climber should look elsewhere. That said, the all steel pick, beginning at 4mm and tapering down to 3mm penetrated relatively dense ice with ease and is ample for surmounting short ice bulges and the like. Gripping the tool in "piolet appui" posution and punching into hard pack snow was also posibile albeit with some difficulty. But the classic curve to the pick is not optimized for swinging, nor would I beleive the pick to last prolonged abuse. If the ability to swing more is important to you, I'd suggest exploring the Petzl Gully, which features the identical shaft but uses the same pick steel as the line of technical tools from Petzl.
After one summer of use, I suspect the durability of the Petzl Ride is exactly what it should be for an aluminum tool of its stature. It is important to remember that specialized pieces of kit like this will simply not take the intended abuse that a more robust option will. That said, I've hit rocks, scraped chimneys, plunged into scree and hauled on the shaft making a deadman's and my Petzl Ride is showing no signs for the worse, save a few scratches on the shaft.
|Shaft Material||7075 Series Aluminum|
|Pick Material||Tempered Steel|
I've grown extremely fond of lightweight direction Petzl has taken with their newest line. For ski or general mountaineering, or fast and light summer alpinism, pretty much anything orange from Petzl is the way to go and the Ride is no exception. For me, the standout features are, first and foremost, the weight but secondly the ability to fit the entire tool inside an 18L backpack. Frankly, if you're ever debating the need to bring a tool, you lose all excuses for not by owning a Petzl Ride. While this tool won't do everything, it has become and will remain a mainstay in my kit.
Pros: Just about the lightest piolet around, compact, comfortable, easy plunging and self arrest.
Cons: Not durable enough for general mountaineering or prolonged swinging.
Where To Buy
For those in the Bow Valley, they're available at Vertical Addiction.