This is a solid axe for trekking and for some reasonable mountaineering as well. It's sturdy as all get out, and though I've never had to use the grip in a self-arrest situation, it is pretty nice if you have to start swinging the axe, as is the leash. They both save some juice on those long pitches of rime. That said, as a tool rather than an axe, it leaves something to be desired, but for most cascade routes, combining one of these with a BD Venom hammer will do you right. The only real downside is that its a few ounces heavier than some other axes, and while it's not that much alone, these things do add up.