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Lighten your load.

Black Diamond built the Raven Ultra Ice Axe for fast-and-light alpine routes and technical ski mountaineering. Even though it weighs only 12oz in a 50cm length, the Raven Ultra is still completely functional and easily stands up to the abuse alpine tools take on a regular basis. Unlike those other lightweight axes, this one still includes a full steel head and pick, so you're not trying to stop your slide with a soft piece of aluminum.

  • Ultralight design without giving away the steel head and pick
  • Classic shape works well for traditional and ski mountaineering

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Here's what others have to say...

What size should I get?

So for a versatile size, measure the distance between the tip of your middle finger while at your side and the malleolus of your ankle. This will provide the most versatile size for you.

If you intend to be on steeper terrain mostly, then you can use a shorter axe, if you are going to be on more moderate flatter terrain then a longer axe will suit you better.

You can call or email me directly. 801-736-6398, or


Get a grip

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

I had a particular intimate session with this axe during a day of guiding in the Argentine Andes outside of Bariloche. We were exiting the Valle Van Titter after a night's stay at Refugio Frey. The melt-freeze conditions we experienced over the last few days made the steep exit a bit tricky, but I felt confident pulling this piece out of my pack. I'm 5'5" and the 50cm worked perfect for me. I plunged this axe into the frozen surface hundreds of times on our 1,500 vertical foot ascent to the ridge. It's featherweight and bomber construction kept my arms fresh and my mind at ease. Now, I never leave on a big alpine ski tour without it. Especially in spring conditions!


worth the extra bucks

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

The raven is a nice starter axe, but for anything alpine, rather than slog, the ultra is the ticket in a 50, 55, or 60 (the longest you'd want). Remarkable swing for how light it is, and the angled tip goes in better on steep stuff than a more traditional point. Slightly larger holes on the head would be good for rescue, but they still fit webbing and a smaller biner so work in a pinch. Combined with a lighter ice tool you have a perfect combo for short vertical ice bits.


Raving about the Raven

    This is the perfect ski mountaineering Ice Tool. It's light, but not too light and cheap like some of the super lightweight axes. I've knocked the adze off one of the cheap aluminum types while chopping out tent anchors. It's burly enough for anything I'd like to ski, but obviously not most ideal for steep ice. Seems like you could work through small sections with it. Big fan of this crucial piece of equipment.

    Raving about the Raven

    Hey, Noah! Love catching up with you guys every year at New Belgium. Quick question: what size axe do you go with?


    Bomber, Light

    • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

    held up very well after numerous snow climbs - incredibly sturdy for such a light weight - cant imagine needing anything heavier/stronger than this for any snow climb. Realistically not for ice; pick designed for self arrest/upward progress in snow, not sharp/aggressive enough for steeper ice.


    Every Ounce Counts

    • Gender:Female

    11.5oz of sheer awesome. All my friends want one.

    This my weapon of choice for high country of the PCT.


    A good Tool to have

    • Familiarity:I've used it several times

    The Raven Ultra Ice Axe is not the perfect climbing tool - but if you like to go up steep or sketchy side hill spots, while summiting peaks to snowboard/ski down than this is a great tool to have with you. Light weight and reliable



      Perfect tool for the just in case moments. Fits nicely in or on pack. Its a snow tool plain and simple.


      Perfect ski mountaineering tool

        The Raven Ultra is the perfect ice tool for lightweight ski mountaineering. For me, every ounce counts when Im trying to shred down a steep committing line and maybe catch some air time. Its nice a small so I dont have to worry about it spearing me in the head when its on my pack.

        How doe BD measure the length of these? ...

        How doe BD measure the length of these? Is it from the top of the axe to the point at the bottom, or is it the length of the handle. Trying to figure out what size mine is, and I don't have any of the paperwork for it.

        Best Answer

        Spoke to Black Diamond about how they measure the length. They told me it was from the very top of the axe head to the very tip of the bottom. They said it should be 2 cm shorter than the advertised length. So my 55 cm axe should actually measure 53 cm. They said they do this to incorporate an effectual swing weight, so that when you are swinging it and using it, it will feel like you have 55cm there. Similar to running length on skis, where even though it says 185cm its closer to 170cm.

        i'm looking for a light weight axe for...

        i'm looking for a light weight axe for general mountaineering, i'm on the fence between this one, and the grivel haute route, which is only 11.2 oz and has a proper steel point at the botom. however the adze seems to be very small so I don't know if it's functional or not. Does anyone know how the two axes compare?

        Honestly I would not consider either for general mountaineering. The Grivel has a negative pick angle, which makes it useless if you had to deal with steep ice. The Raven has more general purpose pick and adze but the lack of real spike can be a problem in some situations.

        I've never used it, but it looks like a self-arrest would be difficult without the proper spike.

        Best Answer

        Unsure what's meant by 'proper spike.' To avoid death, keep spike out of snow while self-arresting.


        Perfect for Ski Mountaineering

          Super light, Super simple design. No frills, no extras. Great tool.

          I want to buy an ice axe for my son. He...

          I want to buy an ice axe for my son. He is 5'9", 150 # and will use it for climbing. How do you decide which length to buy?

          Is he ice climbing? Because this is more of a mountaineering axe. Its usually used on steep ascents up mountains and such. I would reccomend the 55cm length. In my experience its more of a hassle to have a axe thats too short than too long.

          Agreed, perhaps even longer if you can better describe his intent of use. Time of year? Location? Duration? Purpose?

          Best Answer

          Depends what the use is for - generally, error on the side of shorter. If he is going to use where there is a little climbing involved, go with a slightly more technical tool as the BD Venom. You can always double up for a more technical setup down the road.

          Generally, there is not "set" size as body types differ - how you measure is boots on - it should be approximately the length between the tips of your fingers and the floor when standing with your arms at your sides - measured in centimeters. Some people like to test this with a stick cut to length before buying to make sure they are comfy with the length.

          Remember too - there are options from Petzl that double as an adjustable "trekking pole" depending on use.

          Summit fever

          Summit fever

          Axe in hand summit ahead. Selkirk range B.C


          Light weight but...

            Used this on Mt. Hood last weekend. Light weight and sturdy. The pick and adze worked well and the length was fine. Only thing I didn't like is that it doesn't have a steel spike. The shape of the aluminum spike isn't bad, but it takes extra effort to get a good grip in the snow.


            A sweet, no hassle tool

              When it comes to "piolets" the Raven is pretty much perfect. Light, balanced, no-frills. The 50 cm version is perfect for ski mountaineering in the Alps when you need a handy tool on your pack but might not use it all the time. When spring steep skiing season hits don't be left wondering why you didn't invest in a proper tool... get the Raven!

              The Raven is an entirely different axe... 4-5 heavier than the Raven Ultra.


              Great Balance, Great Tool

                Noticeably lighter than the other mountaineering axes I've used, though still seems stout enough to take years of abuse. The polished steel head and orange shaft look great, too. Just wish I had it on Saturday for the climb up Superior. If you're looking for a mountaineering axe, I wouldn't hesitate on buying this one.