OUR TAKE When it came to backcountry missions with unpredictable snow conditions, we had no qualms about packing the Ride. “I kept it lashed to the outside of my ski pack all season because it’s so light and small,” says one Colorado tester. “Sometimes I wouldn’t end up using it, but I appreciated having it when the snow was harder than expected or when I wanted to make a quick anchor.” Think of it like a compromise between a proper ice axe and a Whippet: It’s more convenient than the former and more useful than the latter. (It’s sturdy enough for self-arrests.) The Ride uses a steel head and has a curved aluminum shaft for improved handling, but the swing weight is low, so chopping through boilerplate requires muscle. Note: At 45 centimeters long, the Ride is too short for long approaches or glacier travel; its best use is fast-and-light ascents.
TRAIL CRED “The tapered end penetrated alpine-start snow without issue,” says one tester who used the Ride on the northeastern face of Mt. Shasta. “And when we switched to ski poles, it nestled against my small summit pack without towering above the toplid.” $110; 8.5 oz.; petzl.com