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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.;

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