If there is one huge advantage that Simond axes offer the climber it is their lightness. In the case of its technical tools, Simond have a patented design that allows the pick and adze/hammer attachments to be directly bolted to the shaft, eliminating the need for a heavy steel section at the top of the shaft. A lighter axe will save you energy as you swing your way up and up and up Zurbriggen's Ridge and keep your swing true when 30 m up that unrelenting ice pitch.
Simond Ocelot Hyper Light - alpine trampingTry our demo axe
The Simond Ocelot Hyper Light is a classic walking axe for alpine tramping in the Southern Alps and winter ascents of Mts Ruapehu and Taranaki. It is specifically designed for plunging into snow while climbing snowslopes and for self-arresting in the event of a fall. If you are old-school, you can use it for boot-axe belays and cutting steps. The adze and pick are steel, and despite the Ocelot Hyper Light being a "basic" ice axe, its pick is suitable for climbing the odd section of ice. The shaft is aluminium to save weight, with the 60-cm version weighing 440 g. There are 60-cm and 68-cm versions.
Ocelot Hyper Light NZ$115
Simond 820 MXC - general mountaineeringTry our demo axe
The Simond 820 MXC is Simond's premier mountaineering axe. It has a one-piece hot-forged stainless steel pick and adze. Despite the pick being classically curved (rather than reverse curved), the pick is aggressive and performs well in ice. The 820 MXC has a carved (pinched) shaft that provides moderate clearance when ice climbing; this clearance sets your knuckles back from the ice so that they take less of a battering, and it allows the pick to reach over the top of ice buldges. Importantly for a general mountaineering axe, the bend is high enough on the shaft that it doesn't prevent you plunging the shaft into snow. The axe comes with a durable rubber grip and a leash. The entire axe is bomber, and given the maximum UIAA T-rating (which means you can subject it to all kinds of abuse in the mountains). The 820 MXC is so beautifully crafted you'll cry when it gets its first scratch.
As mentioned, the pick and adze are hot-forged stainless steel. The stainless steel used by Simond is stronger and remains sharper than the chromoly steel typically used for picks. The materials geeks out there will know that there are different grades of stainless steel, some very soft and some exceptionally hard. The hardness rating of the stainless steel used by Simond is 48 HRc (versus 44 HRc for chromoly steel). Despite its strength, the stainless steel is also resilient, which means that when overloaded it slightly bends to reduce the chance of breaking.
What does this mean for you as a climber? It means your pick is better able to remain sharp for your whole climb, even after you have swung and ground it into rock for several pitches. Furthermore, it means you don't have to sharpen your pick several times a season, and this will dramatically lengthen the lifetime of your pick.
The 60-cm version of the 820 MXC that we sell weighs 550 g.
820 MXC with leash NZ$230
Simond Naja - technical mountaineering and ice climbingTry our demo pair
The Simond Naja is an axe/hammer for climbing technical mountain routes and for ice and mixed climbing. By "technical", we mean any route that you would expect to be on the front points of your crampons and swinging your axes above your head.
The greatest advantages of the Naja are apparent the moment you pick it up - namely its weight and balance. First, there is the sheer enjoyment of swinging the Naja axe. We have yet to find an axe that is as well balanced as the Naja, and it simply feels like the most natural extension of the human arm. Second, the Naja axe is light (600 g) - lighter even than some carbon-fibre axes on the market. This means that the old days of tiring half-way up an ice climb have gone. Despite the Naja's lightness, there is no need to swing the axe harder to get the pick to penetrate. (In fact, common feedback is that the Naja requires less of a swing.) So, irrespective of whether you are a great burly guy or petite female, you will benefit from the lightness of Naja tools.
Like all Simond technical tools, the Naja has a carved (pinched) shaft that adds a lot to the performance of the tool; for example, it gives you more clearance for swinging over ice bulges and it reduces vibrations running through the shaft that would disrupt the ice.
The bi-material grip of the Naja comprises rubber emerging from within the shaft metal. The result is a thin, yet durable, grip that you can easily hang from. The dual-mode Trac'Up leash is without peer. It has an ice climbing mode (one-handed release, you don't even need your teeth, and it is far superior to a detachable leash) and a traditional mountaineering mode (more secure).
Like all Simond technical tools, the forged pick is thick where it attaches at the shaft for strength and tapers thin at the tip so it displaces (shatters) little ice when swung. As mentioned previously, you may have to teach yourself not to swing so hard when first using the Najas; the pick enters the ice so easily. The front teeth are semicircular (rather than saw-tooth), which reduces the chance of the thin tip of the pick cracking, and bevelled so the pick can be quickly pulled up and out of the ice (saving you energy when on the steep stuff).
Naja axe with Trac’Up leash NZ$280
Simond Anaconda - technical mountaineering and ice climbingTry our demo pair
The Simond Anaconda is an axe/hammer for climbing technical mountain routes and for ice and mixed climbing. It differs from the Simond Naja in that you can configure it for your style of winter alpinism. Specifically, the Anaconda can be used in conjunction with its detachable Power Trac leash on technical mountaineering routes, or it can be set up for leashless climbing.
When leashless climbing, the leash is detached and a second finger rest is attached to the grip to allow the swapping of hands. You screw the second finger rest into the handle to customise the setup precisely; ideally, the second finger rest sits between the first and second fingers, although some prefer it to sit above the first finger if they typically wear mitts. The adze/hammer attachment can be removed (which requires the insertion of a plate into the head of the axe) for safety on sport routes.
The Simond Anaconda axe weighs 600 g.
Anaconda axe with Power Trac leash NZ$320
Simond Ocelot Hyperlight ski-mountaineering axe
Simond's "sawn-off" 50-cm Ocelot Hyperlight axe is designed for skiing when there is little or no serious climbing involved; that is, a trip where the emphasis is skiing in the mountains. The axe weighs only 345 grams.
Ocelot Hyperlight ski-mountaineering axe NZ$115
Simond Ice Axe Leashes
The Simond Long Leash (pictured) is for the Simond Ocelot Hyper Light or any axe you may already own, and costs NZ$20.
The Trac’Up leash is also available for a technical tool that you already own (see the description for the Naja axe), and costs NZ$40.