Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

OR - Black Diamond Raven Pro by Joe Schaffer

Expand Messages
  • never2muchstuff
    Thank you for your kindly attention and edits!
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 5, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      Thank you for your kindly attention and edits!

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20Black%20Diamond%20Raven%20Pro%20by%20Joe%20Schaffer/


      Black Diamond Raven Pro
      OWNER REVIEW

      by Joe Schaffer

      July 15, 2013

      TESTER INFORMATION:
      NAME: Joe Schaffer
      EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
      AGE: 65
      GENDER: Male
      HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
      WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
      HOME: Hayward, California USA

      I frequent California's central Sierras, camping every month; up to 95 nights a year; about half the time solo. I work part time at an outdoor store. As a comfort camper I lug tent, mattress, chair, etc. Summer trips last typically a week to 10 days; 40 lbs (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000' to 7,000' (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 55 lbs (25 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes.

      The Product:
      Manufacturer: Black Diamond
      Web site: www.blackdiamondequipment.com
      Product: Raven Pro Ice Axe
      Purchased: 2008

      My measures:
      Weight: 14.75 oz (418 g)
      Length: 70 cm

      Factory specs (from website):
      Weight: 13 oz (362 g)
      Length: 50 cm

      MSRP: $99.95 US
      Product Description:

      The Raven Pro features a stainless steel head and spike with an aluminum shaft offered in 5 cm-increment lengths from 50 to 75 cm. The forged head has one hole (current model has two) immediately above the shaft large enough to accommodate leash, rope or carabiner. The spike and heel also have one hole. The head's heel and serrated pick carry sharpened edges.

      Field conditions:

      I've grubbed my way up 14,169' (4,319 m) Mt. Shasta (California, USA; Avalanche Gulch route) three times with this axe; over rock, hard snow and ice. The most recent trip in June, 2013, offered treacherous amounts of rime ice from 12,000' (3,600 m) providing significantly more challenge than I'd had in mind when I started the trip. On the pitch shown in the photo below, the ice was brittle enough my crampons wouldn't hold well and for one long moment I found the Raven Pro my only resistance to gravity.

      Observations:

      I am by no measure a climber. My observations may be relevant for casual hikers who eschew technical work but don't shy from a bit of snowy declivity. My impressions relate to the less-technical end of this product category.

      My first summit trip I opted for the lightest axe in the world and discovered to my chagrin that no matter how much force I endeavored to muster, the head lacked any inertia to carry the pick safely into ice. Next on a Whitney (California, USA) trip I switched to a much heavier model. Though I didn't have solid ice this time, I couldn't seem to tease out the right touch for hard snow. I buried the heavy axe too deeply nearly every swat and spent too much energy extracting it. I find the mid-weight Raven Pro a perfect balance. Exhausted as I usually am by the time I get to altitudes where the nasty slick more often resides, the Raven Pro will drive into solid ice. And yet where the snow has merely settled into a firm freeze, I can sink the Raven Pro with a dainty plunk into the crunch without inadvertently burying the head to the hozel. The somewhat straighter pick also requires less extraction effort.

      The spike is sharp enough I can plunge the shaft easily into hard snow. At 13,000' (4,000 m) it becomes fairly clear to the foggy mind that easier repetitions of sinking the shaft become torture in a less immediate time frame.

      I've encountered several stretches of rock where an axe makes a passable cane; and I prefer a longer shaft for this reason. I find the Raven Pro's trim neck and arch fit my hand very nicely; and the spike bites well on rock.

      In the range of simple axes, this one's a bit more pricey than my maybe-I-should-just-rent frame of mind likes to contemplate. I don't go that often. But when I add up what it does cost to approach a mountain hike and how much I need every advantage to increase my chances of making the summit, the extra bit of price spike seems more than prudent.

      Should I ever require extraction, I think it most important to have clean underwear and a cool ice axe. The bright and shiny stainless steel of the Raven Pro meets my specification here. It looks to me like it's made for business without being at all pretentious in a suggestion that I'm more ruggedly adventurous than proven in my exploits (or underwear).

      Raven Pro quick shots:

      a) Light
      b) Efficient
      c) Not cheap
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 10, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely manner. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben(at)hotmail.com

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.

        Once your first two Owner Reviews have been approved and you have submitted your Tester Agreement you will be eligible to start applying for Tests. If you'd like more assistance or guidance with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to Jenn K., the mentor coordinator, at mentor (at) backpackgeartest.org.

        You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group. These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered carefully, and if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your review. Incorporating member edits and re-submitting to the list
        will usually result in a better review, as well as making things easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject line of your re-submitted review if you take this route or make any
        changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit Moderator.

        Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they will use APPROVED in the subject line.

        If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR while it's in the edit queue, the entire Owner Review Queue is posted to this yahoo group list on either Thursdays or Fridays.

        If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask via the list or contact me directly.

        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Editors Team Director
      • Ray
        Hi Joe, Thanks for the OR of an axe I know well. I have a few edits for you and then it can go with the other Raven Pro reviews at: Reviews Snow Gear Axes
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 13, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Joe,

          Thanks for the OR of an axe I know well. I have a few edits for you and then it can go with the other Raven Pro reviews at:

          Reviews > Snow Gear > Axes and Shovels > Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe

          Ray



          ***The Raven Pro features a stainless steel head and spike with an aluminum shaft offered in 5 cm-increment lengths from 50 to 75 cm.

          EDIT: need the Imperial conversions (inches)




          *** My observations may be relevant for casual hikers who eschew technical work but don't shy from a bit of snowy declivity. My impressions relate to the less-technical end of this product category.

          Comment: which is fine as this axe does not carry a "T" rating anyway. You may want to make mention somewhere that it is a "B" rated axe.



          *** Next on a Whitney (California, USA) trip

          EDIT: Mt. Whitney



          *** I can sink the Raven Pro with a dainty plunk into the crunch without inadvertently burying the head to the hozel.

          EDIT: burying the head to the "handle" (or, what is a hozel?)


          The somewhat straighter pick also requires less extraction effort.


          ***At 13,000' (4,000 m) it becomes fairly clear to the foggy mind that easier repetitions of sinking the shaft become torture in a less immediate time frame.

          EDIT: to "my" foggy mind (keep it in the 1st person to avoid projection)
        • never2muchstuff
          Thanks for the help, Ray. Much appreciated!
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 31, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            Thanks for the help, Ray. Much appreciated!
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.