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SMC Capra Ice Axe
  • SMC Capra Ice Axe
  • SMC Capra Ice Axe
  • SMC Capra Ice Axe
  • SMC Capra Ice Axe

Capra

SMC

Rating

no ratings

Description

We’ve named our newest axe the “Capra”, in recognition of the sure-footed mountain goats that inhabit the nearby Cascade Mountain range. Quite often seen at elevations of nearly 10,000 feet, these hardy animals spend most of their lives above the timberline and are well known for being extremely nimble on steep mountain faces of 60° or more.

The Capra is a result of more than 2 years of extensive design and field testing around the globe. Prototypes were used by experienced guides and other climbers in successful summits of such notable mountains as Mt. Everest, Mt. Vinson, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Adams.

One of the lightest weight axes in this category, the 65cm version tips the scale at a mere 16.08 ounces. Among the other more notable features of the Capra is the head and handle; both are completely new designs from SMC. The head fits more naturally into the user’s hand helping to minimize the discomfort often associated with using a mountaineering axe for extended periods on time. While the overall weight of this axe is remarkably light, the axe features a full sized chromoly steel head and spike, not ones that were chopped off to save weight. The unique handle is designed to be easier to index in hand for surer placement in self-arrest. Great balance and swing weight are hallmarks of this new axe. Every part of the Capra is an entirely new design and not only is it one of the most advanced axes on the market; it is manufactured entirely at the SMC factory in Ferndale, WA.

Retail price

US$ 84.10
Amazon.com
$79.95
BUY IT
Amazon.com
$78.95
BUY IT

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Weight (g / oz)

Weight (g / oz)

In grams and ounces, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.

Since the most common ice axe length is 50cm that is the main length that we reference.

When available, we list the weight for each length here.

453 g / 15.98 oz

The manufacturer only lists weight of 60 cm axe, which is what we’ve listed. We’re working on finding the weights for the other sizes.

Best Use

Best Use

Ultralight Mountaineering

The lightest axes available, used most for ski mountaineering, adventure racing, and other "go light" ascents. 350 grams is usually the max weight. The decreased weight means they are axes are built for snow missions, not ice.

Mountaineering

This is the most common type of snow mountaineering axe. These axes are above 350 grams and are a great balance of weight and durability. There may be a grip and they will always have an adze head (and no matching hammer pair). These axes are great for snow and can handle chopping steps in ice, or other small ice scenarios.

Technical Mountaineering

These axes are for tougher conditions when the majority of climbing is on snow, but the axe needs to be able to handle a short ice wall. They generally have a bent shaft and T-rated (more technical) pick. Often these beefier axes will have a rubberized grip and they may have a matching adze and hammer version. They're basically the offspring of an ice axe and ice tool.

Mountaineering
Length Options (cm)

Length Options (cm)

Measured in centimeters, the best length is based on your height and ape index (arm length). Holding the axe in your hand, the spike (sharp end) of the axe should arrive around your shin. At the max size, it should go to your ankle.

Two people of the same height could need a different sized axe, based on arm length (t-rex vs monkey). If in-between sizes, our bias is towards sizing shorter.

Rule of Thumb

  • Under 5'6" 50cm
  • 5'6" to 5'8" 50-55cm
  • 5'9" to 6'0" 50-60cm
  • 6'1" to 6'4" 55-65cm
  • Over 6'4" 60-70cm

Worth Considering

There are other resources online that suggest a longer axe is a plus and that you should measure below the ankle. We absolutely disagree. A longer axe means you'll be tempted to use it as a trekking pole (which will put you off balance), or you'll have to give your arm a huge workout just to lift it in and out of the snow. Ice axes are meant to be used on the uphill side, which is already much higher.

60 cm, 65 cm, 70 cm, 75 cm, 80 cm, 100 cm
Head Details

Head Details

This refers to the back of the ice axe head (opposite the pick).

For ice axes, adze's are (by far) the most common. An adze will allow you to break ice by chopping or shoveling in a specific area, and they also provide more room to hold on to the head than a hammer does. This grip helps for arresting too.

Hammers are usually only used as a pair with an adze on the other axe (hammer's are much more common in ice tools than ice axes). A hammer uses a more broad force to break ice bulges.

Adze­
Ice Rating

Ice Rating

The certified rating of the pick and the shaft. These ratings might not match each other.

There are only 2 possible shaft ratings:

B / Type 1 / CEN-B: Basic
T / Type 2 / CEN-T: Technical

Pick: 
Shaft: B / Type 1
Materials

Materials

The materials, as stated by the manufacturer / brand, of the pick, head, shaft and grip.

Pick: Cromolly Steel
Head: Cromolly Steel
Shaft: Aluminum Alloy
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Certification

Certifications

The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.

To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.

For ice axes, there is a separate certification for the pick and the shaft.

Learn More

Rock and Ice Certifications Guide
UIAA
Warranty

Warranty

This isn't super common, but sometimes the manufacturers will state a specific warranty such as "3 years against manufacturer defects"

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