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CAMP Corsa Nanotech

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: CAMP Corsa Nanotech mountaineering axe/piolet

This is all the ice axe you need for any mountaineering objective that doesn't require a technical ice tool. There is simply no reason to own or consider using a more traditional / heavier ice axe, even for trips that involve mostly glacier walking. This axe is so light you'll never hesitate to bring it with you when other bigger axes might seem like a drag.


  • Extremely light
  • Sharp, durable steel pick
  • All the ice axe you need for mountaineering


  • None

I've used this ice axe on a few dozen alpine climbing trips over the last two years in various mountain ranges in Washington and British Columbia. The best feature is of course its light weight which makes it less of a drag to carry on long approaches that are so common in the Cascades.

The slightly lighter all-aluminum version is less useful because of the aluminum pick and spike, but the Nanotech version with its steel pick and spike is all the ice axe I've ever needed.

Shortly after getting the Corsa Nanotech, I did a long glacier climb and decided to bring my old Raven Pro ice axe for more walking comfort. What a mistake. The slight improvement in comfort of holding onto it while walking on the glacier was not nearly enough of an advantage to compensate for how heavy it was compared to the Corsa. Since then, I've never brought any other ice axe anywhere (except of course when I've needed a technical ice tool). 

The adze is small but still works just fine for digging a T-slot to bury a picket in, which is the only thing I ever use an adze for. 

If you climb alpine objectives where you have to carry your ice axe and/or crampons over a big rock climb, you'll especially appreciate the light weight of this axe. But even if you don't and just like non-technical glacier climbs, there's simply no reason to carry around heavier axes when this one is available. 

A few minor critiques:

  • The sandpaper on the lower part of the shaft doesn't seem particularly useful, and it's not kind on gloves.
  • The shape of the hole in the head doesn't play all that nicely with some of the newer backpack attachments systems where you pass a metal tab through the hole to attach it to the pack (such as what you'll find on the Arc'teryx Alpha FL packs). The tab tends to fall back out of the hole in the head of this axe.

    To address this, you can pull the cord that the tab sits on out further and wrap it around the adze, but this is an extra step and takes away from the intent of the new attachment system being extremely quick and easy to use. The sandpaper on the lower part of the shaft has also caused some abrasion to pack fabrics and attachment points. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130

Awesome axe. So light, you'll actually bring it with you.


  • Super lightweight
  • Steel points
  • Versatility


  • Weak adze due to ultralight construction
  • Not t rated — could break if misused
  • Lightweight head does not "throw" into hard ice

Years ago, I bought a 50cm for ski mountaineering and for that purpose it is hard to beat. A year or two later, I bought another so that I now also have a 60 cm, and one of them now seems to go with me on nearly every trip, from winter ski tours to late-summer alpine traverses.

Unless I know I will be facing lengthy sections of steep, hard snow or ice, I bring it. Because of the ultralight weight, I almost never leave an axe at the car only to regret it later.  

Picks and tips are lasting nicely, however I did slightly bend one adze when trying to chop into hard water ice (get a real axe for that!). Highly recommended!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160

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Price MSRP: $149.95
Current Retail: $117.92-$159.95
Historic Range: $39.98-$159.95
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