/ DMM Raptors vs flys
I'd suggest getting new flys and if you want a walking pick put raptor picks on them. That would give you a decent walking axe (maybe a little short if you want to play croquet with it or cut many steps...?) with the ability to move to a more technical (and leashless) tool if you fancy moving to harder things. You can take the pinky rest off the fly if it effects plunging (but I don't think it would overly, doesn't on my apexes) whereas you can't put one on raptors meaning you'd need leashes later on.
p.s I haven't used either of these axes but I did use old raptors with fly picks to bruise my knuckles quite effectively :)
I have a pair of BD Reactors which I use on everything from prodding snow in grade I gullies to grade V ice etc. I don't find the technical nature of the tool and the chunky handle impedes me slogging up snow slops (despite how over equipped I might look), but if I had a pair of walking axes they might impede my progress on grade V terrain.
My point being; don't limit yourself buy buying a pair of axes which aren't up to the steeper end of what your capable of. You're never going to regret not buying the Raptors or having the Raptor picks on the CMD Arete, but you might regret not having the Fly's (or even something better still) on "potentially harder stuff".
It's a toughie. My friend has the raptors and uses them with no problems up to grade iv but he has been climbing for many years and knows that he doesn't want to move up the grades and is happy at that level.
Me personally I would get the flys or quarks or vipers and then maybe when you have a little extra cash buy a second hand walking axe for the likes of the cmd arete as you can pick up a good walking axe on here or flea bay for 30 quid. As I wouldn't want some thing that sits in the middle which is not really suited for either. For me being a scaredy cat punter confidence in my tools is quite important.
Flies are not great on non-technical ground. They are a bit uncomfortable to hold by the pick because of its weird shape. This is from the experience with the old model, but it looks like the new ones have similar shape.
Cheers all. Some good suggestions here and after much research and speaking to others I've decided to do a u-turn and get a petzl sum'tec! Reason being I'll only need one axe in the alps this summer and it does everything I'll want it to, being a good mountaineering axe with a trigrest which the raptor doesn't have. Plus I'm hoping to try out a few different axes next winter (if my nice friends with their variety of axes will let me) so I can get more experience on technical stuff, and see which axes work best for me before investing. So basically I'll end up with a pair of technical axes and a walking/mountaineering axe, similar to the majority of people I suspect!
I don't thing the sumtec looks like a great general alipne and walking axe. I'd look at something with a conventional curved pick (better for ice axe breaking) a ruberised grip (protect your hands from the cold metal) and NO griprest (this really won't be of much use on these type of axes). Also A leash is usefull for this type of use IMO.
The Grivel Air Tec Evo is pretty good for this type of thing.
Personally I prefer a longer handle on a non technical axe but this really is a personal preference thing (mine is 63 cm and I'm 6ft)
Other desireable qualities should be how comfortable it is to hold the axe by the head as you do for walking and also lightness of the axe. I went for a T Rated axe as I figured I'd use it on some easier climbs as well as for belays from time to time.
BTW the Sum'tec is more aimed as a lightweight technical axe IMO and even then it looks like a fairly specialist product (most people would be better served with a pair of proper ice climbing tools with nice handles and an alpine axe IMO). Reverse curved picks are better for climbing STEEP water ice, not something you are likely to encounter much on summer alpine especially to start with. Also I note the shaft is T rated ( so strong ) but it has a weaker B rated water ice pick on it, not something most people really want on an alpine axe either.
I think it's a wise move going for more of a mountaineering axe.
I see that Curlystevo is advising you on the different axes and he is much more in the know than me but if you was looking at the raptors I would also now have a look at the Dmm cirque.
I think I'd spend the extra 20 quid for the grivel to save over 100 grams.
The shape of the top of the pick on the cirque doesn't look quite as friendly for holding either (the handle of the grivel abuts the top of the pick plus the pick top dips a bit which does make for a comfy grip in this respect).
Hmm, more food for thought. Good point that the pick is weaker than some others, I'd managed to miss that. Having a longer handle isn't too much of an issue, when you're 5ft1 most are long enough, but I see where you're coming from. I've used cirques in the past, borrowed from club gear, but if I was buying something similar then maybe I'd consider the weight saving, yes. Having a look at the grivel air tech now.
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