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Does your idea of a great day out involve a classic grade II or III winter climb? Do you enjoy mountaineering and winter hill walking too? If that sounds a bit like you then the DMM Raptor could be your perfect axe. This versatile and beautifully designed tool performs superbly on a wide range of mountain terrain. It's a tough piece of kit, built to last and completely dependable. It also has an interchangeable pick system and can be fitted with a Fly pick for more technical routes.
The Raptor is designed for both classic winter routes and all round mountain use. It can cope with varied terrain, from steep gullies and couloirs, to snowy ridges and glaciers. The aggressive alpine pick operates well in all of these scenarios, but crucially it also gives excellent braking power if you are ever forced to do a self-arrest.
The pick is steeper and more aggressive than the DMM Cirque. The positive angle on the tip helps it penetrate ice and hard neve, plus it gives increased security on shallow placements.
The head is more substantial than the Cirque's – this gives extra punch and penetration on the type of bullet hard glacial ice you find on bergschrunds, but it also makes for easier placements on all kinds of ice, neve and frozen turf.
The interchangeable pick system allows for easy replacement of worn picks over time. It can be fitted with the more technical reverse curve Fly pick. This neat piece of adaptability allows you to venture with confidence onto steeper and trickier routes.
There is a choice of adze and hammer pick sets. The adze is wide and very effective at cutting steps and clearing belay ledges.
The hammer is carefully angled so that you can strike accurately with it, even when movement is restricted. It's just the ticket for placing and removing pegs, or driving a Deadman into neve.
The injection moulded rubber handle has a streamlined, ergonomic shape which is ultra grippy even when it's wet. The rubber provides important insulation too.
The smooth profile of the handle going into the spike helps it to penetrate snow. The shaft is slightly curved for better clearance on bulges and for a more natural plunging action when held in the reverse position.
The Raptor is an impressively strong axe which is fully T-rated throughout shaft and the pick. It has high strength clip in points at the top and bottom of the axe – these are ideal for classic winter belay techniques.
Where the shaft meets the head and the handle you will find double rivets. These joins are also glued in for extra strength and security. In addition, the glue provides a waterproof seal which stops water ingress and the potential for internal corrosion.
The shaft is made of high quality, high strength 7075 aluminium alloy, and each axe has a unique serial number guaranteeing traceability throughout the manufacturing process.
Two different lengths are available: either 50cm or 55cm. The axe is equipped with a DMM Chokehold Leash. This is easy to adjust and gives a comfortable and supportive attachment; it is also reassuringly secure.
In summary, the Raptor is a versatile, tough axe which is highly effective across a wide spectrum of mountain terrain and can be adapted with a Fly pick for harder routes.
Gear News and Outdoor Industry News at UKC and UKH presents climbing, walking and mountaineering equipment and stories that will be of interest to UKClimbing.com's readers. They are not gear reviews and are provided by companies that advertise with UKClimbing Limited. Please feel free to comment about the stories and products on the associated thread.