At 6'3" 55cm is far too short to be really useful as a walking axe for me.
These kind of axes never really appeal to me. I have a proper length Cirque for walking, or Switches for climbing (plus a lightweight axe for when I'm not really expecting to use an axe a lot, a Glacier Lite).
Anytime I'm going to use two axes, I'm going to take the tech axes rather than pair up something with a mountaineering axe.
My favourite axe, not super light, not super cheap but brilliant over a wide range of situations.
Mines been battered and has lost a lot of the surface sheen from new. The pick is just about ready for a replacement but the axe still feels reassuringly bombproof. Nicely weighted and really comfortable in use. I'd recommend one.
They are ostensibly quite similar - both T-rated for instance. But the Raptor is slightly more aggressive, so if you're going to be doing a reasonable amount of climbing with it as well as straight walking then it'd be a better choice as it just has a bit more of a climbing feel. Plus the picks are replaceable. And you can stick a Fly pick on it if you want to go more technical.
On the other hand for walkers the chief benefit of the Cirque is the extra choice of lengths. Though it could be suggested that DMM maybe slightly over specced the Cirque, given that they also offer the Raptor. A lot of walkers aren't going to need that T rating after all, so they could arguably have saved a bit of weight there.
Horses for courses I guess. Personally I spend a lot of time on Is and IIs so I know which one I'd rather have
I think I agree with previous posters and possibly the article - there seems really very little need for a replaceable pick on an axe for any grade terrain that doesn't suit itself to two axes, but that's only having done a small amount of low grade winter stuff. The cirque is lighter and cheaper as a result also?
I think it's worth pointing out that the Raptor is a lot more comfortable to carry in "walk" mode than the Cirque, on top of it's extra versatility. I really didn't like the thin profile of the head of the Cirque when I tried one, though I had been using a BD Raven previously so maybe I was spoiled...
> Does anyone know if it's possible to mod a Raptor to take the Fly handrest?
> Does the allen bolt on the Fly handrest , screw into the orange spacer itself, or through that and into the shaft?
> Wondering if the orange section was drilled out, the Raptor shaft would be identical to the Fly shaft and have a hole under the surface?
No. The Fly hand rest bolts to a hole in the reshaped lower spike. The Raptor spike lacks both those features. The fly also has a threaded hole for an upper hand rest which the raptor also lacks. It is however possible to fit a Raptor Pick to a Fly and add or remove either hand rest at will. If your happy with the Fly's 50cm shaft length I'd say it was a much more versatile all around tool.