Designed as an all-round ice tool for both technical mountaineering and ice-climbing, the Edelrid Riot faces some stiff competition in this sector. With ascents under his belt including the Eiger North Face 1938 Route, Grandes Jorrases, Matterhorn North Face (to name a few) Dave Searle has been testing these around the iconic peaks of Chamonix to see how they performed.
The Design and shape of the axe is very similar to the Classic and much loved petzl Quark. It has a slightly chunkier head than the quark and therefore actually feels a bit more solid. I really liked the design of the bottom spike that is both easy to clip and solid to penetrate into hard ice. The Axes come with two different sized plastic finger rests that are interchangeable to accommodate different sized hands or different thickness gloves. The pick is hardened and I can tell you for sure it is more durable than the petzl picks. The axes are neatly designed and aesthetic to hold in all the different ways which lets you forget about them and get on with the climbing.
When I first picked up the riot I knew that they had really focused on making a quality product. Rather than using the traditional rivet design that feature on most axes, they have instead opted for a Torx bolt that has been counter sunk into the shaft. It looks better, sits flush to the shaft and I bet it will stronger in the long run too. The rubber on the handle is dual density and sheds snow well as there are no divots to collect snow.
How did it perform?
The Riot is a confidence inspiring axe for sure. It gives a solid and strong swing and good penetration in hard ice, typical I guess of a heavy duty axe like this. The profile of the bottom of the ace means it’s easy enough to plunge into soft snow if you need to. The Adze and the Hammer are solid and well designed so they chop and whack well if you need then. When using the Axe from underneath the head on moderate slope the pick teeth stayed out of the way and didn’t trap your fingers or gloves which can happen with other axes on the market
The Best Uses?
This axe is ideally suited to moderate Scottish or Alpine Climbing where you don’t need a tool you can match your hands on. Although having said this Edelrid do sell a Finger Rest that would help with this and with some self-amalgamating tape or other grip tape you’d have more ease holding on with both hands. The tool is supplied with an “Ice Pick” and mixed picks are available but don’t seem much different or worthwhile. You can also get something called a “Blind Washer” that you can replace the adze or the hammer with to lighten the tool for those with a weight conscious outlook and no need for the extra bits. With this interchangeable design it does give a very versatile axe that would suit most folk’s needs as a “One Pair” quiver.
There aren’t many but I have found some minor ones. If I was to be really picky I would change the design of the bottom spike so it was flat at the back rather than with the hole which sits against the bottom of your hand and could chew up your gloves. I’d like the axes to come with the Blind Washers and Triggers as standard as a kind of kit so you can mix and match but this would push the price up I’m sure. I’d make the fourth tooth on the pick the same length as the other ones as I find it is a bit tricky to remove the axe and from my experience that’s normally the culprit.
The Axe is solidly made and would be a versatile companion for most climbers looking to hit the alps in the spring/autumn or climb grade 4/5 in Scotland. It’s a great contender for the Petzl Quark and if you’re not fussed about taking off the adze or hammer it would be cheaper option too. I do genuinely like these tools and they’ve held up to some mild abuse with little sign of wear. I hope they continue like that and give me plenty of years of service. Now if I can just find somewhere that stocks the extra’s for this tool I’ll be completely satisfied!