Camp Corsa review

The Camp Corsa is light.  10oz flat in 70cm. It self-arrests and belays pretty well. If that is all you need in an axe, which is to say you’ll carry it a lot, use it occasionally, and climb with it hardly at all, then the Corsa will suit you well. If you plan on climbing with it, which might include cutting steps or self-belaying in any position other than piolet canne, you will want a different (real?) ice axe.

Fixing any of the shortcomings of the axe would require adding weight.  See the difference between the pick and adze of the Corsa, above, and the Black Diamond Raven.  The short Corsa pick doesn’t self-arrest any worse, but the lack of length and thickness does mean that the Corsa hardly works in piolet ancre.  Rather than locking, the pick shears out.  The adze is also useless, save as a hand rest or for digging catholes.  The lack of heft in the axe is part of the problem, but the shape shows that for Camp this part of the tool is largely vestigial.  You could clip in to the head of the Corsa, but if you’re ever in that position you’ve done something wrong.

A good rule of thumb is that if you’ll be wearing a harness, you should have something else in hand.

The spike of the Corsa, again compared with the Raven, is meant to save weight. For dragging while glissading it works dandy. For plunging in softer snow the simple design is quite adequate. When plunging in harder snows you’ll have to work pretty hard, in conditions where the Raven penetrates easily.  Sharpening the aluminium helps, but that job will dull quickly.  No clip in point for the Corsa, obviously.

The Corsa claims to be the lightest certified ice axe on the planet, and as of this writing that is the case.  It fulfills its spec admirably.  The question to ask is whether the weight savings are for you worth the price and performance compromises.  While fine for most of what I do, my answer on the last count is no.  I’m selling the Corsa, and will replace it with another Raven.

6 responses to “Camp Corsa review”

  1. Completely agree. My Corsair is taken when I “might” need something beefier than a ski pole. My Raven is taken when I need a real ice ax.

  2. Hey Dave, in your opinion where does the Raven Ultra fit in with this assessment? Kind of a middle ground or still not ‘enough’? Looking for an axe for this winter.

  3. i believe the Ultra has the same head as the regular, just the spike is different. Was just thinking about that for my own purchase, and for me the Ultra is too much extra cash for too little benefit.

  4. Raven Pro – best overall. Slightly smaller head than the normal one but full strength and light.

    1. And shiny. Do not forget that.

  5. The Pro has a slightly smaller head the the Raven, and the Ultra, slightly smaller then the Pro. I’ve got 50 & 60cm Corsa Nanotechs for weight saving applications, and a 65cm Pro for everything else. I feel much more comfortable with the Pro in my hands. The tiny steel spike on the Nanotech makes hard snow doable though. Much more, i assume, then the Ultra or Corsa. I can see why you want to off-load that axe.

    The 50cm Nanotech is also a great axe for kids :)

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