Wednesday, 06 March 2019 14:38

Petzl Gully v Petzl Ride: 2 ice axes, so similar but so different

Written by Rory Southworth

Twp ice axes, one brand, and almost identical to look at. We put Petzl's lightweight Ride and Gully up against each other.

Every year kit gets lighter and lighter and gone are the days of almost Alpenstock length axes. Over the years I’ve noticed the trend for mountain guides is to carry shorter more technical axes and my 59cm mountaineering axe started to look a little long and heavy. The idea of strapping an axe to my running pack for winter running seemed absurd, until I saw the Petzl Ride (45cm at 240g) and Gully (45cm at 280g) axes.

Designed for ski mountaineering, they are both super lightweight, yet still very robust, making them a useful companion for classic mountaineering routes.

Petzl axes 1

What Petzl say: Gully

Ultra-light at only 280 g, the GULLY ice axe is designed for technical mountaineering and steep skiing. Its tapered banana-shaped pick and the TRIGREST handrest (adjustable without a tool) ensure the performance required on technical sections.

  • Ultra-light ice axe: 280 g
  • Very technical and efficient:
    - ice axe with steel head and banana-shaped pick that is tapered to 3 mm for efficient penetration and easy unhooking
    - minimalist adze and hammer for cleaning holds or hammering a piton back in
    - the TRIGREST handrest allows the position of the hand or the index finger to be adjusted into climbing mode quickly and without tools
    - addition of weights (optional) improves anchoring quality in very cold ice
  • Compact:
    - only 45 cm
    - the beveled spike makes it easy to carry the ice axe in a pack without damage to the bag

Petzl Axes 1


  • Pick type: 1
  • Shaft type: 1
  • Material(s): steel, aluminum, nylon
  • Certification(s): CE, UIAA

What Petzl say: Ride

Ultra-light and very compact, the RIDE ice axe gœs everywhere with you for ski touring or glacier travel, without weighing you down. Solid placements thanks to the all-steel head, a pick tapered to 3 mm and a bent shaft.

  • Highly technical:
    - ice axe with steel head offering the same performance as a classic ice axe
    - pick tapered to 3 mm at the end for good penetration in ice
    - curved shaft and machined grip for good handling
  • Very lightweight: only 240 g
  • Compact: with only 45 cm and a beveled spike, the axe can be stowed inside the pack:
    - reduces the risk of injury when the axe is attached to the outside of the pack
    - can be stowed inside the pack for more discretion and without risk of damaging the pack


  • Pick type: 1
  • Shaft type: 1
  • Material(s): tempered steel, 7075 aluminum
  • Certification(s): CE, UIAA
  • Compatible with the PICK AND SPIKE PROTECTION protectors and the LINKIN leash


On Test:

Petzl Gully

The Petzl Gully is the more aggressive, technical tool axe of the two (also comes with the Trigrest and a hammer option). Petzl describe this axe as being designed for Technical Mountaineering and Steep Skiing. Comparing the Gully to a Petzl Quark, it's definitely a capable technical tool, with a serious weight advantage over the Quark (a 270g saving per axe). Whilst the Gully doesn't climb like a Quark, it does sink into water ice and I would comfortably use it on lower grade winter routes or combine it with a Quark for a lightweight setup on routes that require a one and a half axe setup.

Petzl Axes 3 

Petzl Ride

The Petzl Ride makes a 40g saving over the Gully, but for that saving you lose the Trigrest. This makes it feel noticeably less secure when using it to climb, as well as a less aggressive pick designed for ski touring and glacier travel. With a 3mm taper the pick still happily sinks into frozen turf and hard snow, but the angle of the pick is more suited to less steep terrain than the Petzl Gully. At 240g I’ve started packing the Petzl Ride as an incase axe, whereas before I would often leave my axe in the car, knowing that I would change my route if the conditions required an axe, especially when out winter running.

 Petzl Axes 4Petzl Ride on Hall's Fell, Lake District

Price and weight

The Petzl Ride retails at £80 and the Gully at £110, making them a very lightweight option in their price range. There are lighter axes on the market, but these tend to be more expensive and at a penalty of function.



In use, the Petzl Ride makes for a great axe if you don’t intent to use it for technical climbing but want a lightweight classic mountaineering axe for ski touring, hiking and running.  It feels great in the hand, the head ergonomically shaped for a secure grip and the shaft featuring groves for that extra purchase for cutting steps. However, for anything technical and for those wanting to venture onto steeper terrain in the Alps or UK with a light and fast approach, the Petzl Gully is definitely is the superior option. The confidence gained in grip by the Trigrest makes the Gully feel much like you are wielding a lightweight technical tool rather than a classic mountaineering axe.

Petzl Axes 2Petzl Gully in Kandersteg, Switzerland

Whilst the 45cm length does force you to bend more when cutting steps and doesn’t give you the same torque of a longer axe when using it to arrest, I found both axes in practice to be effective at ice axe arrest.

When axe is best for you really depends on your preferred style of routes, the Gully is great on steep routes and the Ride perfect for general snow travel.

For UK use, where we often have mixed routes, I prefer the Gully, especially when it gets more technical terrain.

Transparency Notice: Please note that MyOutdoors receives free products for reviews from brands and manufacturers, but we only accept products for review on condition of total independence and no guarantee of endorsement.