Best Ice Axe Leash

If you love braving the cold weather and rugged terrain when the ground is covered with ice and snow, then you know you’ll likely be carrying an ice axe with you to use when you need it. Whether you fish with it or decide to bring it along with you for safety reasons, you’ll want to make sure you secure your axe with a leash. Using one can prevent you from losing your much-needed tool in the snow or ice when you really need it most, keeping you going throughout the day with your activities.

While getting a good leash is important so that you’ll never lose your axe, there are so many options to choose from that it can be difficult to make a decision. To help save you time, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best ice axe leashes in the market today that you should consider, and we’ll also cover a few criteria points to help you make the best decision possible.

Last Updated: July 27, 2018
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By Melissa Coleiro:

At GearWeAre, we do our best to research and test outdoor gear to keep you up to date on the best products on the market. This list has been updated to include the new Black Diamond Slider Leash, which offers users a lightweight leash that is easy-to-use. Also, be sure to look through our FAQ section near the bottom.

Grivel Single Spring Leash
  • Grivel Single Spring Leash
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable spring system
  • Price: See Here
Black Diamond Slider Leash
  • Black Diamond Slider Leash
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy to use
  • Price: See Here
Grivel Long Leash
  • Grivel Long Leash
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Fully adjustable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Ice Axe Leashes

Grivel Single Spring Leash

The Grivel Single Spring Leash is a well-designed ice axe leash that can be adjusted to be either long or short. Made with a spring system that is very durable, you won’t have to worry about losing your axe when you are exploring the mountains.
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Materials: The Grivel Single Spring Leash is designed with aluminum and features a spring system that allows you to adjust the length of the leash. So, if you want the leash to be long, you can make it the length you want it, or compact it down when you want less length.
Durability: Grivel’s Single Spring Leash gives you a lot of durability, and is so strong you won’t have to worry about replacing it or losing your axe. You’ll be able to use it for a while, and it’ll give you great performance whenever you need it.
Ease of Use: This leash is very easy to use, and doesn’t require much maintenance to continue to perform well. It’s also designed to be comfortable, and its performance really does the job.
Value: Grivel’s Single Spring Leash is a bit more expensive than some of the other products on our list, but it still performs very well. Considering how strong it is and how well it does the job, it’s certainly a solid product to invest in.
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Durable

  • Spring system

  • Can adjust length

Cons
  • Expensive

Black Diamond Slider Leash

As you may have noticed, there are a number of Black Diamond Leashes on this list, and that is for good reason. This Slider Leash is a fantastic example of why Black Diamond is so good at what they do.
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The Black Diamond Slider Leash is a lightweight leash, so you don't have to worry about any extra weight on your mountaineering route.

Even though this leash is lightweight, it is still durable. And it is a webbing leash that will keep you securely connected to your piolet. Numerous reviewers have had experiences of this leash securing their ice axe, so they did not lose it.

The cinching wrist loop also provides a secure connection that feels comfortable. Along with this, it is an easy leash to attach to your ice axe.

To help you customize your experience with this ice axe leash, it comes with a slider buckle that allows you to adjust it to the ideal length for yourself. However, some say that there can be a lot of slack on this leash.

Overall, this is a great leash that is compatible with any ice axe, and it is rated 2kn. Reviewers have stated that this leash has saved their ice axe numerous times.
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Easy to use

  • Won’t tangle

  • Good materials

Cons
  • Some find that there is a lot of slack on the leash

Grivel Long Leash

Grivel’s long leash is designed for comfort and ease of use, and offers a lot of benefits for an affordable price. With a lifetime warranty and a lot of durability, this is a good product to select if you want a good leash and are trying to save a bit of money with your purchase.
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Materials: Made out of a strong nylon material, this ice leash can handle an ice axe of any length, and is made to be very versatile. You won’t have a hard time using it to fit your ice axe, and you’ll love the performance you get out of this product.
Durability: The Grivel Long Leash comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know you are getting a product that the manufacturer stands behind. Build to last for a long time, this product is very reliable and you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing it.
Ease of Use: Designed with a wrist support system, the ice leash is easy to attach to your wrist and the wrist strap is very comfortable. Plus, the wrist support is made from a natural rubber material so it is very easy for you to grab it when you need to.
Value: This is one of the more affordable ice leashes on our list, and for its price, you get a nice, easy to use ice axe leash. Since it is priced so affordably and has such a great warranty, you are really getting a lot for the amount of money you’d be spending should you decide to buy this product.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Durable

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Rubber tip can come off

CAMP Touring Leash

CAMP Touring Leash
CAMP’s Touring Leash is designed to be affordable and very functional, and gives you a great product if you are shopping on a budget. While it’s cheaper price means it is not as durable as some of the other products on our list, you’ll still get a good leash if you settle on this product.
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Materials: Comprised of nylon and polyester, the CAMP Touring Leash is made with a wrist loop and a rubber stopper to secure the bottom slider. Made for functionality, there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on this leash, but it is simple to use.
Durability: This is an affordable leash and it’s made more for functionality than durability. However, it is still moderately durable by design, which means you’ll get plenty of use out of it should you decide to purchase it.
Ease of Use: You can use this leash to slide and hold the top shaft area, which helps propel you through difficult climbs. Also, you won’t need to worry about the leash totally sliding away since the stopper on the bottom will prevent that from happening.
Value: This leash is very affordable, so it’s a good choice if you are shopping on a budget. While it isn’t as durable as some other options, it’s still a very functional product.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Easy to use

  • Simple design

Cons
  • Not fancy

  • Could be more durable

Black Diamond Lockdown Leash

Black Diamond Lockdown Leash
Black Diamond’s Lockdown Leash offers you a lightweight and durable leash that can be used with just about any ice tool. With that type of versatility, it’s a nice tool to have, and although the directions could be better, it does function very well overall.
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Materials: Made from lightweight aluminum, this leash is made to be compatible with any ice tool you could possible use it with. It’s very versatile by design, which makes it a great tool to have when you need it.
Durability: Since this leash is made from aluminum, it’s quite durable and can handle a lot. It does function well and does what you need it to do, and it balances out well. You’ll be able to use it for awhile since it is built to last.
Ease of Use: This is the one area where the Black Diamond Lockdown Leash could do better. While it’s a good ice axe leash, it isn’t very comfortable, and the directions that come with it don’t help much. So, there is a bit of a learning curve with this product.
Value: The Black Diamond Lockdown Leash is priced affordably for what you get with it. It’s a solid investment, and it should last you for a while.
Pros
  • Versatile

  • Durable

  • Can be used with any ice tool.

Cons
  • Could be more comfortable

  • Could have better directions

Petzl V-Link Leash

Petzl V-Link Leash
Petzl’s V-Link Leash is very flexible and stretchy, and made to hold two ice axes at once. The design makes it easy to use, and it has a nice combination of features. However, it is a bit expensive, and if you are looking for durability to match price or if you are shopping on a budget, then this might not be the product for you.
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Materials: Made from a combination of nylon and aluminum materials, the Petzl V-Link Leash offers you a lot of flexibility with its stretchy design and materials. Also, it’s designed with two arms so it can hold two axes at one time, which is a nice extra benefit.
Durability: The arms on this leash are designed to be very elastic, so you’ll get a lot of flexibility packed into this design. However, the flexibility and lightweight functions on this product don’t make it quite as durable as some of the other products on our list.
Ease of Use: It’s easy to use and manipulate the arms on this product even while you are wearing gloves, which is a nice benefit. Also, the product is so lightweight, it’s easy to bring along with you and quite simple to use.
Value: This leash is on the expensive side of things, and while it is very easy to use and can handle up to two axes, it isn’t as durable as some of the other leashes on our list. So, while you will get a good product if you purchase it, you need to factor in the fact that it won’t last as long as some of the other leashes.
Pros
  • Can hold two axes

  • Flexible

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Expensive

CAMP Alpina Leash

CAMP Alpina Leash
CAMP Alpinia’s Leash is made to give you a very versatile product that will easily save your axe. It features a comfortable and adjustable wrist strap attachment, and can even double as a cane on some high mountain slopes.
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Materials: Made with a combination of nylon and aluminum materials, this leash is very lightweight and easy to carry with you. Plus, it is designed to fit any ice axe, so you’ll get a lot of versatility with the design of this product.
Durability: This leash is durable and built to last, and can even be used as a cane when you are hiking upwards in the mountains. With so much versatility, this is an excellent product to consider if you want something extra in your ice leash.
Ease of Use: CAMP Alpina’s leash is made with a wrist loop that is adjustable, so that you can attach it to your wrist with the wrist strap and fit it comfortably on you. That makes it very easy to use, and the tool can also be used as a cane, which makes it a pretty nice product.
Value: Considering how versatile this product is, and the fact that you can also use it as a cane, it’s pretty affordable. You won’t have to worry about burning a hole in your wallet if you are shopping on a budget.
Pros
  • Can be used as a cane

  • Lightweight

  • Versatile

Cons
  • Wrist strap could be more durable

  • Not the perfect cane design

Petzl Freelock Leash

Petzl Freelock Leash
Petzl’s Freelock Leash is made to be durable, and also gives you the ability to adjust the leash as needed. You’ll get a nice leash that is very easy to use, and gives you a lot of decent options for whatever you plan to do when you are on the ice.
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Materials: Made with nylon and polyester, the design of this leash is meant to be durable and simple to use when you need to switch out your tools. You’ll get plenty of flexibility and stretchiness with the design of this product.
Durability: This leash is moderately durable, and will last for a while, but it isn’t manufactured to be quite as durable as some of the other products on our list. However, it will give you the functionality you need as you need it.
Ease of Use: This leash is designed to be easy to use, and can be loosened and tightened just by turning your wrist, Plus, you can also easily adjust the length of the leash when you need to lengthen or shorten the leash.
Value: This leash is priced affordably, and it is a good product offering a good value. As already noted, you won’t get as much durability with this leash, but you’ll still get a nice product if you purchase this leash.
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Comfortable

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Adjustments can sometimes be difficult

Grivel Double Spring Leash

Grivel Double Spring Leash
Grivel’s Double Spring Leash is made to hold two axes at once, and provides you with a sophisticated elastic double sling system that is also easy to use. Plus, this leash is very lightweight, which makes it easy to bring along with you whenever you need it.
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Materials: The Grivel Double Spring Leash is designed with an elastic double sling system and a lightweight swivel rotor. It can hold two axes at a time, and provides you with a lot of flexibility in one simple design.
Durability: The Grivel Double Spring Leash is moderately durable, and will last for some time. It isn’t as strongly made as some of the other products on our list, but it still is capable of giving you great performance.
Ease of Use: It’s very easy to use this leash, since it’s designed to prevent tangles and make switching your tools over very easy. It’s simple to change out what you need or what you are using without having to worry about the leash bunching up.
Value: The Grivel Double Spring Leash is priced on the expensive side of things, and does offer a lot of great features. However, it’s not as durable as some of the other products we’ve listed here, so you’ll need to balance out any decision you make about this product with that.
Pros
  • Holds two axes

  • Flexible

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Could be more durable

Black Diamond Android Leash

Black Diamond Android Leash
Black Diamond’s Cobra/Viper Android Leash is designed to give you a lot of features and a very easy to use leash. However, this is an expensive product, so if you are shopping on a budget and looking to save money, this might not be the product for you.
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Materials: Comprised out of nylon and aluminum, the Black Diamond Cobra Viper Android Leash is made to give you a lot of support and reliability when you are out on the ice. You can set your hands free from the leash easily when you need them to be free, and get a lot of good balance out of this lightweight leash.
Durability: Made with a lot of easy use features, this product does have more bells and whistles than some of the other leashes on our list, but it is still very durable. However, with so many mechanisms on it, it can experience parts breaking more easily than some other products on our list.
Ease of Use: This leash is designed to be easy to use, and you can utilize its quick-release clip whenever you need to. You can also detach it from your tools without taking the wrist straps off of your wrists. Plus, the wrist straps that come with this leash are also very padded and comfortable.
Value: This leash is very expensive, and much of that has to do with the extra features you’ll get with this product. If you do want a leash with a lot of bells and whistles, however, and you can afford it, then feel free to spend the money. Otherwise, if you are shopping on a budget, this might not be the leash for you.
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Comfortable

  • Quick release

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Mechanisms can break

 

The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Ice Axe Leash

Purchasing a good leash for your ice axe can be a difficult decision, since so many products are available on the market today. However, while getting the right one can take some time to figure out, once you are able to figure out which one is the right one for you, you’ll be happy you made that decision. A leash can help you more easily use your tools and access them, and also prevent you from losing your axe when you are in the mountains and need to be able to use it efficiently. So, to help you make a better decision about which leash is right for you, we’ll provide you with an overview of some of the criteria points we used to evaluate each one of the products on our list.

With a better understanding of the criteria you’ll need to know how to evaluate, you’ll be able to make the best decision to fit your needs. So, to help you out, we’ll cover each one of our criteria points in a bit more detail below, including materials, durability, and ease of use.

Materials

Materials are an important factor to consider when you’re looking into what leash you want to purchase, mostly because materials will dictate a lot about performance and quality. Different brands use different features in the development of their leashes, and we’ll cover some of the more common materials you’ll see here.

Many leashes on our list use nylon in their leash design. One reason for this is that nylon gives you the flexibility and stretchiness you’ll need when you are using your leash. Also, nylon is a durable product that can be used to make adjustments in length with most leashes, and that can be a useful factor if you want to give your leash a lot of slack, or keep it close to you. Nylon does have a downside, however, since it does tend to retain water, although it can still work effectively even when it is wet.

Some leashes use a combination of polyester and nylon to add some durability to the quality of the leash. Polyester helps the nylon to keep its flexibility while also adding some extra strength to the leash. Not all leashes combine both polyester and nylon, and the amount of each type of material in the leashes can also vary. Of course, the quality of the nylon and polyester used in these leashes can also affect the durability of the leash.

Some leashes feature aluminium as well in their design, or other metals to add strength. Most of the leashes that use aluminium in their designs also feature springs to help you more easily access your axe when you need it. Leashes with springs also usually feature clips. Sometimes these clips are stainless steel or aluminium, depending on the way the leash works. Aluminium is more popular than stainless steel, however, because it still helps keep the leash lightweight while retaining durability.

Durability

The durability of a leash’s design often times goes hand in hand with the type of materials that are used in the leash, but not always. As stated before, some brands use different mixes of materials of various strengths, so even if you get a leash that sounds like it has durable materials in it, depending on the quality of those materials, it can be difficult to tell. You might think that leashes with stainless steel parts might be more durable than those with aluminium, but that’s not always the case. A lot of the durability you’ll find in your leash will depend on the way the leash is designed. Typically, the more bells and whistles on a leash, the more prone the leash will be to those things breaking, even if you wind up purchasing an expensive leash you think should be durable.

So, with leashes, durability isn’t always measured by price and is sometimes difficult to tell when looking at the materials used by the leash. Design is a huge factor here, and if you want to be able to check out the durability of the leashes you are interested in, it would be a good idea to read up on some customer reviews to see how long the leashes last and how well they perform. Doing a bit of research can really tell you a lot about how long the product will last, and what you’ll be getting out of the leash.

Ease of Use

When we took a look at the ease of use behind the leashes we listed on our product list above, we considered the comfort of using the leash, and what the leash had on it to make its use more available. Some leashes come made for two axes, while others can only hold one. Most of the leashes on are list are made for one axe only, but we did include a couple of products that can hold more than one axe.

Several of the leashes on our list feature wrist straps that allow you to cinch and adjust the leash to easily fit your wrist, and many of these types of leashes also allow you to adjust the leash right from your wrist. The wrist straps on these leashes are designed to be comfortable and accessible, and are typically the easiest leashes to use.

Depending on how much experience you have using a leash and what you really need, you might need to consider the features you really want and need, and how functional you need your leash to be. If the leash comes with too many bells and whistles, it can be difficult for you to operate if you don’t know what you are doing. Some leashes like this require learning curves, and if you are just getting used to using a leash, then you should go for something simpler in design.

Value

We also examined the value you would get out of each one of the leashes we listed in our review. Some of the leashes we’ve provided you with are very affordable, while others are more expensive. Whether the leashes are pricey or not, all of the leashes we’ve reviewed have some kind of value points to them, and we made sure to cover that in this guide.

If you are shopping on a budget, just remember you can still get a good leash for a decent price. You might wind up sacrificing from durability, but that can still work well for you depending on where you are at with what you need. So, don’t worry about price if you don’t mind letting go of some durability, since you can still wind up with a decent leash regardless.

Other Things To Think About

Purchasing a good leash for your ice axe does require a bit of time and thought. Some of these leashes offer a lot of features that can take some time to get used to, so you’ll need to figure out your skill level, how comfortable you are with the leash you pick, and make sure it’s something that is easy and simple for you to use.

If you are new to using a leash, then you should opt for something that isn’t overly difficult to use. Some leashes feature so many bonus additions on them, they can be difficult to learn or figure out. Having something with a learning curve is okay even for a newbie to leashes, as long as you are able to figure out how to use it effectively before you start climbing. So, make sure you get something you are comfortable with and that is simple for you to use.

Also, you need to decide whether or not you want a leash that has a spring system designed into it. Spring systems are great for giving you some choice and adjust-ability when you are climbing, but are not always necessary for everybody. They also typically require more maintenance, since you’ll need to make sure you get the debris out of the springs when you use your leash often. Not all ice leashes comes with spring systems in them—some do and some don’t. Whether or not you feel you need a spring system is something that will come down again to your personal preference.

Also, it is important to look at how comfortable the leash feels when it is attached to you. Many leash systems feature wrist attachments that adjust, but some are more comfortable than others. Since the comfort level on leashes can be a matter of personal preference, this is something you can always test out at a store. Or, if you can’t do that, at least spend some time reading reviews on the products you are interested in so you can understand how comfortable they are.

Reliability and ease of access are also important issues to consider. You want to make sure you can use your leash when you need it, so you want something that will work effectively for all of your needs. Also, you don’t want to have your leash break so you lose your axe, or you will be defeating the whole purpose of purchasing a leash in the first place. So, make sure you focus on something that will be reliable for you, and give you the access you need to your axe or other tools when you need them. When you are able to factor in these ideas, you should be able to come to a good decision about the type of leash you want. Once you have your leash, you should be set.

FAQ

Q: Should I purchase a leash that can hold two axes?

That really depends on what you plan on doing with your leash. Leashes that can hold two axes can be very useful if you plan on using them with extra tools as well, since some of these leashes are compatible with all ice tools. Some climbers prefer to have two axes, while others do not. Really, that will depend on your climbing style and comfort level. So, make sure you take into account what you know you’ll want to carry and feel comfortable with, and make your decision from there.

Q: What do I need to look for with wrist attachments?

If you purchase an ice leash that attaches to your wrist, you want to make sure you check that feature out for comfort and cushioning. You don’t want something that’s going to rub your wrist or make you feel uncomfortable when you are busy in the mountains, so check the functionality of the padding. Good wrist attachments have cushioning as well as features that help you easily adjust the tightness around your wrist. Some wrist attachments also allow you to give the leash more slack or shorten the slack. While you may or may not be worried about that, you do want to make sure the wrist attachment is comfortable so it doesn’t bother you while you are active.

Q: Should I worry about a leash with metal in it?

Not really, if rust is something you are worried about. Many leashes that feature metal parts like springs or clips are made with corrosion-resistant materials, and depending on the type of leash you buy, you shouldn’t have to worry about the metal rusting for a while. Most of the leashes we’ve listed use nylon cords or a combination of nylon or other materials in the cord design, and leashes that do use springs and metal parts are still very durable. So, if you like a leash, you shouldn’t let metal pieces in it deter you.

Q: If I am shopping on a budget, what do I need to know when selecting a leash?

There are many good leashes on the market today that are very affordable and should fit in your price range. Most of these cheaper leashes won’t have as many features on them, but they still work well to do their job. Also, if you wind up having to go cheaper on a leash, you’ll probably be sacrificing some amount of durability with your leash. However, if money is really an issue, then don’t let that trouble you—you can still get a good leash on a budget.

Q: Do I need to maintain my leash?

As with any product, leashes do require some maintenance, and typically the more features you have on your leash, the more maintenance you may need to consider. You want to make sure you don’t let your leash sit tangled or covered in cold snow if you can avoid it, and also make sure you clean out any spring systems if you use the leash a lot and some grime or debris starts getting caught in the spring system. If you want to get the most out of the money you spend, you should consider how to properly care for your product.

Q: If I am new to leashes should I go with something simple?

Yes, you should. You want to make sure that you know how to use the leash correctly, so try to get something that is easy to use and simple in design. If you are just starting out, then functionality of your leash should really be a priority. So, consider how easy the leash is to use, and make sure it has an easy learning curve so you won’t have issues when you need your leash.

Final Thoughts

An ice axe leash can be a bit of a hot topic among the mountaineering crowd. This is because some feel that a leash is not necessary to protect yourself or your axe. However, if you are just starting out, or if you just feel safer having a leash attached to your ice axe, it’s well worth the investment. Now that you have read our top ten best ice axe leashes you have a better idea for which one suits your needs. Remember a few key points when you look for your leash. You want the leash to feel comfortable, be easy to use, and be durable, so that it lasts for the long haul.

Sources

  1. Andy Kirkpatrick , No More Dropped Axes, Informational Outdoor Website, Dec 04, 2008
  2. Mountain Project, Ice Axe Leashes, Informational Outdoor Website, Aug 19, 2017
  3. Mountaineering Methodology, Ice Axe, Jun 18, 2017
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