Friday, February 4, 2011

Gear Review - Black Diamond Viper Ice Tools

Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to ice tools, but in general there are a few tools that are far and beyond considered the "best".  Black Diamond Viper ice tools are one.  They do everything well and excel on ice.  Everything from the pick to the hand rest and angle of the tool work in harmony to optimize every swing.  I have had these tools for a few years now and I have used various other tools to see what would be the best.  Overall the BD Viper does everything I need it to do, extremely well.

This tool has the best versatility of any tool I have used.  Its Laser pick is perfect for ice climbing and can be customized for mixed climbing if need be.  The swing weight balances the Viper very well and allows for less swinging (better sticking), which makes climbing with it more efficient.  One other thing that the Viper features, are hand rests.  There is a "Fang" at the bottom of the tool where a climber can rest their hand, in lieu of a leash, which allows for less pump and more efficient climbing.  There is also the "Strike" about six inches up the tool which is basically another hand rest.  This makes it easier to get two hands on one tool without bunching up the grip area of the tool.  On top of all the physical features of the Viper ice tool, it can also accommodate a leash!  On the back of the shaft there is a hex screw that you can remove and, in its place, put an attachment for a leash.  The leash then allows a climber to rest there hand without having to grip the tool at all and it keeps the climber from dropping the tool unexpectedly.  The Android Leash for the Viper can also be removed by a clip mechanism which allows a climber to remove it momentarily and then reengage it.  This ice tool really does do it all.
Me using the Viper at Lincoln Falls
Hacking ice in the Ouray Ice Park
Obviously I can't say enough about this piece of equipment.  It is strong, light, functional and customizable.  It allows climbers to climb at their peak without worrying about the equipment and it excels at every facet when it comes to ice climbing.  I highly recommend the Black Diamond Viper ice tool for any ice and mixed climbing you plan on doing.

Final Say:
Overall this is the best all around ice tool on the market.  Grab one and go hack some ice!!!


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