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The best of both worlds.

A long snow route with a couple pitches of ice is the hardest type of climbing for which to select an appropriate tool. It used to be that you could either have a good ice tool that sucks for self-arrest or a standard ice axe that can barely climb a pitch of easy ice. Not anymore. Black Diamond designed the Venom Ice Axe to self-arrest and plunge into the snow easily but still offer good ice performance.

  • Ideal counterpart to your ice axe on a mountaineering trip
  • The interchangeable, classically curved pick is designed to provide solid placements while ice climbing as well as to self-arrest securely
  • The Venom's slight bend at the top of the shaft increases vertical performance without sacrificing the ability to plant the shaft in the snow
  • Replaceable pick can be re-sharpened after each trip
  • An ideal alpine leash, the Lockdown, is included with this versatile axe

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Black Diamond Venom Hammer

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Here's what others have to say...

4 5

Hybrid tool FTW!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I really like this tool. It works great for small mixed climbs and is light enough that it there is a chance i'll need two tools i'll grab this one. The only reason I didn't give it five starts is because I think it needs a finger grib like the Petzl Sum'Tec. Other then that this is my go to hybrid tool. I would recommend it for anyone seeking a hybrid tool

Hybrid tool FTW!
4 5


Nice little tool to have on some steeper routes, but nothing overly technical. Not too heavy, but sturdy. Does everything I need it to do.

How well does this axe work on pure ice...

How well does this axe work on pure ice (WI???)? Could I use it for alpine ice one day, then recreational ice climbing the next?
I am looking for an all around tool that doesn't empty my pockets.

Best Answer Responded on

If you're planning to an even amount of both look for something a bit more technical than the Venom. I have used it for both alpine travel and ice climbing. It will do both for sure, its not the most ideal for long bouts of ice climbing though. For that I would suggest a technical tool.
I have used the Venom and one of my petzl quarks combo before with pleasant results. Hope this helped!

Responded on

Thanks Reid! I ended up shelling out the dough for the quarks, and I am glad that I did. The quarks work right in the range I wanted.

Responded on

You're welcome.
Those are an awesome tool. Having a ice axe is good for glaciers, I just got a BD Raven for that. Cheap and sturdy. Cheers!

4 5

Venom Hammer

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Not aways my first choice to bring on a trip but definitely good to add to the quiver. nice for snow routes where you consider not bringing an axe but might need to pound something or if you run into a slight bulge of ice. Not something I would particularly want to climb serious ice with but there are climbers out there way better than I who easily could. Grip is nice, leash works well, and the picks are easy enough to change if you have the tool though I prefer the bolt heads on the cobras for tightening in the field.

Topping out on the Chevy

Topping out on the Chevy

Kim Havell about to top out on the Chevy Couloir on the way to skiing the Grand Teton, which she climbed using Venom ice tools.

5 5

Perfect Alpine Axe.

This thing rocks! I was looking for an axe that I could use for self arrest but would also work well on some semi steep ice/snow, and the venom does the trick. Seriously, you can't go wrong having this tool with ya.

4 5

Good but heavy

Like many have said before. When you have a pair they really add up in weight department. Other than the weight this is a sold tool.

5 5

Just what I wanted

I thought this must somehow suck because it's so much cheaper than many others in its class but it doesn't. It's sharp, aggressive and a valuable tool. I bought this as a compliment to my long ax for more classic alpine climbing and used it on Mt. Hood's Old Chute yesterday. I would have been significantly less happy without it. I am 6' and I got the 50c which feels plenty long for what I want it for.

Responded on

Great review. I actually bought this axe today to use on Mt. Hood's Old Chute next week. It looks like it would be dicey with just my 70cm Raven Pro.

5 5

Great tool!

If you want a tool that can be used for a bit of mountaineering as well as some steeper ice, the black diamond venom is it!! Perfect versatile ice tool when you need one that can do many different things. Id recommend it to any alpine climber.

Great tool!
3 5


This has been my go to axe when engaged in steep glacier travel and light mountaineering. It can work for a bit of easy vertical but certainly not what it was designed for. Also use this bad boy on ski tours over icy terrain as I do not (yet) have a whippet.

can this hammer knock in some Pitons???...

can this hammer knock in some Pitons??? or do i need the black diamond hammer?

Responded on

This hammer can put pitons in...but, the black diamond hammer would be MUCH easier to use.

Hey All,
Building my backcountry ski kit...

Hey All,
Building my backcountry ski kit a bit deeper this year. I am 6 ft and need some recs on sizing an ice axe. Any reccomendations please would be a big help. Thanks

Best Answer Responded on

I'm 5 ft 11 in and I use a 65 or 70. In general, you want an ice axe that, when you hold it at your side with your arm straight, stops a little bit above your ankle. If you plan on going up steep slopes, you'll want the axe to be a few cm shorter than that. This only applies if you're going to use the axe as a cane.

If you plan on using it on very steep slopes where you're going to swing it over your head, you'll want a significantly shorter tool. The standard length for technical tools is closer to 50 cm. If that's what you plan on doing, a 57 cm Venom might serve you pretty well.

Responded on

I just bought a 50cm Venom hammer as a second tool to my 65cm Raven for north Cascades ski mountaineering and climbing. I'm shorter than you but my reasoning is that I'll be skinning with poles on anything under ~45 degrees and if it gets to the point that I want an axe it's to plunge up to the pick on steep faces. I don't need anything approaching cane length for that. When I have some more money I'll replace my Raven with a Venom adze.