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A tool to take on any terrain.
- Choke-up point allows easier matching on steep terrain
- Clip-in point lets you use tethers on multi-pitch routes
- Curved upper shaft provides extra clearance on bulges
Share your thoughts
Alex Q Hammering!
Fun trip to Ouray.
Is the Viper strike and fang are hard...
Is the Viper strike and fang are hard enough to dash/press on rocks (on mix climbing) or the plastic will shatter?
I hope you can help me please
After seeing what you mean in the parts section, I think I can help.
If you're grinding the pommel and fang along the rocks during some mixed moves, I don't think it will shatter, but you will wear them down quickly.
You'd do better looking at mixed-specific tools. I'm partial to Grivel. Their X-monster is good for crack jamming, but is otherwise an ice tool capable of dry-tooling. The Alp Monster is mixed specific, but reviews are likewise, mixed.
I'm not sure about BD's tools. I tend to use BD for protection and packs, and Grivel for axes, tools and crampons.
I hope I've led you in the right direction, Guy. Good luck in your search.
Thank you (:
Pat Palmer...I'm unseeing the X-monster for dry-tooling and it a great tool...but for mixed it is hard to use
You're not really supposed to strike the rock when you're climbing mixed, and this axe isn't made of plastic. It's metal. It's also not designed for mixed climbing. It definitely won't shatter if you do, though.
Good, but not perfect
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
This is a great axe, but it has some flaws to it. I found that it takes quite a bit of technique to make it stick in the ice, but once you get use to it, it is great. I really liked this axe, but I still prefer the Petzls....
Great tool, just requires time to get use to
Solid Alpine Tool
If you want one tool for alpine, mixed, and ice, this is one of the best options out there. They have a nice balance, they deliver confident sticks, and they're durable as hell. I love how you can switch out the hammer or adze for a head blank to save weight. I'm looking forward to swinging my set into some ice over in Chamonix.
I'll take quarks
These are great, but for only a little more cash, I can get the quarks and have a remarkably lighter setup.
These are bomber and have a great strike angle. The standard pick works well thick bullet-proof ice and holds up well to rock, too. If the quarks didn't exist, I'd be all over these.
Hydroforming Technology: The latest in Black Diamond ice tool construction.
We use hydroforming to make the shafts on our Viper and redesigned Fall 2009 Fusion ice tools. Watch this video of Climbing Hardgoods Manager Bill Belcourt as he explains the process and its advantages.
These tools are awesome. The swing takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of them they place great. They also clear bulges well. I have only climbed them leash less and use the new BD spinner leashes if i think dropping them will be an issue. Get after it!
Bought these tools (hammer and adze)after having the opportunity to borrow a plethora of tools - these came to the top so I bought them. No knuckle bashing, lightweight, picks are easy to sink and don't have excess vibration, easy to remove, durable, and priced decent - even better when you can get them on sale. I bought the android leashes to go along with them - so far, they have only ever stayed in my pack and only came for a walk. Leashless is the way to go - very good product.
This is a great tool. I used these (usually use CF Black Prophets w/leashes) on moderate water I and I was very pleased. The curve in the shaft makes sinking tools a breeze, they just fly right in. If there's a downside to the tools, it's that the pick is so easy to place it can be easy to over-sink them and make them difficult to remove. Once you learn to deal with that though, it means less energy spent all around.
Leading a pitch on the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
I miss them.
I had a set stolen out of the back of a buddies pickup. I'll be purchasing another set before the summer ends. These are perfect for Ice, dry, mixed, anything really. They are light, versatile and work great leashless. I miss them. Plus they look mean strapped on your pack.
With or without leashes these are great tools. Durable and light. What else can I say they're solid.
Vipers in action
Leading in the Daks (NY)
These are the original vipers, from about 2003. Still running strong on orig picks. I upgraded with Shrike and Fang - something I believe comes standard on the new ones.
Single quiver ice tool
I've climbed on them for the past 4 seasons and stand by the performance. They're a bit heavy as Scott mentioned, but after 4 seasons I'm in better shape and the tools are still workhorses. If you only have 1 set of tools, this is a really good choice. You can play on long alpine routes with a mixture of snow and ice, but the tools are equally at home on vertical ice. With a good variety of picks, mixed pick, lazer, and titan, you can really customize the tool to the type of climbing you enjoy or plan on for any given weekend.
The android leash also provides some of the benefits of leashless climbing, ie easy screw placement and switching tools, without committing to leashless climbing. If you are interested in climbing with these tools leashless- save yourself the frustration and buy a leashless tool. With some add-ons they might look leashless, but they are a leashed tool- that's their strength.
These tools are amazing! Ice, mixed, dry tooling, you name it and these things perform far and beyond expectations. I love the fang and the strike for leash less climbing and the android leash option for multi-pitch is genius! Their weight, feel, and swing line all contribute to some smooth, efficient climbing. Kudos to Black Diamond for yet another amazing piece of gear.
Old Orig Style
I've been using the original Vipers for 3 years and they are strong, a tad heavy but very framing-hammer like in top balance. I believe the shaft is rotated 90 degress on the new ones for a sleeker bend. I warn people when buying vipers to ensure you get the new ones - I've heard of people getting old ones (not on BC.com though). I also mounted the leashless elements on mine (shrike and fang). It comes automatic on the new ones. I bought 2 hammers as I never cut steps, playing 99% on steep ice or preferring crampon maneuvers to old style mountaineering. All in all a solid tool. Not the lightest if that's what you want. Honestly, though well served by them, I would probably buy a lighter tool like if I had to switch. As others said, can be hard to pull out, but you do get first swings in often due to the top heaviness.
The viper tools are very good tools over all. The new hydroformed shaft is much stiffer than the previous generation vipers. The shaft also has very good clearance over bulges.
The leash system works the same as the old vipers except they removed a little stud from the leash, I'm not sure why. I'm not 100% positive but I think you could use the older leashes if you just cut off that little stud on the bottom of the leash.
The laser picks are great on pure ice but you have to learn to use them, they are very sharp and will be a little hard to get out of the ice. The picks are also not very wide so mixed climbing is not the greatest for these picks. Going to a titan pick will be a good idea if you plan on doing any climbing involving rock. The laser picks also dull easily.
The fang and strike on the handle are awesome. The do a very good job of protecting your hands and also make the grip very steady for leashless climbing. If you have large hands you will have a hard time using the tool with both fang and strike if your gloves are heavy. I have medium BD ice gloves and its a squeeze to get my hand on the tool. They are also made out of plastic and I doubt that they will last that long, they seem pretty tough but cold weather and being hit constantly won't be good for them.
The tools are very natural to use for making placements. If you turn the tool around to use the adze or hammer however they can be quite awkward to use. The strike and fang get in the way a bit and make the tool a bit hard to handle. The adze I also feel curves down too much. I thing it would be easier to use it if it were a little more flat.
Overall I think these are great tools and are quite versatile.