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
Terms And Conditions
This Usage Agreement (the "Agreement") governs your conduct while using various services on the web site Backcountry.com and its affiliate web sites (collectively, the "Site"). All references to "we," "us," and "our" shall mean Backcountry.com and all references to "you" and "your" shall mean the user of the Site and Site Services. This Agreement applies to various services and activities on the Site as well as to gear review and product ratings (collectively, "Site Services"). Please read this Agreement carefully.
BY ACCESSING, BROWSING, AND USING THE SITE, ANY SITE SERVICES AND OTHER SERVICES THEREIN, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THIS AGREEMENT AND ITS TERMS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THIS AGREEMENT OR ANY SUBSEQUENT MODIFICATION THEREOF, DO NOT ACCESS, BROWSE OR OTHERWISE USE THE SITE OR SITE SERVICES, INCLUDING THE SUBMISSION OF ANY REVIEWS OR COMMENTS.
Any comments, reviews (including gear reviews and product ratings), posts, feedback, questions, answers, notes, messages, images, video, audio, materials, documents, data, graphics, ideas, suggestions or other communications (collectively, "User Content") you submit on the Site are not private or proprietary. By submitting User Content on or through the Site, you grant, assign and transfer to Backcountry.com all of your rights, title and interest, including without limitation, all intellectual property rights and moral rights, in and to such User Content. To the extent the preceding assignment and transfer is ineffective, you hereby grant Backcountry.com an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, adapt, display, publish, archive, store, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon such User Content, in any form, media, software or technology of any kind now existing or developed in the future.
By submitting such User Content on or through the Site, you are confirming that (a) you are the sole author of the User Content and the User Content originated with you and not copied in whole or in part from any other work; (b) you have obtained all necessary permissions associated with the User Content, including without limitation permissions relating to copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity and/or rights of privacy; (c) the User Content does not contain hate speech or profanity and is not unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, libelous, obscene, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, an invasion of another's privacy, or otherwise in violation of this Agreement; (d) that you are not a minor and have the legal right and capacity to enter into and comply with this Agreement; (e) such User Content does not and will not, in any way, violate or breach any of the terms of this Agreement; and (f) Backcountry.com shall not in any circumstances be required to pay or incur any sums to any person or entity as a result of its use or exploitation of the User Content.
With respect to your conduct on the Site or while using the Site Services, you agree not to: (a) attempt to disguise the origin of any User Content transmitted to the Site Services whether through the Site or any third party site; (b) act in any manner that negatively affects other users' ability to use the Site and Site Services; (c) impersonate any person or entity, including without limitation, a manufacturer or owner of any product, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (d) interfere with the Site or Site Services, or servers or networks connected to the Site or Site Services, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies, or regulations of networks connected to the Site or Site Services; (e) upload, post, or otherwise transmit any User Content that with respect to the Site Services: (i) is not relevant to the product, service, person or entity being reviewed; (ii) you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (by way of example but not limitation, inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements); (iii) contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or (iv) is unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation.
User Content does not reflect the views of Backcountry.com, and Backcountry.com does not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, integrity, quality or reliability of any User Content, nor does Backcountry.com endorse or support any opinions expressed in any User Content. In no event shall Backcountry.com have or be construed to have any responsibility or liability for or in connection with any User Content, Any gear reviews and/or product ratings submitted on the Site, if displayed, are displayed for entertainment and informational purposes only. Under no circumstances will Backcountry.com be liable in any way for any User Content, including but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any User Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any User Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted via the Site or Site Services.
If Backcountry.com determines, in our sole and absolute discretion, that you or any User Content you submit violates this Agreement, we reserve the right, at any time, without notice and without limiting any and all other rights Backcountry.com may have under this Agreement, to: (a) refuse to allow you to submit further User Content; (b) remove and delete your User Content; (c) revoke your registration and right to use the User Content Submission Features; and (d) use any technological, legal, operational or other means available to enforce the terms of this Agreement, including, without limitation, blocking specific IP addresses or deactivating your registration, access to the Site and Site Services using your e-mail address, and your user name and password. Without limiting the foregoing, once User Content is submitted to the Site, Backcountry.com may take any or no action with respect to such User Content, including without limitation, deleting, editing, modifying, rejecting, or refusing to post such User Content, but is under no obligation to offer you the opportunity to edit, delete or otherwise modify User Content once it has been submitted. Backcountry.com shall have no duty to attribute authorship of User Content to you and shall not be obligated to enforce any form of attribution by third parties.
If, despite the foregoing assignment and transfer of rights in the User Content, it is determined that you retain moral rights (including the rights of attribution or integrity) in the User Content, you hereby declare that: (a) you do not require that any personally identifying information be used in connection with the User Content or any derivative works of or upgrades or updates thereto; (b) you have no objection to the publication, use, modification, deletion and exploitation of the User Content by Backcountry.com or its licensees, successors or assigns; (c) you forever waive and agree not to claim or assert any entitlement to any and all moral rights of an author in any of the User Content; and (d) you forever release Backcountry.com, and its licensees, successors and assigns from any claims that you could otherwise assert against Backcountry.com by virtue of any such moral rights.
You are prohibited from violating the security of any system or network compromising the Site or the Site Services, including but not limited to the following: (a) unauthorized access to or use of data, systems, or networks, including any attempt to probe, scan or test the vulnerability of the Site or Site Services or to breach security or authentication measures; (b) unauthorized monitoring of data or traffic on the Site or of the Site Services; (c) interference with the Site or Site Services including without limitation, any type of flooding technique or deliberate attempt to overload the system such as denial or service attacks; (d) forging of a message header or any part of a message header; or (e) using manual or electronic means to avoid any use or access limitation placed on this Site or the Site Services. Such violations may result in criminal or civil liability.
Backcountry.com reserves the right to report any activity or persons that Backcountry.com suspects has violated any law or regulation to appropriate law enforcement officials, regulators, or other appropriate third parties (including the disclosure of appropriate subscriber information). Backcountry.com may also cooperate with appropriate law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigation and prosecution of any illegal conduct. Indirect or attempted violations of this Agreement and actual or attempted violations thereof by a third party on behalf of any user shall be considered violations of this Agreement by such user.
BACKCOUNTRY.COM DOES NOT ENDORSE THE USER CONTENT, IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE USER CONTENT AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, PERSONS WHO MAY USE OR RELY ON SUCH USER CONTENT) FOR ANY LOSS, DAMAGE (WHETHER ACTUAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR OTHERWISE), INJURY, CLAIM, LIABILITY OR OTHER CAUSE OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER BASED UPON OR RESULTING FROM ANY USER CONTENT PROVIDED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.
Share your thoughts
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.
For me, better than quarks, but not as good as quantum techs
I love these tools. I think they stick better than the Petzl quarks. I had more consistent, single swing placements than my petzl quarks. They look freaking great.
My only complaint-made in china, while grivels and most of petzls products are not.
These used to be my favorite tools. I owned them for a while but sold them and bought the grivel quantum techs. The quantum techs are noticeably lighter and have a better angle for me. I think the quantum techs are the best kept secret regarding ice tools.
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.