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A quiver of one ... used in pairs.
The new Black Diamond Fuel Ice Tool represents the next evolution in leashless tools. Black Diamond first starts by hydroforming the shaft from a single piece of aluminum. This allows it to be made lighter, while still maintaining strength, and gives an incredibly solid swing throughout. The Fusion ice pick is included standard on the Fuel, which gives it the highest level of performance possible on steep to overhanging ice routes. The grip is adjustable and includes spacing washers so you can get the perfect fit, even if you're switching gloves throughout the season. The spike on the bottom is a bit blunter and rounder than previous offerings, reducing the chance of stabbing yourself or having it catch. It is still removable, as with previous models, and can also be clipped in the process of building anchors or using the axe as a pseudo-snow picket. When your plans take you onto some of the steepest mixed and ice routes, you can't go wrong with having the new BD Fuel in your quiver.
- Hydroformed aluminum shaft
- 50cm length
- Fusion ice pick included
- Adjustable grip with spacing washers
- Removable, clippable spike
- Item #BLD006E
- Q & A
Great for dry tooling and hooking
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
These tools have the stiffest shaft and most comfortable handles of all the tools that I have tried, which makes them well suited to dry tooling and hooking. They also appear to be more durable than most of the competition, especially for heavier and more abusive climbers.
I think the Fuel has the best bottom spike / attachment point design on the market. It provides good purchase in soft ice and neve, without being sharp enough to puncture humans.
Since they are not as light and efficient to swing as some other tools, I would recommend them primarily for people looking to do vertical-to-overhanging climbing on rock, thin ice, or hooked out ice. They are certainly adequate for climbing less than vertical ice, making them a good all-around tool.
This picture is from when the tool was a week old and had only been used on pure ice. Notice the wear around the hole as well as how all the color on the screw is gone.
BD Fuel ice tool
A good rugged all around tool. Swings well into ice, dry/mixed climbs, and has a good spike for more alpine outings. However "tool" is the word that sums up my feelings for the fuel as it is outclassed in each category by other more specific options and is less modular than most as well. The fuel just never gave me that giddy joy that some tools do. However it is undeniably functional and makes a solid choice for those looking to get a "quiver of one". Other notes, if your hands are XL gloves or larger then they will not fit in the grip even with all the spacers in, also even though there is no hammer you can set pins with the flat area on the back of the head.