Black Diamond Viper (2007) Ice Tools – Strikes The Ice As Accurately and Effortlessly As It’s Namesake

BD Viper going to work at Hafner Creek in Banff, Canada. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

(This review is for the BD 2007 Vipers.)  Black Diamond hit the nail on the head naming these badboys The Viper. They are slender like a snake, and when you flick them at the ice that slice in as accurately and smoothly as a Viper striking out for it’s prey.  I opted for the double hammers, which are advantageous particularly for dry tooling ; if a tool pops and hits you in the face it’s far better to be walloped by a hammer than an adze.  An adze can be purchased for these tools; when I take them out Alpine Ice climbing then I swap out a hammer for an adze and take off the fangs on the bottom so they are good for plunging.

The Vipers are nicely balanced for swinging, giving them a  smooth flow and accurate, easy ice penetration.  You’ll be extra thankful for this feature when you’re getting pumped after all those badass ice pitches. The Viper’s highly curved minor-axis shaft gives good clearance on hard, steep ice and mixed terrain.

The shaft has a smaller diameter and handle diameter than most ice tools, fitting women’s smaller hands (and men with smaller hands) well.  At

More Viper glamor shots. Photo by Genevieve Hathaway.

1.8 lbs, these tools are light.  The shaft is made of aluminum and the heads are steel.   BD recommends the very awesome laser picks for these tools.  They have leash attachments on the shaft which are easy to remove or attach, though I prefer not to use leashes.

I’ve used the Vipers on both alpine ice and waterfall ice – these tools work smashingly for both.   Whether I’m out climbing seracs on Mt. Baker or ice steps on Mt. Rainier or awesome multi-pitch frozen waterfalls in Banff, Canada; these tools are bomber.

For more on the Black Diamond Vipers check out Black Diamond’s website:

BD Viper is fun both on the ice and off the ice. Photo shoot I did with Jennifer McKinney. Photo by Jennifer McKinney. (


~ by Genevieve Hathaway on August 11, 2010.

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