Black Diamond Viper Ice Hammer.
Climbing is at its most fun with the Black Diamond Viper Ice Hammer. It is a technical, all-terrain tool that is great as a daily driver for ice and alpine climbing. It is equipped with reliable features that will have you swinging into ice with unbelievable ease. The Viper Ice Hammer features an exceptionally stiff and light hydroformed shaft that reduces weight, all while maintaining excellent clearance and balance. Also equipped with Viper Fang and Strike, it cradles your hand while climbing without leash. Another great addition is the Chromoly-steel laser pick with a thin taper and low-volume tip that allows easy penetration with a low displacement of ice. In addition, the stainless-steel head and 7075 aluminum shaft work together to deliver reliable power on ice and mixed routes, as well as ensure superb balance. For a strong grip while wearing gloves, a Thermoplastic urethane grip is also included. Ideal to use for mixed climbing, waterfall ice, and drytool classics, the hammer is absolutely a great choice for extreme climbers out there.
This product can only be shipped to U.S. addresses.
The Viper Ice Tool by Black Diamond has evolved with a new hydroformed shaft to increase stiffness and reduce weight, while maintaining exceptional clearance. Hydroforming uses pressurized water to expand the Viper's shaft into its uniquely stiff, yet lightweight shape. With superb balance, leashless capability and an optional integrated Android Leash, the Viper goes most anywhere. Comes equipped with our Viper Fang and Strike, to cradle your hands for precise gripping when going leashless. Laser Pick included. Patented.
The evolution of the Black Diamond Viper hammer ice tool continues with key updates that keep you swinging into ice with ease.
|Components included:||Laser pick, micro hammer, Viper Strike and Fang|
|Country of Origin:||China|
|Head Material:||Stainless Steel|
|Pick shape:||Reverse curve|
|Shaft Rating:||T Rated|
|Weight:||1 lb 7 oz / 655 g|
|Weight (Grams):||625 g|
|Black Diamond Viper Ice Axe||$172.49 - $239.95|
|Black Diamond Viper||$229.99|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.