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Saturday, 28 November 2015 13:07

Winter Hardwear - Black Diamond's new tools

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As winter approaches, the anticipation of gullies filling with snow and crags being coated with ice, from the novice to the hardened professional, fills every winter climbers waking moment. It’s about now they will take stock of what is required for their winter indulgence.

It’s starts in the head, thinking what didn’t work last year, how many pairs of gloves were ruined or dropped at a belay, what new kit has come
out to make the experience on the mountain (especially at those arctic belay stances) that whole lot easier.


After that the winter hardwear starts to get pulled out. Checking over the “dead man”, cast a careful eye over the aggressive teeth of the ice screws, unravelling of straps to inspect the crampon claws and every tooth and edge of the pick on each axe is scrutinized to deem whether it will hold at that first crack of the season.

I checked out mine this weekend, fortunately mine are relatively new and with such varying conditions last year they didn’t get the use I wanted of them last season. So I am one of the many in the description above. Waiting (impatiently) and watching (apprehensively)!

Regardless of their use, I have still been looking at the newly released gear and I found that Black Diamond have revised my Vipers.


The 2015 version isn’t quite as appealing colour wise and I’d be interested to see how the flicklock trigger (or pommel) works on the hill.

It has lost 60g for the adze axe in its 2015 form. I find mine swing pretty well for me but BD cite an improvement for the new version. Hopefully I can test the theory at some point.


Black Diamonds new all-round crampons are the Snaggletooth’s. BD do give their crampons cool names, mine are Cyborgs! These are the “future for mixed and alpine climbing” according to Kolin Powick of Black Diamond.

The idea of having the protruding main front point with a secondary one as a back up makes sense and as the clip says it has a flexible centre bar so it can work across a wide range of boots. However, I only see it in the Pro strap configuration, so it restricts it to stiff boots?!? I may be missing something. Regardless they would seem on paper to be very versatile and ideal for Scottish Mixed Climbing.

Here on My Outdoors we will be looking at other elements of gear for the winter season. I will persevere on my continual research into the perfect glove system for winter. The walking axe is another important staple to the winter weaponry we want to look at.

All we need now is the snow. Stay safe and be armed with the right kit. If there is anything you want us to look at get in touch.

Last modified on Sunday, 29 November 2015 17:08
Davy Wright

Most at home in the outdoors, preferably on top of something big and pointy. Scotland is Davy's playground, which is why he doesn’t mind getting wet. But winter is where it’s at. Hiking, scrambling, camping and a bit of climbing when I can. Sucker for a ridge. At a lower altitude he try getting out on his bike and run if he has to.

Davy describes himself as "a bit of a gear geek, maybe less of the bit. I like to see how things work or don’t!" In following this line Davy has become a respected and authoritative blogger over the last few years, working with many of the UK's major manufacturers and retailers.

Preferred activities: Hillwalking, camping, scrambling, trying to get better at climbing/ice climbing, cycling/mountain biking

Areas commonly visited: Lochaber, Cairngorms, Lake District

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