I saw Will Gadd playing around with these tools in Bozeman, so I immediately spoke to Black Diamond to find out more. The new Fuel ice tools are built for aggressive mixed climbing, where you plan to encounter both steep ice and overhanging rock on whatever route you are playing on.
Hydroformed from a single piece of aluminum, the Fuel’s lightweight shaft extends all the way through the grip for increased stiffness and clearance. The tool’s minimalist head makes for light swing weight, and the included Fusion Ice Pick is built for drastically improved performance on ice. The two-piece single-bolt head is compatible with all current Black Diamond picks, so you can mix and match as you wish.
The Fuel’s offset dual-density grip allows for easy matching and choke-ups on steep, fig-four worthy mixed routes and also comes with spacing washers to customize the pommel fit to different hands and gloves. The bottom spike can be removed if not wanted.
The Black Diamond Fuels are 50 cm long, weigh 1 lb 7 oz., and retail for $259.95 each. When compared to the Fusions, you will find the Fuels are about 2 degrees more aggressive at both the pick and grip angle.
For those of you new to the mixed climbing or dry tooling scene, take a look at some great tips from Will Gadd that will help you send. I spoke with Will about his thoughts on the Black Diamond Fuels and he replied with the following: “The lower pick angle makes them way easier to swing for most people, softer lower grip is much easier and more comfortable to hang onto, and they mix climb/drytool solidly. Take the spikes off the bottom immediately, the tool is significantly lighter and better balanced without them. I think BD has a winner on their hands with these tools- a much better all around solution for most people.