Lots of shiny new tools for ice climbers were unveiled this week at both Outdoor Retailer and ISPO. Black Diamond showed off their new ultralight screws and updated Reactor ice tool, while Petzl released two updated ice tools and one completely brand new tool — the Ergonomic.
Black Diamond’s all around workhouse and budget friendly ice tool gets an update for 2018. The new Reactor is more aggressive with an open pick design. The tool features a steel head with aluminum side plate and is compatible with both the Black Diamond hammer and alpine adze. The aluminum shaft uses a comfortable dual density grip which can be adjusted to fit your hand size. The Reactor comes with BD’s Ice Pick which you could of course change out if so desired.
Black Diamond also unveiled a line of Ultralight Ice Screws. The brand says they were designed with ski mountaineering, glacial travel, and alpinists in mind. The new ice screws weigh 45% less than BD’s Express Screws, thanks to the combination of steel tip and aluminum body. The forged aluminum hanger has two clip in points with a wire-gate version of the Express handle to shave off even more weight. The Ultralight Ice Screws employ the same length-based color scheme as the Express Screws so you know which one to grab in any situation — they come in 13 cm, 16 cm, 19 cm, and 22 cm lengths.
Petzl showed off an updated Nomic and Quark, while adding a third new tool to their quiver to round out their offering for alpine, vertical ice, and steep mixed routes. The shaft and grip of each tool was fully redesigned — all three now feature a mid-shaft grip for traveling on low angle terrain or for gripping up. The shape of each grip is unique to the tool and designed around the specific needs of the type of climbing route.
The Ergonomic ($360 each) bridges the Nomic and its predecessor the Ergo to deliver a tool that functions just as well on steep ice as it does on overhanging rock. The Ergonomic comes equipped with a redesigned Dry pick that offers more aggressive teeth, tapered from 4 mm at the top to 3.2 mm at the tip. You get a durable upper grip and a lower grip that is larger in diameter with flat sides for a more secure grasp. The Ergonomic weighs in at 635 grams per tool.
One of my favorites, the Nomic ($300 each), has been completely redesigned for 2018 to be lighter and more durable. The new iteration features an enhanced PUR’ICE pick, bomber upper grip and lighter lower grip—shedding 20 grams from its predecessor–and an a wider griprest with stainless steel pick at the base. The new Nomics weigh in at 585 grams each.
Finally, the Quark ($260 each) remains Petzl’s most versatile tool for both technical alpine mountaineering and ice climbing. The lower handle grip is overmolded with high friction rubber, but flatter on both sides and front for better indexing and grip. At the base of the tool is a single stainless steel pick and a brand-new griprest that is now foldable. When locked in an upward position the tool drives better when plunged into softer snow and with the griprest opened your hand is well supported for steep, technical ice or couloir climbing. As with its predecessor, the 2018 Quark can come equipped with a hammer or adze.
Expect all the new ice tools and ice screws to start shipping sometime this summer.