For winter 2019, Black Diamond revamped their entire line of picks. All the various ice tool picks used to be made out of a flat steel sheet that was laser cut and machined afterwards. Now they will all be hot forged. So why should you care? Well it increases the durability by over 30 percent for one.
Picks don’t break from being banged into the ice, they break from being pulled out of the ice repeatedly, where the leverage puts a ton of pressure on the very end of the pick. Even worse is when you get your tool stuck and errantly wiggle it from side to side to try and get it out (top tip: never do that — only push or pull in a straight direction).
To up the ante, Black Diamond added an epoxy coating to make them look super cool, last a bit longer, and make their movement in and out of the ice that much smoother.
BD also changed up the angles a little on the picks. The Natural Ice Pick, for example, is thinner and shorter in the tip so it goes in and out of the ice better. They took the same tip and put it on the Natural Ice Plus Pick as well — the Ice Plus has a two-degree more open pick angle. The Mixed Pick, by comparison, was made three degrees steeper and is thicker and taller in the tip to make it extra burly.
All the Black Diamond picks are interchangeable and reverse compatible, so each will fit on basically any tool — they will retail for $55.
Also for next winter, the Spinner Leash ($55; technical ice climbing) and Slinger Leash ($30; mountaineering) get an update. BD adding locking carabiners to the ends so they won’t magically unclip themselves from your tools. The biners are now aluminum instead of steel to shave off 30 grams in weight and the bungee is polyester instead of nylon so it absorbs less water than before. You also get a longer reach out of the bungee.