Black Diamond Whippet self arrest pole

Whippet When a problem comes along, you can Whippet! C'mon, put your hubcabs on your heads! Ah, the kids these days don't know what they missed in the eighties. Probably better that way. But they have cool stuff like Black Diamond's new Whippet self-arrest pole, so I guess we're even.

You have to love a product where the instructions actually tell you, "try to avoid self-evisceration should you wipe out." Do that and the Whippet will be your new best friend. I've carried the original Whippet instead of an ice ax for years now, and you've all been asking how the new model compares. The new (still two-section) Whippet is slightly shorter when collapsed (about 39" v. 44"), barely lighter (14.3oz v. 14.7oz) and has a redesigned handle and integrated pick, complete with cool orange elastic cover. The top of the Whippet is now encased in rounded plastic instead of the slit plastic tube on the original. Finally the upper barrel on the new version is a smaller diameter, so it won't take the old Whippet lower.

On the old Whippet you could replace the aluminum lower section with the carbon fiber lower from the old BD Carbon Fiber Flicklock pole with an adapter, adding point three ounces to the weight. The new Whippet doesn't need the adapter and will take their carbon fiber probe lower section with a small increase in weight of point four ounces. You have to get the probe lowers from BD directly for $11 plus a few $ shipping; if you're going for a pair make sure you get a male ML and female FM, and know that the shorter 125cm length sticks out an extra inch when collapsed. On the plus side you can just pull the lowers out and they're just under 36" so they'll stow nicely.

The same caveats for use still apply: practice with it to get used to the difference in self-arresting with a ski pole v. a shorter axe. Once you do you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much terrain you can cover with the Whippet and not have to swap out to a traditional axe. With a Whippet in each hand- an expensive proposition, no doubt – you can really engage four points of contact and move quickly over pretty steep terrain.

$79.95 (on sale from $99.95) at Backcountry


Note to readers: As of November 1, 2022, Gearflogger no longer participates in affiliate programs or accepts commissions on links to products. We’ll find some other way to make money. Maybe get a real job. Maybe not.

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