Ice tools are like boots in that they are very personal gear. What works for one climber may drive another climber crazy. Application matters as well, with tools these days falling into two broad categories: leashless for vertical ice and leashed for alpine and mixed routes. You could add a third category for hybrid ice ax/ice tools.
Black Diamond covers all the bases, and the Cobra is their solution for leashed alpine use. I use it with their Android clip leashes and I find the combination to be excellent across the board.
The Cobra has a fairly straight shaft, helpful for plunging in snow. The carbon fiber construction dampens vibrations from hard alpine ice, and with the oval cross-section being aligned perpindicular to the direction of swing the tool has a noticeably softer feel than most others. Tools are a big investment so it’s worthwhile to compare, and a day of swinging these and a pair of Petzl Aztars would provide an excellent comparison.
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Rumor is the Cobra and Viper are being redesigned this year. Stay tuned for news from the Winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City later this month. That’s typically when we get sneak peaks at all the new shiny-shiny.