Emaciated dog or hit song by Devo? Wrong! It’s the Black Diamond Whippet self-arrest pole. Not to be confused with self-abuse, or as the more enlightened Dutch evidently call it, self-improvement. The Whippet is one of a very few options in this category, the others being Grivel’s Condor (aka Alu) and Petzl’s Snowscopic.
The 14oz. Whippet is the best ski/trekking pole combo of the group. It has BD’s excellent FlickLock adjustment system, which I beat the living crap out of recently while in route-finding hell on Rainier’s lower Nisqually Glacier, with no slippage whatsoever. The 3/4 baskets and dual-density grips are also excellent. Two qualifications: it’s a two-section pole, which is stronger but doesn’t collapse very far (take note if you plan to put in luggage), and the strap doesn’t tighten enough for my liking.
For skiing, glacier travel and trekking pole applications the Whippet is a great option. Mountaineers will wonder if it self-arrests well enough to replace an axe: subjectively I think it will, properly used. It’s longer and handles differently than an axe, so practice with it before you need it. I used the Whippet instead of an axe on the Kautz Glacier route and I was comfortable with it, but I also didn’t need the plunging capability of an axe.