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Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe/Hammer Clearance

SKU# BDI_10287-8_EOL

A technical piolet for steep couloirs, plunges and self arrests.

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  • Climbs steep couloirs, plunges and self arrests
  • Interchangeable Venom Classic and Tech Picks
  • Lockdown Leash included
  • Venom Hammer is equipped with a Tech Pick and the Venom Axe comes with the Classic Pick
Review by Black Diamond NZ Sponsored Athlete Pat Deavoll.

A long snow route with a few pitches of ice like, for instance, the east ridge of Cook, is the hardest type of climbing to choose an appropriate tool for. You can either have a good ice tool that's hopeless for self arresting and shaft belays, is heavier than you want and hard to walk with, or a standard axe that doesn't perform on the ice.
However, I've found the Black Diamond Venom takes away this dilemma - it plunges into the snow well and is designed to self arrest, but also performs excellently climbing ice. The Venom, which comes in both a hammer and an axe, and in 50cm and 57cm lengths, has a slight bend at the top of the shaft which allows it to perform in steep terrain, while still allowing it to be plunged into the snow for a belay.
It also has an interchangeable pick: with the axe this is a traditional curved pick, with the hammer it is reverse curved. Both tools are well balanced, with a decent head-weight that makes them easy to swing, and come with a lock-down leash.
The Venom's aluminium shaft is thin, and plunges into the snow well, especially due to the no-frills spike at the end. I also find it easy to wrap my unusually stumpy fingers around. The rubber grip never impeded the plunging action as far as I could tell, but it was sticky and easy to grab.
I have taken my set of Venom's on the likes of the Zurbriggens Ridge at the end of April when its been really icy, and the Hooker face of Cook and they've been great. I've also had them on three Himalayan expeditions and am convinced these are the way to go if the mountain in question is steep and technical. They perform well on steep ground but are much lighter than other technical tools due to their "paired down" features and to me this is vitally important. The Venom will remain my tool of choice for future expeditions


Average Weight 528g (50cm hammer with leash)
Made From Stainless Steel head and spike, Chromoly Steel Tech pick, aluminium shaft and dual density grip
Warning Rock and Alpine climbing are potentially hazardous and dangerous. Any person using our equipment in any manner is personally responsible for learning the proper techniques involved and that the equipment used is designed for the application. The purchaser accepts full and complete responsibility and liability for any and all damages and injury that may result from use of equipment bought from Bivouac Outdoor. Instruction should be sought from professionals in the safe use of this piece of equipment. This equipment is designed for recreational use and should not be used for industrial applications.

Questions on Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe/Hammer Clearance

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  • From Be on 22/08/2012

    • Hi,

      How big is the head on the Venom and the Viper in cm2?
    • Hi Be, I'm not quite sure what you mean by the head of the Ice Axe. Are you wanting the measurement from the tip of the adze or hammer to where the pick is attached? Thanks

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Date Score Customer Comment Our Response
27-Feb-2018 Product:

I am happy with the item and service provided by the staff
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