So you know…Black Diamond is now shipping its second generation Whippets. I think Andrew Mclean had some influence on this one and Reed Finlay just got his in the mail last week. Not only does it have some significant improvements, but it now comes with a cool pick protector. 😯
Really though, two big improvements to the Black Diamond Whippet. The first being the riveting of the pick to the head. Older designs used to let you remove the pick, sometimes giving you the willy’s when you really might need to hang on one. I posted a how-to to the same thing with older Whippets…click here if you missed it. The second improvement is the addition of a little plastic around the top of the handle. The metal had a tendency to tear into gloves and the plastic keeps things warmer too. The only thing I could see to make it better is to have it come in a shorter length…or two sizes., because you’ll probably want it short for climbing the steepest couloirs…and I’d sacrifice overall length to have it compact shorter. And another thing…if I’m going to spend $100 for one…I think I’d spend $125 for it to be carbon fiber.
I’m relatively new with using the Whippets, only having a year or two under my belt, but I like the idea so far. Honestly though, I think it is more useful on the way up…than on the way down. Skinning can get pretty sketchy sometimes when things are firm and it would be easy to take a slide for life with just one slip.
Like when I was in New Zealand with Andrew McLean, Grant Guise and Chris Figenshau. We were on our way back to the hut and traversing a steep slope that was frozen solid. For some reason, we didn’t have our ski crampons with us. My edges slipped out and I was able to self arrest with the Whippet. Unfortunately I had a bugger of a time getting upright again and my edges just wouldn’t bite enough to stand up. Eventually I had to pull the Whippet and go for a slide down to the bottom of the slope and some softer snow. Luckily there wasn’t a giant crevasse below me. It was a little freaky.