By: randosteve|Posted on: May 10, 2011|Posted in: DIY - Modification, Gear | 26 comments

A big thanks and shout-out to Alex Doaga, who sent us this Whippet modification.
(Note: This modification will most likely void the warranty.)

It’s that time of year again when Black Diamond Whippet poles can really come in handy. Whether it’s sketchy skinning on a firm and steep slope, or skiing a gnarly line, a Whippet can give you piece-of-mind that you might actually be able to self-arrest in the event of a slip. (FYI, BD Whippet poles will be in stock soon here.)

Alex Doaga’s modification fits like a glove.

Many of you have found out that Whippet poles are god’s gift to spring skiers, but there might be one flaw in its design…the strap. Unlike some, I’m a big user of ski pole straps and when you really need to use a lot of “arm-wax”, or put a lot of downward pressure on the poles, the configuration of a pole strap can really be important. For one thing, the strap on the Whippet is attached to the pick/pole not quite in direct alignment to the grip. When you’re really pulling (or pushing) down hard, it seems to want to pull your hand away for the grip and/or tweak your wrist.

Drill two holes on either side of the grip.
Drilling from the top down works best.
Also, drill a hole in the middle of the pick and then thread
some cord (4mm works best) through the holes.

What Alex shows us here, is a way to modify the attachment point of the strap to make them super comfortable and easy on the hands and wrists. Basically, he removed the strap from the pick, drilled holes in the grip, and then sewed the strap on to some cord that was threaded through the drilled holes. After a couple months of use and testing, Alex has informed me that the modification had worked great and I will probably make some adjustments to my own Whippet straps as well. Thanks Alex!!!

Sew the cord onto both sides of the strap.
Test the location of where to sew it first by inserting your hand
into the strap and holding onto the pole. FYI, you may account for
some stretching of the cord and sew the strap on a few millimeters
up from where you want it to end up.

To add, the strap used on the Whippet is not ambidextrous. Meaning that depending on how you thread the webbing through the buckle, it is only ergonomically correct for either your left OR right hand…not both. One side of the strap is narrow, which is good for resting on your thumb, while the other side of the strap is wide, which offers good support for the other side of your hand. I like to switch the hand I have the Whippet in, so this can be a kind of annoying. Ideally, it would be nice to have one of the new-style straps that BD uses on their other pole offerings. You can probably get them from BD and then use them with this modification to make your Whippet straps the cats’ meow.