Review: Black Diamond Viper Ice tools


Love these ice tools for pure waterfall ice climbing (found they weren’t as ideal in alpine compared to Cobras). I really like the weight of these, which are definitely heftier than the Cobras, but the heft, which absolutely is not too heavy, does make it easy for beginners to get a really good swing/stick. The adjustable FlickLock is also really nice for adjusting your hand-placement for different terrain and allows you to get two hand comfortably on the tool. You can customize the pick for mixed climbing as well.




$249.95 (10% off BD if you buy two)



Weight :  [Hammer] 570 g (1 lb 4 oz)

[Adze] 595 g (1 lb 5 oz)

Length :  50 cm

Head :  Stainless steel

Pick :  Chromoly steel

Shaft :  Aluminum

Grip :  TPU


PROS: Good fit for my small lady hands, nice balanced weight for an easy swing, can accommodate a leash if your into that sort of thing. 

CONS: Sticky in the ice/hard to get out (must file!!)

TIPS: File these guys! It really gets rid of that ‘stick’ and I found is a must!

Review: Arc'teryx Gamma AR Softshell Pant (Women's)

Hello pants I use for EVERYTHING (almost)!

Ice climbing, rock climbing, mountaineering, snowshoeing, touring, these pants do it all! For any alpine or windy endeavor, these are my go-to pants. I am even packing these for my upcoming Denali adventure. 

 My Personal Fit: I'm 5'3" 112lbs and purchased a size 4 which fits perfectly (these run small, and if you plan on layering.. size up)

My Personal Fit: I'm 5'3" 112lbs and purchased a size 4 which fits perfectly (these run small, and if you plan on layering.. size up)


The Arc'teryx Gamma AR Softshell pant for women will run you about $199, but like most Arc'teryx items, I have found this one incredibly worth the money. This is by far one of the best clothing items I own, not to mention the trim fit is actually flattering (compared to many softshell pants out there for women). 


The Gamma AR pant is super durable and lightweight, and it gives me a very comfortable and secure fit. No matter what I am doing, no butt-cracks here, thanks to the stretchy fit and built-in belt. The belt has quite a few loop options to link into, which I have found incredibly helpful to make these pants even more versatile (i.e. some days I need to wear a layer or two underneath, and some days I don't need any layers, and some days I am just bloated, but they still fit with the belt adjustment!) This sort of comfort is hard to find for me personally, as I am small but have curves!


These pants are very breathable! Even when I am sweating my butt off in them, I never feel sticky (but I do always wear at least a thin legging underneath). But unlike other softshells I have owned, they never make me feel humid. 


No matter what terrain I have gone through, the pants have held up very well. The only time I have managed to knick them was when I somehow put the front-point of my ice-climbing crampon through the bottom side. It went right through, but had held-up to the many branches and rocks I have scraped them against Tip: so avoid plunging your crampon through them and you should be fine :)


  • Tip: I ALWAYS wear a pair of leggings underneath because I don't like the feel of softshell material on my skin (this one can feel a little like rain pant material) . This can range to a heavy legging to a very thin and non-insulating legging. 
  • Tip: The pant fits great over a regular boot or shoe, but its a little more of a struggle getting them over ski boots (especially in tour-mode) so a gaiter can be helpful in this situation. Also there is a gaiter clip in the front, which is helpful. 
  • Tip: Not for warm weather! Think Alpine adventure time or wind/rain. I live in a Colorado Mountain Town at 10,000ft and I can almost use them year-round. 


Pros: Durable, lightweight, adjustable waste, stretchy (gusseted), wind-resistant, breathable, comfortable under a backpack hip-belt, Low pocket that you can access even in a harness, no butt-crack

Cons: Price ($199!), for me they need a lining layer between my skin and the pant, run a little small (size up if on the cusp). 


The one change I would make:

  • Like any softshell, they are not completely waterproof, if these had gortex on the knee they would be the perfect softshell for any snowy adventure. 


Info:  Burly™ double weave—46% nylon, 46% polyester, 8% elastane, 275 g/m².


Highly breathable textiles with stretch and differing degrees of thermal efficiency that can be worn as water-resistant outer layers. High degree of abrasion resistance.


AR | All Around

Provides high performance & weather protection and highlights a range of features to give All Around versatility in multiple activities


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