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/ PRODUCT NEWS: Sneak Preview: Black Diamond Reactor Axe & Ultralight Ice Screw

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Martin McKenna with the new Reactors, 4 kbIn early February UKC joined the Black Diamond product team and pro athletes in Pitztal, Austria, for a preview of the new Reactor ice tool and Ultralight Ice Screw. Here are our first impressions.

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masa-alpin - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

The new BD ice screw looks very similar to Petzl Laser Speed?

nufkin - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to masa-alpin:

...which in turn looks mighty akin to eClimb's Klau screws

beardy mike - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to masa-alpin:

I had a go at ISPO. For me the flip out handle on th Petzl is far superior. I can see that with wear the wiregate style solution is going to see the holes which retain the handle get larger and floppy with the torque you're putting on it. Infact on the demo version the wire was already half way through the hanger after I was a bit vigourous with it. Maybe they will have a larger rivited head on the production version? I hope so! Otherwise there's not masses to seperate them as far as I can see...

joe.91 - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

What do you mean by offset lower handle? Surely all other handled tools like the original fusion, fusion II, etc. have an offset lower handle? Or have I missed something?

Martin McKenna - UKC - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> I had a go at ISPO. For me the flip out handle on th Petzl is far superior. I can see that with wear the wiregate style solution is going to see the holes which retain the handle get larger and floppy with the torque you're putting on it. Infact on the demo version the wire was already half way through the hanger after I was a bit vigourous with it. Maybe they will have a larger rivited head on the production version? I hope so! Otherwise there's not masses to seperate them as far as I can see...

BD informed me that the the final production version will have a more robust handle. The wire is going to be a little bit thicker as far as I'm aware.

 

galpinos on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

Do they rack ok? The handle looks like a step back, as if they won't rack as well as the originals/current version (which is a massive plus).

beardy mike - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

That doesn't address the potential issue though - if there is a bigger wire, it has to go through a larger hole. As a proportion it won't be THAT much bigger - maybe 0.5mm dia? Otherwise the wire will become too stiff to actuate as a spring. And my point is that with time and force, as you wind the screw in, the hole that the wire goes through will elongate and become looser because of the torque you are exerting through a small point of contact. If the rivet head on the wire is not very large like on the demo's it will start to pull through. I can then envisag a scenario where the rivet head then sits inside the hole and as you open and close the handle, it will actively score and enlarge the hole further until the rivet could pull through... Total speculation on my part but I even took a photo whilst I was at ISPO of one of the wire legs halfway through the hanger after I placed it and had to exert a bit of force to bring it home past a knobble. As I say - the Petzl version will never suffer this issue as it is constructed in a more robust way... 

GarethSL on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> the Petzl version will never suffer this issue as it is constructed in a more robust way... 

But in turn are prone to simply breaking off or have the wave washer worn out to the point that the handle becomes very floppy.

Martin McKenna - UKC - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

>What do you mean by offset lower handle? Surely all other handled tools like the original fusion, fusion II, etc. have an offset lower handle? Or have I missed something?

Yes and no. It's slightly different / hard to explain without having the axe in front of you. I guess the handle it's more like the X-Dream handle and the fusion more like the Nomic handle ( but not really). I guess it's maybe more radically offset like the X-Dream

@beardy mike

Just remember you're looking at a prototype. There will be small changes in the final iteration and BD specifically said around this wire gate handle to improve robustness.

@galpinos

A good point, and to be honest, because of the number of people vs the number of ultralight screws at this event we never had an entire rack of just ultralights to test how something like 12 would sit racked up.

In reply to beardy mike:

Hopefully they will have sorted the handle out, but the real problem with these alloy screws (at least with the Petzl ones that I have) is that they bind to the ice in cold conditions and it becomes impossible to place them without winding them out, blowing out the compacted core, and starting again. Needless to say this is a bit disconcerting on steep ground and I now carry a mixture with some steel ones, reserving the steel ones for harder moves and the alloy for more in balance situations.

Martin McKenna - UKC - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Stephen Reid - Needle Sports:

This was something that I had heard about, although granted, I'd never used the Petzl screws actually out climbing, only in an ice block at Kendal MF.

I didn't notice this happening with the BD ones and that could be down to the different anodising. I used them in dry and wet ice and never experienced this sticking, although it's probable that I never got the correct ice conditions for this to happen. 

beardy mike - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

I know it's  prototype. Hence why I said I was talking about the demo version. If this is not how the production version is, then great. But it's still something I would check out myself before parting with cash...

In reply to GarethSL: yeah - I've not had or heard of that problem. To be honest I'm not sure why they are bothering doing away from the tried and tested express set up - doesn't make sense to me!

Roberttaylor - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Stephen Reid - Needle Sports:

I had heard of this happening but haven't experienced it myself, admittedly I've only used the aluminium ones in Scotland so far. What temps/kind of ice have you noticed this with?

richgac - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

The one petzl alloy screw on my rack became completely unusable climbing in about -15 in early season Norwegian water ice.  It required two hands or an axe levered in the eye to wind it in once the alloy threads had engaged with the ice.  It was utterly useless as leader protection and I wouldnt recommend them to anyone likely to climb in those kind of temperatures. The core is also prone to getting frozen in if you manage to force the wretched things into the ice.  Safe to say I'm not a fan!   Maybe the BD ones are different in their coating but I haven't seen anything to suggest that's the case

 

angry pirate - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

You're missing the obvious in that the Petzl ones are orange and therefore cooler

beardy mike - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to angry pirate:

I've a mate who would throughly disagree. As soon as he heard these were coming out he decided that he was selling his Petzls and going green. He has slight issues with OCD.

In reply to Roberttaylor:

Cold conditions (for the UK). It was on a very cold day on Umbrella Falls a couple of winters ago that I first noticed it, but more recently this winter too. It seems to happen most in really solid blue ice and it appears that it's caused because aluminium "sticks" to frozen surfaces better than polished steel. It sticks, and the more you wind in, the more compacted the core becomes until it jams completely. I haven't noticed it (or been annoyed by it) so much recently as my rack now consists of 4 steel screws and 6 alloy with two of the alloy ones being 22cm for belays and Abalakovs. This cuts down the weight significantly while still allowing me several screws that can be placed quickly on steep stuff.

The obvious solution to me would be to make the internal diameter of the steel tip slightly smaller than that of the alloy tube so that the core effectively rattles around inside the alloy section and doesn't get a chance to stick. It may be that this is why BD have made the screws fatter - in which case they could be on to a winner.

Ramon Marin - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to masa-alpin:

And the Laser look very much like the eclimbs... ;-)

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Ramon Marin - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Stephen Reid - Needle Sports:

That's would be such a good design solution. I haven't used the Petzl so I can't comment, but hopefully BD are aware of the problem and have done something about it. The eclimbs use alu tube but I haven't encountered that problem. I wonder which of the BD and Petzl has better "first bite"

beardy mike - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Personally I think the Petzls but I didn't try side by side... don't the e-climbs have a smaller tooth Internal diameter than tube diameter because the tips are screw in?

angry pirate - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

I bought petzl Lynx crampons last year precisely because they had orange anti balling plates and the BD ones were green.

If your mate wants to get shot of his orange ice screws...  ;)

Ramon Marin - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

No they don't I dont think, but they don't suffer from the ice getting stuck some some reason. The alu has some sort of sleek coating, works well. But their teeth are not as aggressive as all the new generation screws, making the first bite not as good unfortunately. They missed a trick there


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