WINNER: Chris Reid
BD Athlete Will Gadd has been putting Black Diamond gear to the test for over 20 years. He was an early proponent of our revolutionary carbon fiber ice tools—now known as the Cobra—and has been questing to the top of ice formations around the world with prototype ice gear ever since. From climbing Niagara Falls with prototype ice pitons, to going big in Greenland with extra-long special-made ice screws, Gadd is always willing to put it all on the line for the sake of adventure … and invaluable feedback to the designers and engineers here at BD. This winter's new technical ice tool is the Reactor! Read everything about Will Gadd's mission below and answer our question to enter and win a pair of the Reactor ice tools.
"Helmcken Falls redefined ice climbing for me and fellow BD athlete Tim Emmett the first time we visited, and almost 10 years later it's still the standard I compare every ice climb to. The 450-foot falls will never freeze, but the billowing spray ice coats everything around them. It's like a giant football stadium were cut in half and a waterfall poured off the ceiling; overhanging all the way to the top, wild spray ice gargoyles and demons hanging on until they release. If you're an ice climber you'll want to climb, and if you're not it's still beautiful in the same way tufas in Greece and Thailand beg to be climbed.
The rock is volcanic flakey junk, so natural gear doesn't generally hold well, nor are there generally solid cracks to get gear in. Huge, like tennis-court huge, chunks of rock regularly fall off as the spray ice forms; one year I came back in and the full first pitch of a route Tim and I had started the year before was lying on the ground, pieces of rock mixed with the bolts and spray ice that had literally pulled the rock off the wall. Bolts are normally considered solid, but at Helmcken even bolts can be sporty! But for me bolts are always a sort of defeat; they make climbing anywhere possible, but it's always cooler to climb on natural gear if possible. It's like using a motor versus running or biking; it just feels better at the end of the day. Ethics are mostly about ego and posing so I don't think natural gear is more ethical, just personally more interesting. I tried some ice screws at Helmcken, but they didn't work in the soft ice, so bolts it was. But what if … and so the adventure began."
Check out the video to know more:
"I was also testing prototypes of the new Reactor Ice Tools, and three new picks. I truly believe we're in the best possible era ever to be an ice climber; new thin picks (the Natural Ice) displace far less ice than any other picks. They flick in like arrows, a satisfying "ZZT" noise and all. Tools swing with greater ease than ever before, and the new screws weigh less than half of what my old ones did! I've been ice climbing for 35 years, and for sure we've never had it so good…"
The BD Ice Tool Fleet
Reactor Ice Tool
A technical ice tool for all-day pitches on frozen waterfalls, the Reactor is a leashless winter cragging machine. Featuring an innovative, adjustable grip, the Reactor is built to be a versatile tool for frozen winter objectives.
With its open pick angle and leashless design, the Reactor is optimized for pure ice climbing. The tool features a steel head with an aluminum side plate and is compatible with the BD alpine hammer and the alpine adze. The tool's extruded aluminum shaft is combined with a dual density grip that is adjustable to fit all sizes of hands. The Reactor comes ready with the BD Natural Ice Pick, so get stoked … because winter is coming.
- Open pick angle to make climbing ice a breeze
- Steel head with aluminum side plate
- Compatible with alpine hammer and alpine adze
- Extruded aluminum shaft
- Innovative adjustable grip to fit all hand sizes
- Comes with BD Natural Ice Pick