The Black Diamond Venom is a tried and tested workhorse. Being modular, it can take either a standard drop Alpine-type pick or a reverse-curve technical pick – making it a very versatile tool. It also comes in a hammerhead version so that you can have a matched pair for front pointing. The Venom is regularly chosen for use in lightweight trips to the Greater Ranges, which hints at the type of ground it is capable of tackling. For those who want to buy an axe that they can use on everything from a winter’s walk in Snowdonia to tackling a long Grade IV winter climb on the north face of Ben Nevis the Venom is the perfect choice. But the narrow diameter of the shaft makes plunging easy, but for those with big hands it can feel a little thin. The Black Diamond Venom is only rated as a ‘B’ (basic), which means it should not be used for axe belays.
Materials chromoly steel pick, alloy shaft and cast stainless steel adze and spike
Sizes 50, 57, 64cm
Weight 546g (size 57cm)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 250
The Black Diamond Venom is a beautifully made technical axe that is equally at home on the level as it is on the vertical. It was voted “Best Value’ mountaineering ice axe in our test.
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011