Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Ice Tools

Black Diamond Reactor

At 1 pound 8 ounces, the Reactor is not the lightest tool around, but I liked the weight for plowing through hard ice. While the security of leashes will always occupy a fond place in my heart, leashless climbing is here to stay.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

BDReactor.jpgBlack Diamond Reactor | $189.95 bdel.com  ★★★★

Clean, simple, elegant – a couple of years ago, I would never have used those words to describe a leashless ice tool with an offset grip. But that was before I held a set of the new Black Diamond Reactors in my mitts. While the security of leashes (the futzy bastards) will always occupy a fond place in my heart, leashless climbing is here to stay. The Reactor, with Grivel’s X-Monster and DMM’s Rebel, is among the first tools to be ice specific, claiming that leashless climbing is not just for high-end mixed routes.

The most notable difference between the Reactor and mixed-specific tools (e.g., the BD Fusions) is the Reactor’s large grip, which let me climb in a thick pair of mittens. A groove in the handle feels more like, say, the grip on the BD Cobra than the BD Viper. The offset grip features an oval-shaped platform for matching, and the width of the shaft was easy to hold.

Up top, the Reactor sports the BD Laser pick, a tried-and-true dagger. Right out of the box, it displaces too much ice and is difficult to clean, but with some basic filing, it can be whittled down to a precision instrument.

At 1 pound 8 ounces, the Reactor is not the lightest tool around, but I liked the weight for plowing through hard ice.

At 1 pound 8 ounces, the Reactor is not the lightest tool around, but I liked the weight for plowing through hard ice.

The Reactor can come with a hammer or adze. The hammer, however, was hard to swing due to the angle of the shaft. I had to choke up on the shaft in order to get the proper trajectory to be accurate when placing pins or flattening sections of ice to place a screw.

Because of its thoughtful design and functional features, the Reactor is more versatile than most leashless tools. I would take it on almost any ice climb, or even on alpine and mixed ice routes.

SEE ALL ICE TOOL REVIEWS

SEE ALL HELMET REVIEWS

SEE ALL CRAMPON REVIEWS