2018 Black Diamond Removable Whippet: First Look


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 1, 2018      

Sometimes it’s nice to stick a handle on the mountain. Ice axe picks add security for self-arresting, glacier travel, and daggering up hill when terrain pushes the steep. Ice axes may also be overkill in some circumstances, unwieldy, or dangerous to use while skiing. The Black Diamond Whippet ski pole offers a compromise — part ski pole, part ice axe. It is a multi-use tool for steep skiing, moving on the skin track and snow climbing (within reason).

The new BD Whippet…that’s right, no mistake, this is the 2018 Whippet

The new BD Whippet…that’s right, no mistake, this is the 2018 Whippet. Presto chango.

That said, there are also good reasons to approach the Whippet with apprehension. Skiing with a pick in your hand is like running with scissors. What is more, guides and experienced steep skiers will tell you that if you’re already moving downhill at a good clip, on steep terrain, the Whippet has little to no utility for stopping a fall; beware of wishful thinking in that regard.

The ideal is a removable Whippet. Andrew McLean’s original design allowed for removal, but was fiddly in that regard. To keep things simple and reliable, the removable option was “removed” for years. Now it is back.

Black Diamond has redesigned the Whippet for 2018 to include a removable head. You can now use a Whippet when you need it and stash the sharps when you do not.

The days of playing with Whippet fire may now be over

The days of playing with Whippet fire may now be over.

The removable Whippet head

The removable Whippet head.

I field tested the new Whippet. The head feels stable when attached and pops off with relative ease by twisting a wheel attached to the pick. The ‘ClickLock’ wheel has an internal ratchet. Changing grips and moving the pole around over the course of my tours moved the ratchet wheel a few clicks. This happened to me only a couple of times over a few days of use and felt like a fair trade for the added versatility, but I am curious to see how the wheel holds up long-term. Overall the design is simple and I like simple.

Upshots of this design are the endless possible home hacks that I am sure will begin showing up now that BD poles will have a threaded feed in the head. Camera mounts, inclinometers, Jetboil and coffee cups might now be hacked to screw easily onto a ski pole – the possibilities are endless.

Conclusion: Long term consumer testing is necessary, as is often the case — but we are optimistic. A positive step for Black Diamond, showing they’ve got the industrial design chops to bring any product up to the next level.

The Black Diamond Whippet will retail in a 3-piece aluminum or 2-piece carbon option. Additionally, the BD Traverse WR 2 pole will be ‘Whippet ready,’ meaning you can buy or borrow the Whippet head separately and install it on your poles if desired.

Specs from Black Diamond:

Whippet Attachment (Whippet axe head only)

  • Steel pick with canard wing
  • ClickLock mechanism for attachment to grip on Whippet ready poles
  • Attaches to any Whippet ready ski pole
  • Weight 150 gm or .33 lb each
  • MSRP: $59.95
  • Whippet pole (aluminum pole with Whippet attachment)

  • ClickLock dial
  • Removable steel pick
  • Grip insert for ski mode
  • FlickLock Pro adjustment
  • 3 piece aluminum shaft
  • Indexed 3/4 powder basket
  • Usable length: 100-140 cm or 39-55 in
  • Collapsed length: 70 cm or 28 in
  • Weight per pair (pole & Whippet): 490 g each or 1.1 lb each
  • MSRP: $119.95
  • Carbon Whippet (carbon pole and Whippet attachment)

  • ClickLock dial
  • Removable steel pick
  • Grip insert for ski mode
  • FlickLock Pro adjustment
  • Carbon lower shaft, aluminum upper
  • Indexed 3/4 powder basket
  • Usable length: 100-140 cm or 39-55 in
  • Collapsed length: 90 cm or 36 in
  • Weight per pair (pole & Whippet): 450 g each or 1 lb each
  • MSRP: $159.95
  • Traverse WR 2 (pole only)

  • Whippet ready grips accept Whippet attachment accessory (sold separately
  • 18 mm aluminum upper with 14 mm aluminum lower
  • FlickLock Pro adjustability
  • 100 mm indexed powder baskets
  • Sold in pairs
  • Usable length: 100-140 cm or 39-55 in
  • Collapsed length: 96 cm or 38 in
  • Weight: 570 g pair or 1.26 pair
  • MSRP: $99.95
  • The new Whippets will be available fall 2018.

    (The fixed head Whippet will be discontinued fall 2018.)



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    Comments

    73 Responses to “2018 Black Diamond Removable Whippet: First Look”

    1. Pablo February 1st, 2018 10:12 am

      nice.
      I love Whippets

    2. Smokey February 1st, 2018 10:53 am

      Purely marketing. I mean, sure, good on BD for evolving a product. But the whole, “it’s dangerous to ski with a whippet” argument needs to get checked. Buck up. If you think skiing with a whippet in your hand is dangerous, you have a really shitty process of risk framing. Climbing and skiing steep snow slopes in avalanche terrain? Meh…focus on the dangerous of the gear in your hand.

      Don’t take your eye of the ball now. Me, I’ll stick with my good ole fashion whippet with my toes locked out.

    3. Shane February 1st, 2018 10:56 am

      Whippet or not, I’m glad they still offer a 3-pc flickloc pole. Recent talk about whether or not adjustable poles are necessary fails to recognize that us splitboarders desire something that packs down small for descents. And collapsible poles with sections held together with cords don’t work as extensions for my BD snow saw.

    4. Matt Kinney February 1st, 2018 11:21 am

      Buy a set and give one to a friend to recoup cash. Two whippets are overkill. I only use one if needed. Most the time regular poles are fine. I see lots of folks using two and many times in conditions which they are not needed. Sounds like a good idea but I tend to shun ski gear made with too many moveable parts and perks. As far as snowboarding, a old goat here in Valdez just carries a regular ice axe and descends with it in one hand if needed.

    5. Kevin P. February 1st, 2018 11:28 am

      I’m somewhat leary of ratchets after having to replace boa ratchets on my Sedi road shoes when the ratchet dogs broke off from repeated use. Although this application will likely see much less material fatigue inducing use, it’s still gives me pause as to whether or not a different friction device might be more robust. I do agree this seems like an overall improvement for the product and helps reduce the volume in the gear closet.

    6. Kristian February 1st, 2018 11:35 am

      “Two whippets are overkill.”

      Nope.

      I once had a fall in a very steep tight couloir. Was accelerating sliding head first down. The hand with the whippet was pinned under me and could not be used. Accelerated into an end over end rag doll tumble. Was certain death. But somehow managed to self arrest after about 10 slashing tries on every rotation.

    7. Kristian February 1st, 2018 12:16 pm

      Why did I fall? Same damnn pole. The adjustable collar was not tight and the downhill pole collapsed on a jump turn. Head first tumble resulted. My fault for not carefully maintaining that.

      (The terrain was so steep that jump turns left the outer leg dangling.)

    8. Eric Steig February 1st, 2018 1:49 pm

      I utterly fail to understand what the ratchet mechanism does, why it’s needed, and what it means in practice that it “moved a few clicks”.

      I assume the idea is that you can screw the head on without actually rotating the head all the way around. If that’s correct, great, but I still don’t get what it means that the mechanism “moved a few clicks” or why that would matter.

      Clarification?

    9. Alex February 1st, 2018 2:32 pm

      Eric, sorry for the lack of clarity. You are correct that you screw the head on by turning the wheel rather than spinning the whole head around. The ‘ratchet’ provides some amount of resistance so that the wheel does not unscrew without deliberately turning it. I found that every once and a while the wheel still turned a by a few ‘clicks’ of the wheel (the mechanisms clicks as you turn) – just meaning that I re-tightened the head a bit midday. Let me know if that is still unclear. -Alex

    10. Kristian February 1st, 2018 2:44 pm

      Even worse, I do not understand why Black Diamond now insists on sewing the upper part of the straps together. Makes a very difficult small hole to put your hand into. You now how to loosen the strap, put your hand in, and then re-tighten.

      Here’s the worst part. Your hand is now trapped in the cinched strap. So you are sking along at speed and one of your pole baskets gets stuck on a hidden tree root, branch, or undergrowth. And now you get violently yanked back through your shoulder. For me at least, this does not happen with traditional full straps that can let your hand slip out.

    11. Scott Allen February 1st, 2018 3:09 pm

      I’ve used a BD Specter Ice piton secured to the handle of my ski pole with a long Vole Strap wrapped multiple times…Cheaper, sharp, and your hand wraps around them both for a solid feel.
      Good for soft snow and melting corn…just what I am skiing in the spring.

    12. G February 1st, 2018 3:17 pm

      I have an Ortovox shovel with the Pocket Spike attachment. It works well when I need the extra feeling of security on sketch climbs or traverses.

    13. Ivar C. February 1st, 2018 3:30 pm

      Any discussion with BD about being able to retrofit an existing Whippet, I.e. being able to buy one of the new threaded grips along with the new pick head unit?

    14. Eric Steig February 1st, 2018 3:59 pm

      Thanks Alex. Clear now!

    15. See February 1st, 2018 7:11 pm

      Looks good as far as I can tell. I like the idea of having a Whippet head for steep/icy climbing/skiing, but it’s a bit heavy and awkward for lower stress situations. Nice to be able to take it off. And the “ratchet” thing is still unclear to me.

    16. sdfotex February 1st, 2018 8:36 pm

      So they made the pick removable, like my original whippet I have in the garage….
      but then they made the permanently affixed one so it would be stronger, but no we’re back to removable one? No wonder BD is struggling…..

    17. Louis Dawson February 1st, 2018 8:56 pm

      I believe this one is much stronger and more secure than the old removable one, since it requires unscrewing it to remove it. My old removable whippet was super loose and rattled and seemed like it could easily come out inadvertently.

    18. Rar0 February 2nd, 2018 12:43 am

      When steep skiing I don’t trust collapsible poles enough. I just go with regular poles. So exit these BD poles, whippet or not. I usually bring a normal ice axe with me. Plus now there are a few efficient lightweight ice axes on the market. The only advantage I see with a whippet is on variably steep terrain where you would like two poles most of the time and sometimes an axe for steeper sections. Less fiddling around.

      I wonder : is there a real difference in weight between BD collapsible poles + whippet and normal non-collapsible poles + lightweight ice axe …?

    19. Brent February 2nd, 2018 5:25 am

      I’ve used a Grivel Condor for years. An axe when wanted, otherwise a nice grip.

      https://www.needlesports.com/383/products/grivel-condor.aspx

      It comes as a two part but I use BD lower sections to make a 3 part.

    20. Kristian February 2nd, 2018 6:35 am

      My one sole experience of a steep ski fall (detailed above) is that it is the same as ice climbing – falling is not an option. It is very kinetic and violent. Rag doll rotations at 3 – 5 per second. Seems impossible to me that you’ll be able to use an ice ax doubly held with a ski pole.

    21. wtofd February 2nd, 2018 7:20 am

      Andrew McLean (yes, I know he might be biased; but he has a ton of mileage in the back country) uses two.

    22. Lou 2 February 2nd, 2018 7:55 am

      For serious truly extreme steep skiing, collapsable poles are dangerous in my opinion. I’ve been retired from that sort of skiing for years (best to keep such careers brief as they usually end badly) and still prefer fixed length poles, though I use the adjustables when necessary, as when I borrow, or when having a Whippet requires it, though I did make some Whippet fixed length poles at one point, those were nice… Lou

    23. Lou Dawson 2 February 2nd, 2018 8:06 am

      I can address the issue of 2 or 1 Whippet, as I’ve used them for hundreds of days, as well as during institutional self arrest and snow climbing training-practice. Using only one is a joke, in my ever so humble opinion (smile). Lou

    24. Kristian February 2nd, 2018 9:06 am

      And let’s also thank and remember Paul Ramer for pioneering the concept.

    25. See February 2nd, 2018 9:22 am

      For me, the whippet is mostly for marginal days when I’m not carrying crampons and ice axe but when a little extra security is appreciated for climbing steepish icy slopes on skis. Those light axes tend to be too short for comfort in such situations. (I get the attachment mechanism now that I’ve zoomed in on the third photo.)

    26. Quasimoto February 2nd, 2018 9:53 am

      I’m with Brent: Grivel Condor all the way. Years of “long term consumer testing” have already been done. Easy to change in the field, plus you get finger protection while climbing steep, hard snow or while brush-bashing. Easy choice, IMHO.

    27. Eric Steig February 2nd, 2018 9:57 am

      Brent, Quasimoto

      Do those Grivels come in a pair? As I recall, they do, but only one of the pair of poles has the ice-axe blade; the other is just a regular ski pole.

      Yes/no?

      Thanks!

    28. Brent February 2nd, 2018 11:22 am

      They are sold individually. I bought two identical poles but you can buy one only.

    29. Matt Kinney February 2nd, 2018 12:27 pm

      Typically in steep conditions that require 2 whippets like a steep icy couloir I’m probably gonna look for something safer to ski. I can manage but would rather thrash it in powder. Most the time there are safer alternatives like waiting for that special line to set up better. If you enter a steep line on ice, yes your potential to be a flying missle increase. Once you cartwheel, then the whippets become a serious threat to one’s safety. You only have a split second to arrest.

      But I’ve been on low angle terrain that was brutally Arctic hard to get an edge and a slip would take you for a dangerous ride. Whippets look good but I’m not convinced they are needed everyday.

    30. Matt Kinney February 2nd, 2018 12:37 pm

      Yes I’ve used one self arrest pole during hundreds of days skiing and it worked fine when needed with little instruction from anyone. So I disagree with Lou. But I do concur with aging, resetting ski goal and insuring longevity.

    31. Brent February 2nd, 2018 2:03 pm

      I have used the Condor for self arrest once only, when a stupid number of us foolishly skied the same open steep slope at the same time. An over excited friend ran into me but I self arrested instantly. I ski with two and have used them to climb into and out of steep terrain. When skiing you get a good solid grip without straps, so they are safer in the case of avalanche or in the trees. The handles are very good for flicking heel lifters up and down. I might try opening a bottle of beer with them.

    32. Kristian February 2nd, 2018 2:35 pm

      My inner 14 year old is still often in charge…

      On sliding ice, grab one ski pole just above the basket with one hand and about a foot higher with the other. Use that to self arrest.

    33. Eric Steig February 2nd, 2018 4:10 pm

      I seem to recall Louis the younger saving himself from a dangerous fall somewhere in the the PNW using Whippets.

    34. Lou Dawson 2 February 2nd, 2018 5:15 pm

      Eric, yes, was really scary, he filed a post about it, its in here somewhere (smile). Lou

    35. Doug Hutchinson February 2nd, 2018 11:35 pm

      I’m with Lou, two are the way: symmetry = safety. I also use Whippets all the time to replace a lightweight ax, skiing and alpine climbing.

    36. bfredlund February 3rd, 2018 7:19 am

      Bravo BD! About time on this!

      I like how Alex points out that this will be a fun thing to mod. 🙂

      Would be cool to see a minimalist version of the pick (half the size and weight maybe). Or better yet, maybe a 20cm or so ice axe that slots into the upper of the pole. For plunging, and swinging! Because really, using it in dagger mode is less important in my mind. Have a hammer on one end would be great too, for the occasional piton.

      Also, it would be really cool to see a really thin saw that integrates into the handle of the pole. Like the ones that some shovel manufactures are putting into their handles. Just thinner and lighter! No big deal to make careful cuts if it’s thin and flexible.

    37. Aaron Trowbridge February 3rd, 2018 10:22 am

      I ski with 1 old voile plastic self arrest grip and one homemade aluminum and plastic one modelled after the voile. Neither will work on blue ice, not worried about that. They are perfect for hard spring snow or hard windslab. More than self arrest though they are perfect comfortable canes for top grip skinning position. I probally skin in this cane position 75 % of the time and would really miss having it. They also work well for ‘mixed’ skinning moves hooking branches in extreme bushwacking and log climbing situations.

    38. Drake February 4th, 2018 9:30 am

      I’m a splitboarder, I wouldn’t use a whippet skiing downhill but I think it would be nice to have for insecure exposed skinning when its difficult to carry a pole and ice axe at the the same time. I have used an ice axe to self arrest a fall while riding before, It’s obviously not gonna work if you skiing very fast but it worked for me when my edge slipped out on a jump turn in icy refrozen conditions.

    39. Charlie Hagedorn February 5th, 2018 9:18 am

      I’m a young curmudgeon, but I’d love to see BD continue the line of fixed-pick Whippets in addition to the removable-pick option, at least for a year following the introduction of the new model.

      When I first bought one, I tried and failed to get an older one with a removable pick, but after many years with a fixed-pick Whippet, I’m perfectly happy with the fixed pick.

      If I’m bringing a Whippet at all, it’s because the pick is needed. Otherwise, I’m bringing a lower cost/lighter pole.

      Thanks, BD, for innovating.

    40. Mike February 5th, 2018 9:44 am

      Kristian – sounds good but doesn’t always work well in practice…during the first telemark descent of Orizaba, in icy conditions, my brother fell and tried to self arrest with his pole and snapped it off. Poles are not that strong and if there are some nicks from ski edges just above the basket, they fail under little torsional force. Just my observations…

    41. Kristian February 5th, 2018 7:22 pm

      Totally agree! Only posted that for those not better prepared and primarily for an on piste situation.

    42. Kristian February 5th, 2018 7:22 pm

      Totally agree! Only posted that for those not better prepared and primarily for an on piste situation.

    43. wtofd February 6th, 2018 7:52 am

      I’ve used Kristian’s technique to great effect in the backcountry on 35 to 40 degree slopes. Not very often though.

    44. Mike February 6th, 2018 10:06 am

      Yea, I’ve used the ski pole arrest as well – just an eye opener to watch your brother accelerate away from you with his ski pole tip and basket rolling down the hill with him… Also, if you think you are going to use this technique, make sure you don’t have your pole straps on – there is no time to get them off and you can’t arrest with one arm stuck 48 inches in the air above you… ;-(
      I loved the old BD arrest poles – mostly because of the larger surface area of the plastic that was more effective in soft conditions. I wish the new Whippets had more surface area instead of the ice axe shape with small wings. The old ones were hard to get off but that was a small price to pay imho – I am still using those poles during spring descents…

    45. stephen February 11th, 2018 6:04 pm

      Kudos to BD – I think the changes look good. The newer grips are IME a much more comfortable shape, and I really like the latest straps too. Being able to remove the spikes may make things less intimidating at the resort, but that might not be a good thing… 😉

    46. Dabu February 12th, 2018 12:04 pm

      TWO Whippets for the DOWN. Lou is right, using only one is a joke. Like bringing a single shot pistol to a gunfight. It always seemed silly to sell them individually rather than as pairs, but I figured a single Whippet was for comfort on the UP rather than the DOWN. On the DOWN things happen too fast. I’ve personally witnessed several instances where randomly having a non-Whippet on one side could have resulted in a terrible outcome. My hope is that the new Whippets are as solid as the fixed Whippets. Not that it matters much to me personally at my advanced age with age-appropriate skiing goals :-).

    47. Skyler Holman February 13th, 2018 5:12 pm

      I’ll only invest in new whippets when there’s a Helio version. Detachable Helio would be a warm welcome.

    48. zippy the pinhead February 14th, 2018 8:54 pm

      I don’t think that a single Whippet is necessarily a joke.

      When walking on snow or ice in crampons, it is not uncommon to hold an ice axe in one hand and a ski pole in the other.

      I can imagine situations where it would be useful for that ski pole to be a Whippet.

      (Disclaimer: I’ve never used a Whippet.)

      Happy trails….

    49. brian harder February 14th, 2018 9:11 pm

      I knew this one would draw lots of comments. Fun to read.

      I own a couple but never use them. They have their place, for sure, mostly when ascending to add some confidence to one tool climbing on icy slopes. I climbed the Ellingwood on the Middle Teton years ago in frozen spring conditions. I had one ax and my partner had two Whippets. I felt exposed in between tool placements. A second tool would’ve been nice.

      I stopped using adjustable poles several years ago, preferring long grip Euro poles instead. This new development with the screw-on head brings an interesting mod to mind. Just need to source the female component and then plug it into my existing poles (epoxy?).

      Any thoughts on this gear geeks?

    50. zippy the pinhead February 14th, 2018 10:59 pm

      Brian,
      First of all, good luck sourcing that part.

      Secondly, even if you can find it, I wouldn’t trust epoxy to hold it. You could be literally hanging your life on that thing and I’ve seen epoxy fail more than once.

      Thirdly, I think it’s funny how people like to dismiss adjustable poles.

      Yesterday, while skating across the lake on egress from a 4000+ foot day, I was sure glad to adjust my poles to a longer length.

      If you do stuff that has long, flat, or rolling approaches, adjustable poles are a great tool. If you don’t ski stuff like that, you may not see the utility.

      Happy trails…

    51. See February 15th, 2018 8:36 am

      If you really want a nonadjustable whippet, probably better to lock out the flicklock mechanism than to try to transplant the grip.

    52. brian harder February 15th, 2018 10:11 pm

      All the pole failures I’ve had over the last 35 years have been with adjustables. Others have had no such problems. I get it. But for me, solid is simple and I like that. As zippy said, a longer pole is great for lengthy flat skates but I simply don’t do them often enough to trade out the fixed length security. Just means I get to the car a few minutes later. Meh.

      If my life depends on a Whippet then I should be skiing something else.

      Thanks for the input. I’m not dissuaded from the mod, however. A combo of small screws and epoxy would do the trick. Just have to find the piece or simply canabalize an actual BD pole. I’ll wait to see them in the shop.

    53. Lou Dawson 2 February 16th, 2018 7:48 am

      Brian, I’m so over adjustable poles… love the elegance and reliability of non-adjustables. What I do is use ones that are slightly longer than what I’d use at resort, that seems to be fine for skating, what little of that sort of thing I do, anyway. Lou

    54. stephen February 16th, 2018 3:24 pm

      Since pole length has come up, what do you mean by “slightly longer,” Lou? And what length poles do people use for AT racing, compared with say normal alpine length?

      I’m not convinced adjustable poles are all that fragile, though it’s a bigger deal if they get bent. I’ve broken exactly three poles, two XC racing poles in heavy falls where they went under the ski edge, and a Leki Aerolight that failed without warning from what I assume was fatigue.

      Unlike most people I know, I do actually adjust the pole length to suit conditions quite often, and would miss the ability to do so whilst touring.

    55. XXX_er February 16th, 2018 3:52 pm

      I adjust poles for conditions sometimes short like a walking stick sometimes long on frozen elevated skin track, sometimes fully extended for xc skiing on rough trail and I find it really easy to move them on the fly

      but just consider that ski poles are in that great price point range for a Bday or xmas gift

      and that all the outfits who advertise here wana sell them to customers who read this site

    56. Lou Dawson 2 February 16th, 2018 4:27 pm

      Stephen, I probably cut them about an inch longer than I would for 100% lift skiing. Done that for years. I like it. Lou

    57. stephen February 16th, 2018 4:59 pm

      Thanks Lou! I’m surprised 1″ makes a worthwhile difference, though I don’t doubt it can be felt. FWIW, I use 160cm for XC skating on tracks, 152.5 for classical and 125 for alpine skiing, but often set the adjustable poles around 135cm in rolling terrain; they only go to just over 140cm, which is plenty with relatively slow, heavy skis, skating sometimes excepted.

    58. Lou Dawson 2 February 17th, 2018 10:47 am

      Stephen, with a half century of very active skiing, I got quite sensitive to small changes in gear sizes, ergonomics, etc. Everyone is different that way. But sure I can feel the longer poles… Lou

    59. stephen February 17th, 2018 11:06 am

      Oops, I wasn’t trying to imply anything negative, just a bit surprised 1″ of difference was enough to bother with. 😉

    60. Lou Dawson 2 February 17th, 2018 3:42 pm

      Hi Stephen, I didn’t see anything negative, I was just trying to be brief in reply. I don’t think an inch change in pole length is necessarily something to bother with, it just worked for me…

    61. See February 18th, 2018 8:57 am

      With AT boots, bindings, skis, a pack, etc. fixed length poles work fine for me for most skating situations. The glide is a lot shorter compared to skating with xc gear. But… adjustable poles, teles, fluorescent orange pants… I use ‘em all sometimes.

    62. Jim Milstein February 18th, 2018 11:07 am

      Some things one should never admit, florescent orange pants among them. It only encourages others.

    63. Kristian February 18th, 2018 11:13 am

      Agreed.

      “fluorescent orange pants” – Oh the humanity!

    64. See February 18th, 2018 7:07 pm

      Dare to be dorky! I admit, I’m not easily embarrassed, and those orange pants were over 100 bucks cheaper than the less extroverted colors. I wish I’d been wearing them last year when I was skiing with a couple of really good photographers. They took some great pictures, but I was all black and grey.

    65. Kristian February 18th, 2018 7:19 pm

      See – Honestly, it is probably an awesome look that you rock!

    66. Jim Milstein February 18th, 2018 7:29 pm

      Kristian, you are too lenient. FOPs are a crime against nature and an assault on the eyeballs. Consider, See, a nice red jacket. Good for pix.

    67. stephen February 19th, 2018 1:32 am

      IMHO, fluoro pink one-piece ski suits were a much bigger eyesore – you could see those for kms, and they never looked black.

      Red, and most other colours, look black from a quite short distance in pix, fluoro not so much.

    68. Jim Milstein February 19th, 2018 7:58 am

      You are right, stephen: there is always something worse. As for pix, photo editing software now makes it easy to change the color of any object. On the internet no one need know you are skiing in black.

    69. Kristian February 19th, 2018 10:07 am

      Sometime in the late 1980’s, climbers went from wearing canvas pants and rugby shirts to hot pink, purple, etc. multi color stretch lycra. I still shudder remembering that.. Worse, I may have done so also. The horror!

    70. Jim Milstein February 19th, 2018 10:50 am

      I still have a heliotrope Patagonia jacket from the eighties. It served well when guiding my aged, nearly blind aunt down black diamond runs.

      Who knows what color heliotrope is? I do.

    71. See February 19th, 2018 7:08 pm
    72. Jim Milstein February 20th, 2018 11:02 am

      Very nice, a tasteful red and yellow combo.

    73. See February 20th, 2018 12:56 pm

      Taste is a matter of taste. But I mostly just wanted to share the link because I think it’s a cool picture.





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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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