We are forever indebted to Andrew McLean, designer of the Whippet. With dozens (hundreds?) of known uses, the iconic pole is a staple of ski mountaineering. Once you get over the mental hurdle of skiing with a sword in your hand, you begin to discover the wisdom. Post-discovery, you begin to carry two.
Designed as a self-arrest device, the Whippet is moderately capable of stopping a slide in progress. It’s better at preventing them, with the plunging pick offering purchase in hard snow. It can also hook on rocks and roots to give grip in mixed terrain. While not the lightest pole, it’s often enough security to forgo carrying a proper ice axe, reducing overall weight. Whippets are sold individually.
Two aluminum sections are adjustable between 100 and 140 centimeters in length.
Pick is made from stainless steel and has a wing to grab more snow when plunged.
Comes with 100mm powder baskets which can be changed without much fuss.
FlickLock Pro telescoping lock prevents collapse while maintaining a low profile.
* Please note that unlike most poles, these are sold individually.
** Notice to current Whippet owners: BD has recalled some Whippets; please check to see if yours is affected. All of our stock is current and was produced after the defect was resolved.
The secret for self arresting with this is not to fall. The other trick I find is to only use the wrist loop on the whippet and let the other ski pole fall away. Its hard enough self arresting with any weigh on as it is, but if the free hand that normally is placed on the ice axe spike in a self arrest situation has a ski pole wrapped around it you are in trouble mate.
I have never needed to self arrest with mine, thankfully, but they have performed well in practice scenarios. In practice scenarios it seemed like one whippet was easier to arrest on for me than two, although I know several people who prefer to carry one in each hand. Hardly an everyday tool for me, but in exposed situations definitely worth the fairly considerable cost for the peace of mind. I find one whippet, one regular pole and a mountaineering axe a nice combo for most situations.
The newer stainless steel whippet has a major design flaw, IMO: the notch at the pick is ridiculously sharp and several people have had them break off. I haven't had mine break and will be sending it in for recall (kudos, BD), but it's also good to know that the kinds of use in which they've broken amounts to using it as a mountaineering axe on short sections of ice, not basic snow/avy-bed self-arrest as they were designed for. Fortunately BD has acknowledged the problem and come up with a solution.