Skimo Co

Black Diamond Whippet Pole


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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. The latest iteration features a totally removeable Whippet head, allowing you to adapt to the changing conditions at a moment’s notice. Using an easy-to-operate threaded wedge system to securely pair the reinforced pole and Whippet head into one, the removable head offers massively increased versatility at no extra cost to safety and security compared to the previous model.

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 consolidated 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.

Not sure if your day of high speed meadow skipping is going to evolve into steep skiing? Maybe the snow isn’t stable enough to support your steep skiing plans and you’re skiing fast, low angle snow instead? Either way, skiing fast with a Whippet feels a bit too much like running with scissors and skiing steeps with no pointy self-arrest devices is even more terrifying. When you don’t need it just toss it in the pack next to your snacks, when you need it it’ll thread on at a moment’s notice. Better safe than sorry and you will thank the new Whippet for its versatility and application in any terrain.

  • Three aluminum sections are adjustable between 100 and 140 centimeters in length and collapses all the way down to 70cm.
  • Pick is made from stainless steel and has a wing to grab more snow when plunged.
  • Comes with locking 3/4 baskets which can be changed without fuss but will lock in the proper orientation for spin-free performance.
  • FlickLock Pro telescoping lock prevents collapse while maintaining a low profile.

* Please note that unlike most poles, these are sold individually.

Update 2018/19: The aluminum Whippet is now a three-piece (it was previously two) and the axe head is removeable.

Update 2019/20: Updated FlickLock Pro construction uses aluminum, and its small adjustment lever has an easier to use design. BD also added indexed baskets, meaning they put a tab on the basket which fits into a groove on the base, holding the basket in place and eliminating spinning baskets. As a heads-up, this update means that BD's new indexed baskets will NOT fit older 18/19 and prior poles, which don't have the necessary groove to accommodate the notch on the basket. Older BD baskets do fit onto the new poles, but you'll just have to keep suffering with spinning baskets.

Lengths (cm) Adjustable 97-140, collapsed at 70cm
convert to ounces
Weight (pair) 908g
Sections 3
Grip Dual-density plastic/rubber
Basket & Tip Indexed 3/4 powder basket, carbide tip
Specs Verified Yes
Materials   Aluminum upper and lowers, stainless steel pick
Skimo Co Says
Usage Skiing, splitboarding
Notes Security/self-arrest capability for when steep
Bottom Line Essential ski mountaineering tool
Compare to other Adjustable Ski Poles

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Questions & Reviews

Andy (used product a few times)
I am a long time (10+ year) whippet owner who bought a new one to be able to lend out to touring partners. At first I was disappointed that I could no longer buy the single piece head. But after a few tours I am really liking the ability to take off the pick. I frequently stuff my poles through my pack straps, handle end first, on the flats and low angle climbs to keep my hands balled in my gloves for warmth. It's a real pain to do so with the integral pick. The installation only takes seconds so this is much better for me.

My only regret is not getting the carbon one. The AL is nice but a bit heavy compared with the rest of my gear.
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Question from Greg
Hey there! I'm guessing the answer is probably not, since I see these are out of stock literally everywhere - but any idea when BD will have more stock of these?

Answer from Brett S
Thanks for reaching out, Greg. We are hopeful that we'll receive more this year but don't have a definitive timeline. Please send an email to if you wish to be notified when they arrive!
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David S (used product regularly)
I will bring this on the majority of spring tours. I have arrested on it only a few times but find it gives peace of mind and worth the minor weight penalty. Definitely make more use of this than my lightweight ice axe.
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Eddy v (used product regularly)
I loved the idea of the whippet and was pretty stoked when I got one a few years ago. I do think it's sometimes the right tool for climbing (although the fact that you can't plunge with it unless you remove the powder basket limits it's usefulness even there), but I feel like on the descent (which is when the fact that it's a ski pole rather than just an axe should really shine) I don't think there are many circumstances where it will help you arrest. If the snow is soft, you're obviously better off trying to dig in with your skis as the whippet pick is small and will just cut through soft snow. If the snow is hard but you still have skis on, it's very difficult to get enough weight on the pick for it to dig in well - and I again feel like you're better off trying to dig in your edges than use your whippet (the caveat being that if you're already moving fast down a steep slope this will just make you tomahawk rather than slide).

Since you can easily get a lightweight ski pole and axe that weigh less than a whippet these days, I don't think there are enough use cases where the whippet is the right tool to justify purchasing one anymore. Just get a Blacklight Pro pole and a Gully instead.

The one situation where I suspect the whippet might still be useful is relatively mellow spring skinning on a melt-freeze crust. It's tough to stop a slip with your edges when you have skins on and your heel detached, but an ice axe might not be long enough to plant on the slope without bending over.
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Pondsy (downright abused product)
Been using multiple versions of the whippet for 15+ years. It's an absolute must-have for Wasatch ski mountaineering. Just this week it got me down a chute in one piece. Use it for climbing on every booter. My biggest worry when first buying was stabbing myself or tearing my outerwear and neither has happened over hundreds of ski days. If you don't have at least one already, not sure what you're doing on this site.
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Question from Alvin Walter
Do you still make or offer a version of the whippet with a non-removable picket?
Answer from Jeff
Alvin, BD does not offer that anymore.
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Question from mbillie1
Has anyone spent any considerable time with the new removable-axe-head whippets? Seems like a recipe for disaster to me; how secure is the attachment, is there some sort of lock-in-place mechanism or do you just screw the thing on and hope it doesn't slowly unscrew?
Answer from Jeff
Mbillie, Maybe some others can chime in who have more experience. BD came up with what they call a ClickLock mechanism. It is not just a screw on attachment and it does not seem like it can unthread on its own.
Answer from Evan Y
Attachment is very secure when i put it on. It didn't slowly unscrew over the course of a long day while skinning and booting up 5k ft of vert. I personally keep the whippet head off after tours.
My friend also has used the whippet for the last 3 years, and just keeps the removable head on. He's never had an issue of it falling off, though he does need to tighten it a few times a season.
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David (used product regularly)
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.
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Matt (used product regularly)
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.
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Christopher W (used product regularly)
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.
Reply from jbo
Good news, the Whippets now shipping (post-recall) have been strengthened and no longer have that notch.
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Model: Whippet Pole x1 UPC: 0793661426882

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