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.
* 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.
|Lengths (cm)||97-140 adjustable, collapsed at 70cm|
|Basket & Tip||Powder basket, carbide tip|
|Materials||Aluminum upper and lowers, stainless steel pick|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Notes||Security/self-arrest capability for when steep|
|Bottom Line||Essential ski mountaineering tool|