With the Reactor, Black Diamond’s goal was to make a tool that fit in between the Cobra swinging powerhouse and BD’s mixed-heavy tools, the Fusion and Fuel. This means a tool designed to excel in WI3-WI6 and the equivalent mixed terrain.Black Diamond Reactor

Black Diamond Reactor Details

One of the biggest differences between the Reactor and, say, the Cassin X-Dream, is how the handle adjusts to accommodate large/small hands. Black Diamond has a removable insert at the top of the handle to take up more/less volume. The location of the insert allows the base of your hand to remain in the same spot, keeping the same rotational swing regardless of the insert you are using. A simple hex key enables quick and easy swapping of inserts. Black Diamond Reactor Handle

Note: The overall shape of the Reactor is very similar to the Cassin X-Dream. Raf, over at the Alpine Start, has some great overlay photos of the two tools.

Head Modularity & Pick Details

The head on BD’s tools are all the same, so it’ll also be easy to change to any other picks in the Black Diamond range.

The Reactor will come standard with a new pick, the Natural Ice Pick. The new Natural Ice Pick has significantly reduced volume in the tip of the pick compared to the “old” Ice Pick (that will be retired). Its height has been reduced and it’s thinner at the tip so it’ll go into and come out of ice easier.Black Diamond Reactor Head


And, since you can add/interchange the Alpine Adze or Alpine Hammer (sold separately), the Reactor can accommodate an even wider variety of terrain and be “the one” alpine tool to get most jobs done.

Black Diamond Alpine Accessories


Aluminum shaft, with a dual density handle, plastic overmolded with rubber. It has a steel head for durability and swing weight.

Black Diamond also says one of the big differences of this tool is the more open pick angle, particularly when compared to the Fuel and Nomic. The angle is similar to the Cobra and X-Dream, so you can expect similar swinging compared to those tools.


At 610 grams the Reactor is heavier than the Cobra (hammer = 655 grams and adze = 617 grams) but lighter than the Fuel (638 grams) and the retired Fusion (672 grams).

History and Testing

Black Diamond has been testing in-house and with their athlete’s like Ines Papert who reported back that the Reactor will be her go-to tool when she’s headed into the Himalayas facing ice and mixed routes.

If you want to learn more about the history, testing, and use of this tool, check out our video with the guy in charge of Climbing at Black Diamond:

Testing/history starts at 2:42, it’s specs and pick comparisons before that.



The Black Diamond Reactor will come out in the Fall (~October) of 2018 at $299 per tool.

Until the Reactor’s release, the Cobra will continue to be Black Diamond’s best go-to ice tool and the Fuel will be the best mixed tool that still works on ice, and you can find those tools below.

Alison Dennis

Alison Dennis

Alison (she/her) runs WeighMyRack from her 17' travel trailer. She is currently touring the US and would love if you contacted her to meet up to talk about climbing, climbing gear, or if you have any fun and/or ridiculous adventure in mind.

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