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Excellent clearance and a sweet swing — the DMM Xeno.
DMM Xeno, $229
Summary: The Xeno is a solid tool that could move up in the rankings with some minor modifications. The shaft has a radical bend that delivers excellent clearance and a smooth swing. The grip is dimpled for decent control, and the pinky shelf supports the hand well, though the shelf’s metal should be insulated to allow climbing with thin gloves. A coating protects the pick from corrosion, but it flaked off after a few trips up the ice. We also would have preferred slightly more aggressive teeth on the pick, and a more pronounced bevel. You’ll most likely want to replace the binding, circulation-reducing leash.
Pros: Excellent clearance. Smooth swing.
Cons: Pinky shelf uninsulated. Leash can cut off circulation.
Overall grade: B
DMM/Excalibur: (801) 942-8471, www.dmmclimbing.com