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$175; trango.com


Modeled after the popular curved, double-gripped Black Diamond Fusion and Petzl Nomic tools, the Raptor is a fairly worthy competitor. Female and small-handed testers especially loved this tool for its light weight (19 oz. without the optional 2-oz. pick weights) and smaller grip size. “I have tiny hands, and I didn’t have to over-grip for fear of losing a tool. With a mid-weight glove on, the main grip above the pinky rest encased my hand near perfectly,” said one tester. (On the flip side: testers with bigger hands or fat gloves felt pinched.) “The light weight made it easy to find precise placements, too, even when my arms were tired.” The burly steel shaft and aggressive spike mean it is strong enough to clip into for a quick rest. It performed reasonably well in a variety of ice conditions, from brittle and breakable to drippy and elastic, and was a star for dry-tooling. With no adze or hammer option, this might limit you in the alpine, but for this level of cragging performance, and at $100 to $125 less than its competitors, it’s a steal.

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