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Early winter was a wild ride in the Northeast, with vertiginous swings between melt and thaw. The revamped Reactor, designed primarily with ice in mind, deftly handled those swings, offering ease of movement in ice and mixed terrain. (The axes weigh 1lb, 5oz each.) Heading up the starting column on one of several flash-freeze climbs at Poke-o-Moonshine, I appreciated the ample, molded-rubber second grip, quickly adjustable to two sizings, helping me to minimize placements. When the column tapered into horizontal ice, the Reactor offered generous clearance, allowing me to hook up over the bulge and swing confidently beyond the “dinner-plate” zone. This performance transitioned smoothly onto rock where the “Natural Ice” pick handled thin-crack torquing with aplomb.
$300 each, blackdiamondequipment.com