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Lightning Hook ice axe
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Lightning Hook
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Lightning Hook

Recently Trango man Malcom Daly was kind enough to send me one of his latest & greatest creations to check out, the Lightning Hook. It bears more than a striking resemblance to the Captain Hook, which we reviewed here 2 years ago, but with some differences. The Lightning Hook is decidedly lighter, but with a similar shaft style and balance.

The first thing you notice about the Lightning Hook is that there is no hammer or adze. I was pretty surprised about that myself. When I asked about it I was told that since most people are climbing waterfall ice, how many times do they actually USE them? It's a valid point and I'd bet that most people never really do, especially if they're not doing anything mixed or alpine. You can certainly use the pick to clean a place for a screw placement and it takes a lot of weight off the head of the tool, making it swing wicked fast.

I really like the new Teardrop grip, which is tapered well and fitted to your hand. It's also coated with sticky rubber so it stays in your hand, even in very slippery conditions. It's also got the now-standard pinky-rest on the end of the shaft plus another one up at the top of the grip. This is kind of cool when you want to use the tool like a dagger on low angle ice or choke up for whatever reason.

The shaft's curve is good but not as extreme as say a BD Viper. It was fine for going over most bulges I encountered, but I have to wonder how it would do on some monster Canadian 'shrooms. The"Extreme" pick is pretty radical and has this great serrated curve near the shaft for hooking icecicles & curtains. After bashing it a few times I'm a little worried about how it will hold up on mixed stuff, but on the hard ice it sticks and cleans well. Jeff Lowe apparently has been feeding them good ideas and the tool shows it.

The price, $149.95, includes the very servicable Clutch Leash. I had occasional trouble getting out of it when I was climbing, but I have the same issue with all of that style leash.

Conclusion:  Nice tool - good price, what more can you say? Just like it's predecessor the Captain Hook, it swings well and at $149.95 is an even better value. If you are sure you don't need a hammer or adze you can't go wrong.

Details: includes Clutch Leash

Al Hospers
January 2003

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