Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Bugaboo Review

Black Diamond Bugaboos
Price:   $15 List | $12.95 at Bent Gate Mountaineering
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Pros:  Great in expanding cracks, horizontal placements and under roofs.
Cons:  Not as secure as Tomahawks and Peckers in most situations, can't be used for clean aid.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Bugaboo is a longer and bigger version of the Black Diamond Knifeblade. The Bugaboo and Knifeblade are the oldest pitons used for thin cracks. They used to be the only way to get up the skinny cracks. Then came Birdbeaks and now multiple sizes of the Black Diamond Pecker and the Moses Tomahawk. Bugabooks have fewer uses not but are still an essential part of a big wall nailing rack.

If you are a serious aid climber, you will need a few of thesebut just a few. In general, it's better to invest in the Moses Tomahawk and Black Diamond Pecker. Those are not only more secure in most nailing situations, they can also sometimes be hand placed for clean aid moves (you can't hand place a Knifeblade very securely).

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara
Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Last Updated:
June 10, 2010



These are versatile. They work under roofs and in horizontal cracks where Tomahawks and Peckers are not as effective. They are great for expanding flakes because they have great surface area and are almost twice the length of a knifeblade. Once they get beat up a little they can actually work even better in expanding cracks. They are great for piton stacks, especially when placed behind a Black Diamond Angle in the 1-1.5" size. Piton stacking is a bit of a lost art but still gets you through a tricky section here and there.


Most traditional Bugabook placements are now better served by the Moses Tomahawk or Black Diamond Pecker. The Tomahawk has a hooking action that the Bugabook does not. This means that in most placement the Tomahawk or Pecker is more secure and can even be hand placed. Peckers are especially better in the larger sizes in sandstone. In general, you have to pound on Bugaboos harder than Peckers to get them to feel secure. This means they are often more destructive to clean. Bugaboos and Knifeblades are not that durable. They bend easily, especially at the tip.

Best Application

Bugabooks excel on horizontal cracks and under roofs. While there are many sizes, the #4-#36 are used 90% of the time. The #1 is very uncommon. I probably have placed less than 20 in my life.


These pitons are not cheap but you usually only need a few of them.
Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: November 5, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:   
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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Nov 5, 2012 - 05:11am
This is the best pin in the world. Definitely.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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