Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Bugaboo Review

Black Diamond Bugaboos
Price:   $15 List | $13.95 at Backcountry
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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. Bugaboos 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 these but just a few. They are mostly obsolete due to the invention of larger "hook-shaped pitons" like the Moses Tomahawk and bigger versions of the Black Diamond Pecker. These are better for the rock as they require less hammering and can even be hand-placed whether you are going for an all clean ascent of a wall or just want to be nice to the rock.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
June 10, 2010



These are versatile. It's pretty hard to make a Pecker work in a horizontal crack or roof -
but a knifeblade usually will get the job done. They are great for expanding flakes because they have great surface area and are almost twice the length of a knifeblade. Once bent and a little roughed up, they can work well 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. In sandstone, Peckers are much better. 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.

Best Application

Bugabooks excel on horizontal cracks and under roofs. While there are many sizes, the #4-#6 are used 90% of the time.


These are relatively expensive. Load up first on Peckers and add these in when you need a more specialized rack.
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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