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Black Diamond Lost Arrow Review

Black Diamond Lost Arrow
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Price:  $25 List | $24.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, great under roofs, generally easy to clean
Cons:  Heavy, expensive, usually there is a clean alternative
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Apr 14, 2010
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Our Verdict

This is must-have Black Diamond piton on your nailing rack. It excels in small cracks too small for an angle but too big for a Pecker or Tomahawk. Lost Arrows are extremely durable. Usually you can avoid nailing with a clean aid placement. But sometimes, you need these.

These are becoming less essential on walls for good reason: there is better and better clean climbing gear. Before you reach for one of these pitons, first try a Moses Cam Hook, DMM Brass Offsets or a micro cam. But if none of these fit, the Lost Arrow is there for you. It is still a staple of any nailing rack and has been since John Salathé first came up with the design. Having a little piece of history on the rack is not bad!

Our Analysis and Test Results


The Black Diamond Lost Arrow is the go-to piton for small cracks. There just aren't many options besides this Black Diamond. I have come across a few other variations but they generally are not as bomber. What makes this piton great is how burly it is. You can beat on one for years and it just keep going. Eventually you will wear down the eye, but it will take a long time. They are generally easier to clean than angles and most other pitons.


Because there is no expansion property (like an angle), these need to be wailed on pretty hard. However, some people wail on them too hard so it's a delicate balance. If you hit them too hard they are quite damaging to the rock to clean. These are also heavy when compared to angles, Peckers and Tomahawks. They do not work nearly as well in sandstone as most other pitons.

Best Application

Black Diamond Lost Arrows are not as essential as they once were now that there are Moses Tomahawks, big versions of the Black Diamond Pecker that can fit in #1 and #2 vertical Lost Arrow placements. More importantly, the Moses Cam Hook and DMM Brass Offsets often offer a clean climbing alternative to the Lost Arrow. That said, a few Lost Arrows are still a staple on a big wall nailing rack.

Only the first three sizes of these pitons are essential to have. Sizes #4-6 are more for specialty aid racks and, to be honest, there are not many routes where they are mandatory. The #8 (Long Dong) is great for cleaning nuts.


Man, these things are expensive!

Chris McNamara