Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Pecker Review

Black Diamond Pecker
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Apr 14, 2010
Price:  $22 List  |  $21.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Three sizes, biggest size awesome in sandstone, multiple clip in points
Cons:  This cable, hard to clean in corners
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Peckers are designed for thin cracks on big wall and aid climbs. They have a time-tested design and come in a variety of sizes. They are pretty durable and come with a few different ways to clip in some sizes.

They are great in the big sizes (and currently the only option). For the smaller sizes, I would probably get one or two and then mainly use the Moses Tomahawk, which is easier to clean, cheaper, and already comes with the much burlier #3 cable.

Our Analysis and Test Results



One of my favorite things about the these is they come in big sizes. The medium sizes especially are useful on sandstone route but are also great for granite walls. The medium and large sizes can often be more secure than a Black Diamond Knifeblade or Black Diamond Lost Arrow

They also give you a good range for clean aid if you want to try and hand place them. These have great durability. I have punished mine pretty hard on El Cap and they hold up relatively well.


One major dislike is the cable size. They come with #2 size cable which is strong enough when new. However, after you place and clean them about 20 times, the thin cable starts to wear down. There is no reason not to use #3 cable which is stronger and much more durable. The good news is that if you have a friend with a swager, you can replace the #2 cable with #3 or even #4 (I did this with all of mine). Another dislike is that they are hard to clean in corners. You are seeing more and more of these fixed (especially the bigger sizes) on Yosemite big walls. Even if you can clean them, it can be quite damaging to the rock. The Moses Tomahawk solves this issue by twisting the bottom of the piton.

Best Application

The smaller sizes are great for nailing on tiny cracks on Yosemite big walls. The medium and large sizes are often even more useful as they can replace the need for a Lost Arrow or Knifeblade. The bigger sizes are good for clean climbing and sandstone big wall climbs. Both are generally for routes that are A3/C3 or harder. You don't need these for most of the popular trade routes.


At $18, these are little expensive, especially in the smaller sizes. The Moses Tomahawk is only $13.

Chris McNamara

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: April 21, 2010
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: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 21, 2010 - 08:46pm
Mike. · Climber

Great assessment here.

I do sometimes like the positive feel of the large Pecker getting deep in the crack (did I write that?) because the angle of the blade/stem is a little more open than the Tomahawks. The 'Hawks are hooking monsters, though.

Straight-in placements are where the Peckers rock. Often you can clip a draw in the drilled hole and bypass the cable loop altogether. If not re-cabling with fatter, tying a supertape backup through the biner hole would be prudent for when you can't (most of the time).

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

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