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B picks vs T picks

Original Post
Paul-B · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 115

I read this forum on the subject, and it made me believe I would likely want T-picks if I wanted to climb mixed terrain, and that they get stuck in the ice less. I was looking at the Cassin X-tools, and found they come with b-picks, and every replacement pick they sell are only b rated. Do people not climb mixed with CAMP tools? Or does the B/T rating not make that much difference?

Jeff J · · Bozeman · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 110

B rated picks are thinner and thus flex easer than T rated, but they do better on pure ice.
T rated picks are beefer and handle the abuse of mixed better, but displace more ice.

You can climb mix on a B rated pick but its Just not as durable

Ryan N · · Bellingham, WA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 195

I posted this on another thread a week ago. Don't know about your brand picks but here's my experience with BD

By Ryan N
From A few different places
4 days ago

FYI if your going to be climbing mixed don't get the titans they suck. And as far as having a t rated pick the laser is the same as the fusion minus the teeth on the top, so unless your pulling crazy stien pulls and underclining no need for them. I've climbed the shit out of my lasers on both cobras and Fusions and there fine as far as strength is concerned. The only time a broke a pick was with my fusion picks. T rated isn't much of a big deal besides if your doing mixed ice and rock you don't want fusion picks, they are very hard to get out of the ice. Just my 2 cents...

Bang Nhan · · Charlottesville, VA · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 35

Email from CAMP after I emailed them the similar question like yours, Paul:

Thanks for your message and interest in our ice tools. The X-Dry is an award-winning tool designed for ice, mixed climbing, and dry tooling. It is perfectly safe and intended for use in all of those categories. Here is an excellent article that explains the difference between the two ratings, and why they aren't particularly relevant to the needs of most climbing.…

Climb Safe!


However I am still not satisfied with their reply though

Keenan Waeschle · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 200

BD picks are the least durable of any of the big brands, they might break on you, but they probably wont, if I still used BD tools I'd have the laser picks.

Grivel, Petzl, and I think DMM all get their pick blanks heat treated at some euro facility and the result is bomber, I personally have never heard of one of them breaking (please tell me if you've heard otherwise).

Unless you're doing crazy mixed in remote areas where a broken pick would spell disaster I wouldn't worry about it too much, if you are worried don't buy BD.

Bang Nhan · · Charlottesville, VA · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 35

Hi Paul,

Here is another follow-up reply from CAMP, hope this helps:

"Thanks for the follow-up and we're sorry we didn't adequately answer your question.

The ratings on the picks are determined by the UIAA testing the results of applying torque on the tool in different directions. Here is an illustration of the tests performed by the UIAA in making their designation.…

T-rated picks are able to withstand greater torque and more cyclical loading than B-rated models.

The "T" or "B" designation in itself doesn't guarantee that any pick will out-perform any other, and our X-Dry tool is designed for use on routes from snow and ice to 100% rock. The climber's swing, style of use, and personal weight also contribute to determine which picks will work best and last the longest for a given person.

These links are not representative of CAMP or CASSIN, but as you can see from the following sites, the confusion over B vs T is certainly not new.……

Safe Climbing!


Bang Nhan · · Charlottesville, VA · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 35

Quote from the andy-kirkpatrick link above:

"Unfortunately, most picks that are noted for their ‘high performance’ are B-rated, which suggests a contradiction between the best performance and the greatest strength. The ‘cyclic fatigue’ test applies only to T-rated picks, which must endure 50,000 flexes at the end of a 250mm lever in order to pass. What this means to you the climber is that B probably stands for ‘bent’ if used for full on and intensive mixed climbing, while T stands for ‘Tourquer’, aimed at some serious twisting.

Of course. this doesn’t mean that if you climb mixed routes then you need a T-rated pick, just as climbing ice doesn’t mean you need a B-rated pick. What it tells you is what they were intended for, meaning you take more care with a B-rated pick when it comes to a full-on horizontal torque. For the majority of climbers the best pick will no doubt be of the B variety, as this will work best on all terrains, but if your thing is mixed climbing, or you know you’re a monster and have drawers full of broken picks then go with a T pick."

Paul-B · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 115

Bang. That is quite helpful. Much better than the first info they sent. Thanks!

Bang Nhan · · Charlottesville, VA · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 35
Paul-B wrote:Bang. That is quite helpful. Much better than the first info they sent. Thanks!
Yeah, I am finally satisfied by the explanation of Andy's blog. Thanks for bringing this question up once again since it made me curious a year ago but never looked into it carefully.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Ice Climbing
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