Published on 12/05/2020


The tool to use when it gets steep and difficult

I love it for mixte climbing or for demanding ice climbing!

The incredible low-weight and the easy hit due to the great balance on the head definitely makes it a "dark machine"

My best performance with them was the first ascent "Pandora" Wi6 / M6 / 6 800Metet Pordoi west wall.



I use it for icefalls and mixte climbing.

Its best features are the weight balance and the swing.

I used it for the first ascent of the west face of Bhagirathi IV in the Himalayan Garhwal



I use it for any Ice fall I Climb.

Accuracy, ease of swing and lightness are the qualities that I ask for an ice climbing axe, the Dark Machine has them all in an amazing way. Versatility characterizes the Dark Machine, because it is equally performing on ice and dry. I use the same tool, both on ice falls and on dry tooling routes. The maximum expression and appreciation is on mixed routes, where ice and rock melt and a tool suitable for both terrains is in terms of safety, a guarantee.

Unfortunately, last winter was poor of icefalls, and I was back from two operations, and then the Covid-1 emergency cancelled my trip to Norway, to finally be able to free the Dark Machines on ice. However, I was able to appreciate all its best features on Sentinel Ice, in Cogne.


HANS ZLOBL (Austria)

This is my ultimate technical ice machine in steep ice and mixed terrain. The GRIVEL Dark Machine has made it to the top of the best ice tools due to its balanced properties.

One of the most outstanding properties is the balanced ratio of weight to balance point and thus the dynamic when striking. The light but extremely resilient carbon handle leads to a finely balanced top heaviness.

An insider tip is the extremely high strength of the bottom spike in the handle of the ice tool. This comes into play when you fix yourself and put strain on it. In real ice climbing life it just happens that you have to sit down in the ice axe and have to relax, put a safety device, or just prepare a retreat.

For me, the ice tools are part of the stand, so I attach particular importance to this detail.

Another point is the new VARIO system and above all the famous GRIVEL steel quality of the blades. The ICE VARIO pick is by far the best pick, whether in ice or on rock. A pick for all areas of application!

I used it on the first ascent of the “Terra Promessa” route on the Laserz north face in the Lienz Dolomites this winter. A challenging alpine route in rock and ice, with a long approach and no need for safety bolts.


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