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Grivel Dark Machine Ice Tool
  • Grivel Dark Machine Ice Tool
  • Grivel Dark Machine Head
  • Grivel Dark Machine Bottom

Dark Machine w/Ice Vario


My vote: None ( 5 avg )


Technical axes for ice climbing, mixed climbing, and dry tooling. Very light, with G-bone carbon-composite shaft and full carbon handle, extremely well balanced. The Dark Machine is designed mainly for ice climbing, while the Dark Machine X is designed for extreme ice climbing and dry tooling. Very light at only 470 grams (Dark Machine) and 480 (Dark Machine X), their geometry offers a higher center of gravity (more towards the head), that allows a much better swing. They are both equipped with a steel spike. The head is compatible with VARIO Blade System, an innovative light and modular system for interchangeable blades and accessories: naked, mini-hammer, hammer and adze on all blade options.

Retail price

US$ 419.99

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Weight (g / oz)

Weight (g / oz)

In grams and ounces, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.

The weight is the packaged weight. If there are differences in weight (due to optional accessories) we'll note them here.

490 g / 17.20 oz­
Length (cm) 49 cm
Head Details No adze or hammer­
2 Screw adjustment
Ice Rating Pick: T / Type 2
Shaft: T / Type 2
Picks Included with the tool:
Ice Vario
Other Picks Available:
Total Ice Vario
Total Dry Vario
Pommel & Grip

Pommel & Grip

Upper Pommel

Fixed: An upper pommel that is fixed in place (it cannot move up/down the shaft nor can it be taken off).

Adjustable: An upper pommel that can move up and down the shaft.

Removable & Adjustable: An upper pommel that is completely removable and also adjustable.

Removeable: An upper pommel that is either on or off (it cannot move up/down the shaft).

None: If there is no upper pommel that comes standard (there may or may not be options to buy separately).

Lower Pommel

Fixed: A lower pommel that is fixed in place (the angle cannot be changed nor can it be taken off).

Adjustable: A lower pommel that can change angle or location on the tool.

Removable: When the lower pommel can be removed but not adjusted.

None: If there is no lower pommel that comes standard (there may or may not be options to buy separately).

Upper Pommel: Fixed
Lower Pommel: Fixed
Grip Size: 1 size fits all (not adjustable)
Materials Pick: Steel
­Shaft: G-bone carbon composite
Grip: Carbon


The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.

To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.

Learn More

Rock and Ice Certifications Guide
Picks it comes with
Interchangeable Picks

No reviews yet.

Gear Junkie Review no rating given just a review

As soon as I picked up the Grivel Dark Machine, the exceptionally high center of mass and minimal total weight caused some concern. Usually, the high balance point is a good thing as it adds power to the swing. But I had never swung an axe with such an exaggerated balance point. Since I use hammers on big ice missions, I packed a pair of the Hammer Varios. These would add 2.4 ounces to the back of the head. Yes, it would push the balance point upward. But I reasoned that the added weight would provide a more familiar feeling.

Alpinist Gear Review rating 3/5

At the end of the day the Grivel Dark Machine is a tool for the focused specialist. It's well suited to steep terrain, ice that's dead-vertical or just beyond, and objectives that are long enough or remote enough to merit the weight savings of a carbon tool. In those situations, they shine. But if your winter tick list involves complex mountaineering, snow climbs, or moderate ice, a more generalist tool will likely be a better choice.

Dark Machine and Dark Machine X Ice Tools
Dark Machine and Dark Machine X Details
Dark Machine and Dark Machine X Ice Tool