As DMM’s first ever fully curved ice tool, the elegance and beauty of the Predator can hardly be understated. Alongside the radical curve designed to maximise clearance on the most outrageous winter routes, this axe spurred the development of new cutting-edge picks, allowing climbers to make use of the full range of modern mixed climbing techniques.
Whilst the Predator is no longer in production, the delicacy and daring with which it was designed and constructed has influenced the way all axes at DMM are made today.
The original design for the Predator axe was brought to DMM in 1993 by ice climber and professional cartoonist, Phil Waters.
As stated by Fred Hall, technical director and chairman at DMM, “Phil frequently worked for us in the 80s and 90s designing whacky adverts for our catalogues. It was his idea to make a fully curved axe back when there was nothing comparable on the market. Lots of other companies looked at the design but weren’t convinced. When Phil came to DMM we thought to ourselves, ‘one day all axes will be made this way’. And now they are.”
After the success of the Predator, most of DMM’s axes now feature curves as a major feature in their design. “If you look at any ice axe any company is producing now,” says Fred “you can see the influence of the Predator.” From the aggressively technical Switch, designed to perform on steep mixed terrain, to the gentle curves of the Cirque and Fly’s making them ideal for plunging into deep snow.
A simple yet clever idea by a man with an intimate knowledge of how ice tools should work and an expert in artistic design, Phil Waters helped transform the way all axes are produced and manufactured today – not just at DMM, but worldwide.