Sep 8, 2005 at 9:56 am #1216754
BackpackingLight.com has announced the Grivel Air Tech Light crampons as one of the Lightitude Winners, so someone must have tried these in real life…
What’s your opinion on these and how do they compare to the classic Stubai Ultralight?
I am especially interested in the use of these crampons with trail running shoes, like Montrail’s Susitna, for example. I use that kind of crampons during shoulder season, when only high mountain passes in the Alps are covered with snow and some ice. So I walk in Montrail’s trail runners and put the crampons maybe 20% of the total time. I use steel crampons and appropriate boots for snow and ice climbing, of course.
Thanks for any ideas about those two crampons,Nov 8, 2005 at 2:31 am #1344605
carlos fernandez rivasBPL Member
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
A better option for trail shoes are the kathoola crampons designed as specific crampons for that useNov 8, 2005 at 6:22 am #1344612
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve taken a look at the Kahtoola’s some time ago. What stops me is they are 10 points only. I like to have the front points.
Ideally, I would love to have a system as close to low cut fruit boots as possible. Of course, I doubt it’s achievable with trail running shoes…Nov 8, 2005 at 6:28 am #1344614
@naturephoto1Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Whatever you select be they 10 or 12 point crampons, you have decide for yourself if you want the lighter, faster wearing, and less “bite” aluminum, or the heavier, longer wearing, more aggressive steel crampons.
RichNov 8, 2005 at 12:56 pm #1344652
Be sure to compare the Kahtoola steel with the original aluminum. The points are longer and the fronts jut forward at a shallower angle, which should accommodate limited front-pointing.
FWIW I’ve got the Al model and like them a good deal.Nov 9, 2005 at 5:30 am #1344700
Carlos and Rick,
Do you mean to say the binding system on the Kahtoola is more comfortable and efficient with trail running shoes than the binding system on the Grivel Air Tech Light and Stubai Ultralight?
Have you compared the Kahtoola with those classic crampons?
I have tried the Stubai Ultralight, and I would not say I felt the crampons welded to my Montrails.Nov 9, 2005 at 1:06 pm #1344749
In general, I find the Kahtoolas to not interfere with foot flex as much as even lightweight climbers crampons. It might be the result of the long flex bar span between the forefoot and heel pieces. Compare the available pics to see the difference.
I most often wear mine (aluminum model) with Nike Air Tallac Zooms, and it’s a great combo for spring snow conditions. I think the flexibility lessens foot fatigue.
I’ll caution that they’re a little narrow on larger shoes (mine are euro equivalent 45.5).
I hope to try the steel model out one of these days to see what effect the longer points and different front point angle have on more technical terrain.Nov 12, 2005 at 5:33 pm #1345007
@craig_shelleyLocale: Rocky Mountains
I purchased the Grivel’s recently, but I haven’t used them yet. I have the Stubai crampon. The Stubai literature shows that the webbing used in the binding wraps around the boot. The Grivel documentation doesn’t. To wrap the webbing, you really need to use a boot. However, I don’t see any reason that the Stubai webbing cannot be attached in the same fashion that Grivel shows in their literature. The binding is basically the same. The Grivel’s length can be adjusted without tools. The Stubai cannot.
The Grivel’s have 12 points, rather than 10 on the Stubai. Both have front points. The Grivel’s points appear more agressive.
The Grivel’s have the AntiBott, the Stubai doesn’t have an equivalent device (if it is available, I don’t know about it). I think this would be a big advantage on wet snow. I had quite a bit of snow build up on my Stubai’s when I used them last year.
The bar connecting the front and back is much more flexible for the Grivel than the Stubai. This should be an advantage for your flexible and lightweight running shoes.
I have enjoyed using the Stubai’s. However, I believe the Grivel is a superior crampon.
My measured weights:
Grivel without AntiBott, 470g
Grivel with AntiBott, 577g
Stubai Ultralight Universal, 609g
I’ve seen the Kahtoola’s in a store. The Grivel is lighter. It has the AntiBott (and with it is perhaps slightly heavier). You can buy a more flexible connecting bar for the Kahtoola, so I don’t know how flexible the connection bar is for the Kahtoola crampons.
I hope this helps.
PS:Nov 19, 2005 at 4:23 pm #1345467
I would most appreciate if you could feedback us on the new steel Kahtoolas.
I too wear 11,5 US. I prefer Montrail Susitna I and now Montrail Susitna II, as well as Montrail Vitesse.
Unfortunately, Kahtoola is not distributed in France nor in Switzerland, where I hike, so I would have to buy them online and pay about 35 USD for shipping and pay the VAT just to see if I like the fit and function.
So your opinion on the aluminum vs steel Kahtoolas would be of great help.
Thanks,Nov 19, 2005 at 4:39 pm #1345470
Thanks for the information!
It’s strange your Stubai Ultralight does not have a connecting bar that adjusts without tools. The pair I tried had a pin-based system that required no tools.
Yes, compared to the Stubai, the Grivel does seem to be a better crampon. And very light. And has antibots.
However, as Richard has mentioned, steel is better for icier and rockier terrain. I am really thinking hard about the Steel Kahtoola. It could possibly have a better fit with my Montrails than even the Grivel with the flexbar and would be made of steel.
However they do weigh 190 grams more and have no antibots. Hmm…Nov 22, 2005 at 5:33 am #1345677
carlos fernandez rivasBPL Member
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
i never tried kathoolas but i have experience with trail shoes and grivel crampons and i think that they are not the “ideal combination”
but i felt that and is clear that crampons in general (grivel stubai ….all brands) are not designed with trail or running shoes in mind.
Except kahtoolas of course, designed with common footwear in mind.
and dont be worried with a 10 points crampon a well designed 10 point crampon works perfectly in moderate terrain (and dont expect too much ice climb with your montrails, everithing has limits ;-)Nov 23, 2005 at 4:43 am #1345781
@naturephoto1Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Though they add additional weight, Kahtoola does offer skins for both the Aluminum and Steel Crampons.
RichDec 9, 2005 at 11:18 pm #1346773
I have pseudo-used the Grivel Air Tech Light in a shop yesterday. I have strapped the crampons on my Montrail Vitesse and “walked” on a wood board they had for crampon tests.
I picked the crampons from the shelf and was immediately impressed by the weight. Amazing! I am used to waterfall ice and alpine climbing crampons, so the difference really shocked me. The Grivels feel lighter than the Stubai, which is of course confirmed by manufacturer weight.
However, the points look very aluminish and dullish. I fear they will not bite into hard ice too well. The metal seems very soft and rounded compared to steel. I would place Grivel’s soft aluminum at the bottom of the hardness scale, followed in the middle by Uralalp (Ushba) Altai ice axe titanium, topped by regular forged steel.
I wonder if steel would be better for late-autumn / early spring mixed conditions: not enough ice and snow, still a lot of rock sections.
The Grivel extender bar flexes freely. The crampon nicely follows the flex of my Montrails, in contrast to very rigid Stubai Ultralight.
However, as suspected, the problem is with the binding. Grivel and Stubai clearly designed their bindings for the stiff hiking leather boots. Grivel’s binding connects webbing from the toe counter to the heel counter. When I move the foot around, the crampon flexes with my trail runner and reduces the distance between front and back plastic counters, but the webbing binding does not shorten accordingly. Loose webbing hanging around and space between crampon and shoe do not inspire confidence. Of course I am spoiled by tight crampon to boot integration of climbing combos, but even with a sane dose of realism, I would be afraid of losing the crampon on the way.
In contrast, Kahtoola dissociated front and rear webbing. I presume Kahtoola’s binding should normally follow boot flex.
So, as some of you suggested, I think that the Kahtoolas will work better with Montrails, precisely because of the binding. I am waiting to hear Rick’s opinion on the steel Kahtoolas, but I guess Kahtoolas are a better solution for a flexible and light trail runner.Dec 10, 2005 at 10:43 am #1346790
Sorry for the delay, but I’ve just now received the Kahtoola steels I’ll be testing for Backpackgeartest. All I’ve had time for is to fit them to my boots and trail sneakers, and compare them to my aluminum Kahtoolas.
As you’ve guessed, and like the aluminums, they are a good match for flexible footwear. Kahtoola’s extender bar seems less stiff than those used on technical crampons I’ve played with (although I can’t give a specific comparison) and the straps do stay in place once I’ve correctly adjusted them. They’ll likely work well with your Montrails, presuming the instep strap doesn’t ride up above your shoe (the straps have lace hooks). I typically use them with mid-height shoes (Nike Air Tallac Zooms) rather than low-tops such as your Vitesses, and have never had this problem.
Compared to the aluminum Kahtoolas, the steel spikes are longer and made of thinner metal. They appear to be powder-coated. I fully expect them to provide more bite than the aluminums, but will also note they both have blunted points. I suppose the steels could be sharpened if desired.
The steel front points, while angled forward more than the aluminum’s, still won’t accommodate technical ice-climbing but they’ll certainly front-point steeper terrain. There’s also no question they’ll stand up to rock and pavement travel better (4130, heat-treated).
The steel’s extra weight is noticeable at about 2 ounces each. Extender bars and bindings are identical.
I’ll have to drive up the mountains to give them a better test than aerating my lawn, for now I can only give my preliminary reaction. If you have any more questions, please ask!Jan 25, 2006 at 8:42 am #1349244May 13, 2006 at 8:58 pm #1356349
Another lightweight possibility is the Camp XLC 490 crampons. (The 390 and 490 are the same except for the binding. The 490 has a universal binding to fit running shoes etc).
This is a 12 point aluminum crampon which received a favorable review from Rock and Ice, http://www.rockandice.com/gear/135%20Field%20Tested.pdf
Al Shaver has mentioned that the 490’s have toe and heel cups which fit running shoes,
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