- Dec 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm #3507839
Hello! I need to buy crampons for a corbett bagging trip in northern Scotland in February. I’ve never been to this bit of the world before, so I’m trusting the organisers when they say it’s strictly a winter hillwalking and not climbing trip. I’d prefer to not buy new winter mountaineering boots for rigid crampons, since I won’t get much use out of them.
Any recommendations for flexible crampons that I can fit over my existing walking boots (UK grade B, with quite bendy soles)? If there’s actually snow, then I expect to wear them with gaiters to protect my rain trousers.
Just in case anyone’s been to the northern Highlands before in snow – are they more serious than I think? Do I actually need mountaineering boots? My previous UK winter mountain experience has all been in Snowdonia in Wales (in borrowed B2 boots, with semi-rigid crampons). This is also where I’m most likely to use the crampons (and requisite ice axe) in the future.
Many thanks for any advice.Dec 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm #3507856
Ralph BurgessBPL Member
Kahtoola K-10 hiking crampons. These are “proper” crampons, much more secure and substantial than any kind of microspikes, you can trust these on a steep slope, anything short of actual climbing. They have the front points bent down instead of sticking out horizontally, so you can hike in them without the risk of impaling anything. There’s plenty of adjustability, they will work with hiking boots or trail runners.
Dec 16, 2017 at 9:53 pm #3507868
- This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Ralph Burgess.
windsor akBPL Member
Hillsound Trail Crampon Pros are flexible and work with light hiking boots. I use mine with Salomon X Ultra Mid Gtx boots. Very similar design to the Kahtoola K10s but the straps cross over the top of the boot instead of around the front of your ankle.Dec 17, 2017 at 2:52 am #3507901
The lightest UL crampon I know of is the Grivel Air Tech Light. If you get it with the “New Classic” binding, it will fit almost anything. They also make a “wide” version. These are aluminum, which are great unless you will keep them on for long periods that includes rock and gravel, where you might prefer a heavier steel crampon like those mentioned above.Dec 17, 2017 at 3:32 am #3507906
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
Even lighter are the Petzl Leopard FL’s (13 oz), also aluminum. Otherwise the Hillsound Trail Pros are excellent with a little more secure of a binding than the Kahtoola K10’s.Dec 17, 2017 at 4:28 am #3507911
The Petzl’s look compelling, but it appears they have no provision for the “anti-balling plate”, the flexible plastic bit under the heel and sole to stop snow from cakeing up underneath. The Hillsounds have them, the Kahtoolas don’t.Dec 17, 2017 at 4:55 am #3507913
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
My current anti-balling plates are DIY from milk jug plastic and cable ties. Lots of ideas for how to execute if you google something like “DIY crampon anti-balling plates.” They are a very light option as well – on the order of tenths of ounces. The disadvantage is that they aren’t durable on rock.Dec 17, 2017 at 5:48 am #3507922
Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+ 1 on the Grivel Air Tech Light. They do come with a plastic antibott device to mitigate snow collection on the bottom.
The binding is very adjustable and fits my winter snow shoe boots as well as my summer running shoes. I am not sure you want to optimize for the lightest weight. For example, do you need front points for ascending? Will you be crossing just short patches of snow and ice and therefore need a binding system that is easy to use to put the crampons on and off quickly? In my experience my Grivels are easier to put or off on quickly than my Kahtoola microspikes. That being said, my wife loves her Kahtoolha crampons.
If you buy aluminum, the points will not stay sharp when you walk off the snow or ice.Dec 17, 2017 at 7:46 am #3507928
Rick MBPL Member
Might want to go to Decathlon in London and see what they offer from the Chamonix based Simond brand for a C1 or C2 crampon and ax if you are unsure how much you will use them. Best to bring your boots to have them properly fitted too. There are lots of Hillsound and Katoolah knock-offs available in the shops in Inverness but I would want 10-point models with at least inch long points. Aluminium crampons are great for glacier walking in the Alps but not so much in Scotland or Snowdonia. Too much ice and rock hidden under thin layers of snow.
Dec 17, 2017 at 3:23 pm #3507954
- This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Rick M.
Thanks for the replies, everyone! From my experience in Wales, steel (for the inevitable rocks) and anti-balling plates (because British snow is rarely not sloppy) seemed non-negotiable.
From my research so far, these look the most interesting if my boot heels are rigid enough and I decide I’m not on a budget: http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17w/ms-petzl-irvis-hybrid-crampons
I’ll also try to track down somewhere in London that I can try the Kahtoolas, (wide fit) Grivel Air Techs and Hillsounds.
@yamaguy, thanks for the Decathlon suggestion. I’ll have a look at how flexible the Simond Caimans are vis-a-vis my boots.
Dec 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm #3507958
- This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by leyn.
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I think the Kahtoola’s do come with a self bailing plate (neoprene) now. It used to be an add on cost, but I think I saw it was standard on the KTS and the K10.
I looked at the K10’s for Alaska last year but ended up just using my Microspikes.Dec 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm #3507968
“I think the Kahtoola’s do come with a self bailing plate (neoprene) now. It used to be an add on cost, but I think I saw it was standard on the KTS and the K10”
Yes I see now that they have something called a “snow release skin” you can add.
Small detail: I do see an advantage of the buckles on both the Kahtoolas and Hillsounds. While the Grivels are fast to put on, in practice dealing with the two-rings and then tucking in the cord so it does not fly around takes a bit more time. When mounting and de-mounting many times a day in mixed conditions, this can be annoying.Dec 18, 2017 at 1:10 am #3508061
Rick MBPL Member
You will need a B2 rated boot to use the Petzl Irvis Hybrid as they have heel clips. Trying to make them work with a B0 or B1 boot would be VERY risky. FYI, the EU regulates mountain climbing gear like crampons as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) requiring them to have a CE safety rating to be sold in stores. Products like the Hillsound Trail Pro and Kahtoola KTS are not CE rated, so generally are not found in most UK shops. The chain link types of “crampons” are sold as anti-slip devices and not classified as PPE, so don’t need a CE safety rating. They really are not that much lighter than CE-rated 10-point chromolly crampons like the Simond Caimans or Grivel Monta Rosa that include anti-balling plates, and which also are much cheaper. The primary advantage of the Kahtoola KTS is it can be worn on a more flexible B0 boot rather than the B1 needed for C1 type crampons like the Caimans.
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