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Need advice – Crampons


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  • #3752956
    H W
    BPL Member

    @olddude

    I’d like to buy my son crampons. He lives in Washington and often goes to the Cascades. Just recently he was in the Enchantment area and mentioned to me thru pictures two passes he’d like to ascend but would need crampons. I know nothing of such things and maybe I shouldn’t make the effort . . . but maybe this is an easy purchase (?). Suggestions welcomed.

    #3752969
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    Like a lot of things… depends…

    if your son wants to do trails that have some firm snow on them and are not too steep, then slip on micro spikes and hiking poles should work fine…

    But… at the other end of the spectrum, if you son wants to do steep icy climbs… then he will need climbing crampons and rigid boots and an Ice Axe…. a rope and a partner and maybe a class on how to self-arrest in the event of a fall…

    #3753348
    H W
    BPL Member

    @olddude

    I’ll rephrase my inquiry — what are the brands for crampons, not microspikes, that are recommended. He wears size 14 shores.

    #3753400
    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member

    @iago

    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    For brands, I may be forgetting some, but I think the main players are:

    • CAMP
    • GRIVEL
    • PETZL
    • BLACK DIAMOND

    My family has the first two brands and we are very happy with them. A friend prefers Black Diamond because they use Stainless Steel. Thinks steel unsightly. It doesn’t bother me. I make sure not to store wet.

    Regarding materials, I prefer steel despite being heavier than aluminum for the stronger bite. But that’s just my preference, even if I am not climbing vertical ice. Steel stays sharp longer when encountering mixed rock and ice.

    #3753405
    Johan
    BPL Member

    @johan-river

    Locale: Cascadia

    The problem with crampons is that there is a small window of conditions and slope angle where strap-on, universal crampons are effective over micro-spikes. They are terrible for anything steep.

    For steep stuff, he must be going to full-on mountaineering boots with systems designed to mount crampons, along with being very stiff and well supported.

    His first goal should probably be to use an ice axe (if not already) and learn how to use it in all situations, even if just traveling with microspikes.

    The Enchantments are the last place you want your kid LEARNING how to use any of this gear. It’s fairly  remote and not at all a safe place for people to push their limits without the proper build-up of skills.

    If his micro-spikes and ice axe are not cutting it, he should turn around.

    Crampons of any type also pose many safety issues just with the use of them and take lots of practice not to ruin your gear or yourself with the spikes while in use or during a fall.

    It’s not at all casual stuff going to crampons.

    #3753418
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    @ HK If he is ascending the passes walking on trails that would be hikeable in summer, an 8 point strap on crampon from Grivel or Kahtoola or Camp with an ice axe and self arrest training would probably work fine.

    And crampons should always be removed before glissading down slopes.

    I use my Grivel Air Tech strap-ons with normal hiking shoes for such purpose in early spring when I don’t need the floatation of snow shoes.

    There is a table here of the types of crampons and the conditions they are designed for

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/crampons-snow-ice-climbing.html

    Kahtoola hiking crampons are here

    https://kahtoola.com/shop/hiking-crampons/

    I went with aluminum for the weight saving but I often have to refile the tips after a trip where there are rocks under the snow and ice.

    #3753421
    baja bob
    BPL Member

    @bajabob

    Locale: West

    Size 14 kickers restricts the number of available crampons. I have size 15 kickers. I recently bought some Black Diamond Contact crampons. https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/product/contact-crampon/

    You can buy longer center bars to extend the crampon to fit a size 14. https://www.rei.com/product/798826/black-diamond-long-flex-center-bars-pair

    Petzl makes a 12 point crampon (the Vasak) that will fit larger shoe sizes as well that is not a full on technical ice climbing crampon.

    Both of these crampons come as a strap on type that do not require technical mountaineering boots with welts, although you can get the Vasaks in that style.

    You should read up on the different types of bindings for crampons to avoid getting something that is not compatible with his footwear. Some crampons have straps only and will fit any type of footwear. Some crampons require welts (essentially a lip or overhand at the top of the boot sole to allow the crampon to clip into place on the boot and is must more secure than a strap) on either both front and back of the boot or just one end.

    #3753475
    Larry Swearingen
    BPL Member

    @larry_swearingen

    Locale: NE Indiana

    Let your son decide what he needs and buy them for him.

    He will be the best jusdge of what he needs.

    Larry S

    #3753588
    David Gardner
    BPL Member

    @gearmaker

    Locale: Northern California

    I like Larry’s idea, but send him a link to this thread too so he can get these different perspectives.

    +1 on full crampons being serious stuff. Even with training and experience, I learned the hard way about piercing gear and myself. All it takes is a single misstep or awkward stumble. Got me thinking about pants with Kevlar below the knees, like snake pants.

    #3753604
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    Probably kahtoola microspikes are best

    Whatever he uses, when he gets to some steep snow, with a good runout, practice self arrest.

    Start sliding down the slope and then use ice axe to orient you so you’re head up, then stop.

    Try sliding down hill head first and make sure you can orient yourself and stop.

    And kicking steps.

    Find some videos of this to look at.

    It would be wiser to take some class where you get good instruction.  I did the Mazamas climbing school a long time ago.  And then was an instructor.  Although The Mazamas are pretty basic, maybe not the most advanced.

    #3753605
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    The Enchantments are great.  Just be careful peeing because you’ll get swarmed by Mountain Goats.  They are very tame.  But capable of hurting humans – don’t encourage them.

    Post pictures :)

    #3753611
    David Gardner
    BPL Member

    @gearmaker

    Locale: Northern California

    Ideally, work up to sliding downhill headfirst on your back and then arresting too.

    #3753620
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    yeah, exactly, practice flying down slope at crazy angles, then arresting

    where there’s a good runout down below that will stop you if you haven’t figured it out yet

    #3753940
    H W
    BPL Member

    @olddude

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll follow Larry’s advice and have him decide.

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