I have rewritten this blog to make it more current and in my opinion more accurate from the details I have been able to gather from the climbing community in the last 4 months. Black Diamond has offered no new public information since the third pair of broken stainless crampons became public knowledge in mid Feb of 2011.
Since then I have been made aware of several more pairs of cracked or broken crampons by their owners. Crampons that the owners only identified because of Rafal's original blog post on the subject.
Until recently I have been a big fan of the Black Diamond horizontal crampons for most conditions. Sabertooth to be exact. But I have also used the Serac. They both climb exceptionally well. Big fan until they started breaking. BD has yet to acknowledge they have a problem. To the opposite in fact, they have publically denied any problems. Despite continuing to quietly replace PRODUCTION crampons as they crack or break and are returned to BD.
I will no longer climb in mine.
I have personally verified early versions of both Sabertooth and Serac Pro and Clip models failing. All have had a similar failure and position on the front of the crampon. Thankfully the only broken crampons I have seen are the earlier versions before BD added material to the failure area. Those same crampons can still be found on Black Diamond's dealer's shelves.
I first noticed that added material and design change in the early fall of 2010.
snip from a comment by Bill Belcourt of Black Diamond on Gravsport:
"these changes would improve the life of the crampon in the failure mode that Rafal saw"
The original comment here:
The heads up and photos courtesy of Rafal. More here:
In email conversations with the owner of these Sabertooth Pros said they were used only with a Nepal Evo. The Evo is a pretty rigid boot by today's standards. I do not believe these crampons, which were sold at retail and not prototypes, were abused in any way.
1st gen Sabertooth is on the right in the picture above. 2nd gen version is on the left. At the area of the break BD went from approx. .53" to .70". across the flat or a 38% increase. The cross bar between front points gained 24% in a similar fashion, . 50" to .62"