A look into the cold world of alpine climbing.
Hey, Dane, what's your take on crampon binding systems? From what I've seen, you only use step-in bindings. This page http://www.planetfear.com/articles/Getting_the_right_crampons_424.html offers a fairly full review of the different systems, but its only one data point, so I thought I'd ask you as well.
Hi Gibson,No question Andy knows his stuff.And in general reading his article I have little to take exception to.But then I have used all the crampons styles mentioned and many, many different styles of boots to match over the years. So here is the long answer.If you look at the guys doing the big ski decents (and big climbs to get there) they are/were generally using aluminum crampons.I think it is Jared who comments about how nice it was to have a verttical steel front point on Baker's ice.When I climb and use crampons I always use a fairly rigid soled boots. So I use a clip on "2+" crampons. But given a choice of a lwt and practical "3" I would be using one. There just aren't any available so I muddle on in a 2+.Andy: "For over two decades this has been the only way any serious climber would attach their crampons to their boots....for C3 users who want a total vibration free binding, or climbers who are just interested in pure technical climbing" My own climbing goes back to the mid '70s on water fall ice. Rigid crampoons and a completely rigid soled boot have some advantages on pure ice. Part of the reason so many climb in AT boots in the alps.Rigid soled boots climb ice very well. A stiff enough sole on the boot and you can have some crampon flex and not notice it as much.I actually took a pack full of cramposn and boots to Professor's Falls a few winters ago and changed both as I climbed the 6 pitches up and down. Just to see if I was missing anything with the newest gear. No surprise really that the most rigid boot and most rigid crampon in the bag felt the most secure and took the least amount of ewffort to climb in.Of course I don't climb in that same combo now because there are othere things I want from the boot crampon combo besides just the ability to climb pure ice well.Bottom line is I have a very limited use for the new style "basket" toe stystem except for what I consider non technical terrain. Andy: "At first people wrote these off as being just for walking and Alpine climbing, but slowly they've been accepted for all types of climbing and are now the new standard in crampon attachment"Last winter Alexi at Grivel told Carlo Buhler and I the same story at OR. Something like a 70/30 split now going to the front basket in crampon sales. Carlos and I both were a little dumb founded as the vast majority of climbers on ice in Canada are using clip on crampons...with a wire toe bail. Not the case in the Alps. I don't think it is any secret that ice climbing boots and crampons climbed better in the mid '80s early '90s on pure ice than most any set up does now.Likely the La Sportiva Baruntse and a pair of Grivel Rambo IVs are as close as you'll get to that kind of performance.But the added performance isn't all that much better than an old pair of Salewa strap on crampons and a rigid leather boot from 40 years ago either. Given the option I'll still take the advantage. But it may not be an advatage to you. Or Andy for that matter.
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