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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It makes me laugh...

Just when we all think we have the lightest and best I pull out the scale. Published weights are from my certified digital scale.

Size 12, Koflach Ultra, Aveolite inner boot, circa 1980, Chouinard hinged crampons, Beck/Chouinard straps. Total weight 3#9oz.

Size 45 La Sportiva Spantik, factory inner, 2010, Petzl Dartwin with lever lock. Total weight 4# 1oz. (lightest dbl boot and crampon, current production, combination I own)

The difference between a pair in weight? 16oz. !! The difference in warmth, comfort and climbing ability, marginal at best. Cost? $200 1980 Kolfach would be $550 in today's dollars. Retail cost of the La Sportiva $ 700. Crampon and boot manufactures could do a lot better on weight and warmth. Going backward is never the way forward.

I can however with some dicking around get the Back Diamond Sabertooth lighter than the Dartwin by changing out the BD wires and clips to Petzl and pulling the bots. Then by changing the Spantik liner to a Baruntse liner (Intuition is heavier by 3oz and doen't fit as well) I was able to get the rig down to 3#11.5oz. Closer to the Kolfach/Chouinard rig, climbs very similar, a bit more user friendly and with some added warmth. But still 5oz per pair too heavy. ( I can drop that 4oz by adding aluminum Neve heel pieces and going back to the heavier BD levers for a proper fit) I'd really like to see a sub 3# dbl boot and fully technical crampon combination for my size 12 feet. I like the lighter combo with the BD Neve aluminum heels and Sabertooth steel fronts but that set up has some obvious limitations for difficult climbing and may not be worth the 4 ounce per pair you save over standard steel heels.

So riddle me this...which crampon do you think climbs better? Nope not the difference between vertical and horizontal front points...that is trivial by comparison.

You might think it could be the pair with 12 points on the ground or the one with 14?
The key to so much terrain and resting via French technique is the pair of points right behind the ball of the foot. Dropping a set of points there to save weight is ONE way to do it. The amount of stability those extra set of points add makes them worth while, and sadly, something I notice is missing while climbing on the Darts/Dartwins. The same set of points are also key in the ability to "kick" out a step enabling you to splay your feet out on steep, hard, ice and get off your front points.

1 comment:

Andy Arts said...

Hey, just came across your blog and I like it.
Thanks for a good read.