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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crampons for skimo boots?

photo courtesy of Krister Jonsson

One doesn't have to look far to see I advocate ice climbing in ski boots if the climb warrants it.  That hasn't always been the case.  In fact a few years ago I scoffed at anyone unlucky enough to suffer through that kind of nonsense.

The Dynafit TLT5 and now 6 have changed my attitude an opinion.

I have had several conversations recently with friends, blog readers and my climbing partner on what crampon works the best for the TLT boots.  No clue what works on other boots since there aren't any other ski boots I am willing to climb in other than the TLT 5, 6 or full on Dynafit and Scarpa  "race" boots.

I like and use all sorts of different crampons for my climbing boots.  Generally what fits the boot best gets climbed in.  And that depends on the boot sole shape and the crampons security when attached.  It has to be rock solid for me to be accepting and confident.

For the few rando boots I am willing to climb in, it also depends on the same solid crampon fit and security.  Never know when I might be using the boot-crampon combo with a Grivel Condor or a BD Whippet.  Crampons had better be secure if I am intending to leave real tools behind.

My skimo rigs have simply decided by boot fit.  I don't care about much of anything else within reason.  All of these particular crampons climb well in they specific conditions they were designed for. They may not have been specifically designed for the Dynafit boots but you would be hard pressed to tell otherwise.  I've tried literally every crampon easily available in NA market.  And for my size 29 boots nothing else even in the ball game for fit and security.  Few will even match the performance.  None better the fit.

YMMV of course.  Just my 2 cents on the subject since I was asked.  I buy all my own crampons.  No body giving me crampons these days.  Grivel never has.

A lwt 10 point skimo crampon, the Grivel, Haute Route..steel front points, aluminum heel.  If you really need a crampon, steel is the only real security. Half might just be better than a full steel set up in some situations.   I have full aluminum crampons and use them as well.  But in many cases the combo of steel and aluminum makes more sense IMO. 

Dual vertical front points on the Grivel G22


And my favorite technical crampon ( and seemingly everyone Else's) for the TLT..the Grivel G20.


Anonymous said...

Dane, how do you like the fit of CAMP cramps on the TLT5? I have used CAMP XLC390 and Tour 350 alu automatic cramps with my TLT5 with success. The Tour Nanotech Automatic is a full steel crampon about the same weight as the Haute Route that I would guess fits the same as the Tour 350, but I would have to test them to confirm. The Tour 350 saves 200 grams over the Haute Route. It is all alu, but it has been fine for the spring/summer ski mountaineering I do in the Sierra and Cascades.

Dane said...

I've been using the Camp XLC390 long before I ever saw a pair of TLT. They are my other go to crampons for the TLT as well as my MTN boots when I expect hard snow/Neve. And you are right much lighter and good enough for much of what I do in the spring.

My point here is it is another discussion...for more technical climbing in hard ice conditions where aluminum will not do. I stopped the article short to make that point. The Nanotech might be a good option for some conditions. But have yet to try them. At least the Camp crampon fit is usually very good as you have noted. No diss here to CAMP USA..great skimo gear in every way and lots of options there for the TLT boots. Just trying to say if I am out in winter I generally want steel. Late spring and summer missions? Aluminum gets uses as well.

Unknown said...

I'm currently using some old (20y) grivel crampons with my Scarpa Aliens and they are very secure and positive. Don't climb anything severe enough to comment on ultimate performance but comfortingly secure to front point on 70-80% ice ramps when needed.

Dee said...

you might like this Dane

Kaj said...

My take on the Haute Routes: great tradeoff between the security of steel and the weight savings of alu. But be warned the front points are kinda short- on my scarpa aliens they only protrude about 10mm from the toe of the boot.
So although they're steel, they aren't too confidence inspiring on anything steep.
When it comes to lightweight crampons for spring/summer outings on neve, the Camp 290 sounds brilliant. Has anyone tested 'em?

Dane said...

Depends on the boots. Compared to a tech crampon? Short for a TLT or Maestrale...a little short but usable on a DyNA or PDG. Surprised they come up too short on the Alien. But pays to remember the HR was never intended to be a technical crampon. If you need more front point than what the HR offers, likely you should be on a different crampon. 290? Jerry reviewed them here last year. Also a wealth of comments by those that have used them. Jonathon has soem good tips. But I still think sole length makes a big difference. Try the search function for the review.

Alexander P. Ellis said...

@Dane: Have you seen the new CAMP Blade Runner crampons? If so, any thoughts? I spoke with one of their customer service reps. They have done fit testing with various La Sportiva and Scarpa boots but not with Dynafits. I'm interested in hearing how these things climb... both in "ice/mountaineering" boots and in touring boots.

Chris Graham said...

I would be curious about the Blade runners too Alexander!

Òscar Ballespí said...

Hi Dane, which climbing crampon with Pdg's do you recommend?. I tried with my Dart but unsurprisingly fits very poorly, and I've also tried with the front bail of old Rambos mounted on the Dart, fits the pdg better but not enough.
Do you think the G20/G22, as in the TLT5/6, are the best option to climb with pdg? You have the pdg, I think, don't? Would you be so kind as to comment on how they fit to the g20 or g22?

Thank you very much, and greetings from Catalonia.

Dane said...

Thanks Oscar. I'm using a G20. G22 should be the same fit. They work well on the PDG and TLT6.

ExtraBlue said...

I'm considering a pair of DyNA PDG boots for an upcoming (2015) Alaska Range climbing trip. (The three big ridge hikes.) I've read a lot of reviews of the PDG but have yet to see anything on their warmth. It seems to be that they have the same liners as the La Sportiva Baruntse, but a considerably lighter shell. From your experience is there a significant insulation difference between the PDG and the La Sportiva Baruntse?

Dane said...

PDG is a fun boot but it is no cold weatther climbing double boot imo. I thought long and hard about using mine on the HR this Spring but in the end bailed because the liner is so thin. Thinner by a good bit than the Baruntse liner. And the Baruntse outer boot is half the total insulation of that boot! IT is a double boot with insulation in both shell and liner. Not comparable boots for warmth. If you wnat light and warm use the 6000 and a Baruntse liner.

BTW we did a hour + at 3664m/12K' in a cold, deep snow, boot pack on the HR crossing the Plateau Couloir. I never stopped moving there. But my feet were cold/numb all morning in the much warmer TLT6 with a custom, full thickness foam liner, thick insole and my buckles loose. Thankfully they warmed right up once we got back in the sun. Would have loved to do they trip in the PDG and likely will when i go back next Spring. But for that one day alone on the Plateau Couloir I was happy I had something warmer than the PDG!

PDG would be awesome low on the Kahiltna in late May or June. But earlier or up high, unless you were were really moving quickly don't think they are warm enough. Get slowed down or stuck in a storm and you'd likely damage your feet pretty quickly. I'll do my next HR trip in early April and post the results here. But I know were I will have to keep moving to keep warm, 2nd time around and there is a nice stone hut and warm soup at the end of every day there!