Crampons- School Me Please

1:12 p.m. on October 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Brand New Ice Climber- boots I'm using are size 12 Koflach Degre's. I will be buying used. What do you prefer and why? What would you recommend? To stay away from? To look for? Thank You.

2:46 p.m. on October 27, 2015 (EDT)
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So much more info needed to make an informed recommendation. Buying crampons is similar to buying boots, fit is the primary concern, and most people assume all crampons will fit on all boots, they won't. After that you can start looking at what type of crampon will suit you best. Will you be doing any mixed climbing, glacier travel or just vertical ice? Also what would you prefer the crampons are made from- aluminium is lighter but not nearly as strong, steel is much more common but even then theres different qualitys of steel. Mono or dual point? Price range you like to spend? Once those are answered it will be a lot easier for everyone to give you some more specific recommendations. 

No matter which brand, or model, you end up picking I would highly recommend going to a store to try them on before buying second hand

3:54 p.m. on October 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Sorry. As stated my boots are Koflach Degre's and they will be used to climb ice. Vertical ice. What are the pluses and minuses to using a mono point vs dual?

What do you prefer and why (brand wise)? What would you recommend (mono/dual/different steel types), To stay away from (bad designs)? To look for (good designs)? Thank You. I am good at finding high dollar equipment for cheap (so bring on the top dollar). Will mainly be climbing in the U.P. of Michigan and some parts of Canada, if that helps at all. I weigh 205lbs with all my gear on.

5:34 p.m. on October 27, 2015 (EDT)
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with the caveat that i have always been more interested in mountaineering and winter snow/ice travel than ice climbing, i have a few thoughts:

1.  Aluminum is too soft to use given the stress on the metal from vertical climbing, so you should only look at steel crampons.  

2.  the koflach is a stiff plastic boot, so you're better off with step-in (automatic) crampons (the back clips on the heel of your boot, a metal bail or plastic basket around the toe).  strap crampons can be finicky, and you want as secure a fit as possible for ice climbing.  

3.  grivel, petzl, black diamond, camp/cassin all make high-quality crampons.  don't buy used to save money because you have no idea how they were treated.  (i would never settle for used carabiners, cams, etc. for the same reason).  i'm betting most automatic crampons will fit your boots pretty well, but make sure they fit.   

4.  ice conditions vary; modular frontpoints allow you to switch from mono to dual points, and every major crampon company sells them.  i'm a simple guy who prefers less risk of failure, so if it were me, i would get a non-modular pair with two points to start, figure out if mono points suit me for some conditions, and get a second non-modular pair of monopoints if needed.  

5. Rock & Ice http://www.rockandice.com/ will probably have better, more useful reviews than most.  coldthistle is a blog by a guy who ice climbs a lot and has definite opinions about his equipment.  http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/ 

hope this is helpful.  

7:22 p.m. on October 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks Andrew very helpful! 

12:26 p.m. on October 28, 2015 (EDT)
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So with my boots being so stiff, is it necessary to go with a rigid crampon you think? Or would a semi rigid suffice for the intended use of climbing vertical ice?  I'm not seeing to many rigid designs from the companies mentioned.

3:33 p.m. on October 28, 2015 (EDT)
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If your boot is rigid, you'll want rigid crampons. Mono vs. dual is a matter of ice. I usually use monopoints for the ice here along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Trail. Lets you shift weight while turning the boot, preventing the sudden shifts that would otherwise happen when picking up one of two front points. Usually don't need as many kicks to get good placement; leaves a smaller gouge, with less chance of debris hitting those below you.

I've got a set of CAMP Bladerunners, and a set of Salewa Vertical Pros that treat me nicely. Zamberlan Denalis if it gets cold out.

5:46 p.m. on October 28, 2015 (EDT)
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Echoing Andrew. When I climbed Mt. Rainier last month, a friend loaned me a ton of gear. When he pulled out his aluminum crampons he discovered he had really chewed them up and had to replace them with steel. I ended up renting mine from my guide company. 

10:13 p.m. on October 28, 2015 (EDT)
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My gear is a bit dated Asolo Cervina boots and I have used both rigid and flex (SMC) and frankly would have to really pay attention to say which I "thought" were the better  Dual points for sure

If this a new "adventure" you'll probably be out with others (local practice slab?) 

Ask/watch/maybe try!

10:21 p.m. on October 28, 2015 (EDT)
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Addendum:

Jake says

"So much more info needed to make an informed recommendation."

He's correct, nobody can and I'd be very careful with any recommendation standing alone

10:27 a.m. on October 29, 2015 (EDT)
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pillowthread said:

If your boot is rigid, you'll want rigid crampons. Mono vs. dual is a matter of ice. I usually use monopoints for the ice here along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Trail. Lets you shift weight while turning the boot, preventing the sudden shifts that would otherwise happen when picking up one of two front points. Usually don't need as many kicks to get good placement; leaves a smaller gouge, with less chance of debris hitting those below you.

I've got a set of CAMP Bladerunners, and a set of Salewa Vertical Pros that treat me nicely. Zamberlan Denalis if it gets cold out.

 Does it make a big difference if a noob was to start out on one vs the other as far as mono points? Or is it mainly a personal preference? Thanks for the info! Maybe we'll see you up in Pictured Rocks.

10:35 a.m. on October 29, 2015 (EDT)
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Chuck Davis said:

Addendum:

Jake says

"So much more info needed to make an informed recommendation."

He's correct, nobody can and I'd be very careful with any recommendation standing alone

 Absolutely, but if I knew all the information he was asking and looking for I would not be posting looking for advice. I didnt  know crampons were made out of different materials, had mono and dual points, have different combined uses, use different attachment points, have different types of structures (rigid and semi rigid) and all that stuff. Its information like that and hearing about other users gear that gives me an idea of what to look for when its time to purchase. I think the posters so far have given me pretty good information and a great point in the right direction. You guys know the gear, I do not.

3:25 p.m. on October 29, 2015 (EDT)
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Hopefully Rob, you will be learning about ice in a course, versus mentoring from informal sources.  A good instruction course will be able to answer all of your questions.

Ed

 

3:55 p.m. on October 29, 2015 (EDT)
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I have a few very good mentors who have been in the game for a long time, I will be getting good instruction from them. All I am looking for now is information regarding crampons....

My mentors have their opinions (on crampons), I am asking for yours. More knowledge and opinions (about crampons) the better. Difficult to comprehend it seems for some. Small steps.

6:47 p.m. on October 29, 2015 (EDT)
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I think you'll be set for vertical ice with monopoints around here. It is preference, but dual points are more for traditional mountaineering, methinks. That said, I can imagine conditions where dual points would be preferrable around here.

8:13 a.m. on October 30, 2015 (EDT)
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I've got to disagree with the monopint recommendation (sorry, Vince!). While the benefits Vince lists are true, there are more negatives than postiives, especially to a new climber (which I'm assuming you are based off the OP, no offence intended). Mono points are superior for getting a precise placement, which for most new climbers will be an advanced skill, and for mixed climbing to fit between cracks. They will however give you less hold on the ice and require a more skilled 'kick' To get the same hold. 

Quote from Will Gadd-

"Dual point crampons are vastly superior to mono points for 90 percent of ice climbing. I can tell from about 200 yards away if anyone (with very rare exceptions like Raph and a few others) is wearing monos or dual frontpoints. The mono-wanna-be-master’s feet will be blowing a lot more. I wear monos for some mixed climbing, but if I could only have one pair of crampons it would be dual cyborgs"

If you're really set on getting mono I'd look at getting something convertible like the Petzl Lynx. For a new climber I'd be looking at a versatile dual, horizontal front point crampon. I've used the grivel g12 (on a pair of la sportiva Nepals, or barunste) for three years now and I'm happy with them.

Again, take your boots to a local store, try them on with which crampons you decide on!

3:23 p.m. on October 30, 2015 (EDT)
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a couple of follow up points:

-Almost all semi-rigid crampons have a bar under your arch to allow them to adjust for length, which technically makes them not truly 'rigid.'  once the bar is dialed in for length and secured, all steel crampons are quite rigid.    

-mono vs dual point is technical discussion that is probably better off occurring between you and whoever is educating you about ice-climbing, not people on a message board.  and, it's a relatively moot point for the purposes of 'what do i buy' if you are leaning toward crampons with modular points, where you can change from dual to mono.    

for educational purposes, i'm including a link to the page from Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, a reference that I have found helpful over the years.  like any reference, it's worth reading but cannot and does not substitute for real-life experience and instruction.  http://bit.ly/1WoO4SL Also, significantly, the primary focus of this reference is mountaineering.  also, i have occasionally read that this reference is a bit 'old school,' even the more recent editions.  there are people who might suggest resources that are more current or more focused on vertical ice.  

11:55 a.m. on November 3, 2015 (EST)
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Awesome. Thank you for all the good information.

2:19 p.m. on November 3, 2015 (EST)
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If  you are interested, i'm in the middle of a pretty good book where ice-climbing is a major focus - Dark Shadows Falling by Joe Simpson, who also wrote the more well-known Touching the Void.  

https://books.google.com/books/about/Dark_Shadows_Falling.html?id=xlItQfluWYcC

5:36 p.m. on November 4, 2015 (EST)
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+1 to Freedom of the Hills and the points made above. I'm a pretty novice ice climber, but I started climbing with monopoints, and I didn't find the learning curve too steep. See what I did there.Steep.

10:16 p.m. on November 4, 2015 (EST)
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"Yvon Chouinard's Climbing Ice  is worth looking at

10:28 p.m. on November 4, 2015 (EST)
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"So with my boots being so stiff, is it necessary to go with a rigid crampon you think"

"Necessary" be careful, being necessary or not may be expressive of an attitude,  vertical ice is not a parlor game, I doubt you will see too many hinged/flex crampons on serious vertical stuff

3:42 p.m. on November 15, 2015 (EST)
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Chuck Davis said:

"So with my boots being so stiff, is it necessary to go with a rigid crampon you think"

"Necessary" be careful, being necessary or not may be expressive of an attitude,  vertical ice is not a parlor game, I doubt you will see too many hinged/flex crampons on serious vertical stuff

 

It was only a question, nothing more. Thank you for explaining that climbing ice is not an indoor activity. That really saved me some reading lol.

12:17 p.m. on November 17, 2015 (EST)
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Just got off the phone with black diamond and Grivel. They were both pretty helpful but think I'm going to go with the Black Diamond Cyborg Pro's. They are going to send me an extra set of bails incase the regular size doesn't fit. Thanks for all the help you guys! 

12:50 p.m. on November 19, 2015 (EST)
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Not mentioned yet but a mitten leash that keeps a "dropped" mitten/glove from going a  l o n g  way out of reach is more a safety item than might be imagined

10:32 p.m. on December 3, 2015 (EST)
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Nice Chuck would have not thought about that. Thanks. Also thought you all might enjoy the set up which I am training on with the other Skanks....that's what they call themselves. It might just be a new passion.

What a great group of people. They have been involved in it for years and are pumped to be sharing their knowledge with a few of us noobs.
12303976_10156236826935654_7533814321517

11:57 a.m. on December 4, 2015 (EST)
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Chuck Davis said:

Not mentioned yet but a mitten leash that keeps a "dropped" mitten/glove from going a  l o n g  way out of reach is more a safety item than might be imagined

 essential in freezing weather, and so is a spare pair.  

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