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boots/crampons for hiking

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Re: boots/crampons for hiking

Postby Gafoto » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:01 am

mtnjim wrote:For an all-around, multipurpose, jack-of-all-trades type crampon that can be used with just about any footwear, I'd recommend the Black Diamond Contact strap-on.

I've seen them used on Everest and have used mine with plastic mountaineering boots on Chimborazo and others in Ecuador and fooled around with them in Colorado on class 3+ water ice on flexible hiking boots, used them to stroll from Austrian hut across the glacier to the start of Mt Kenya's Nelion route. The low plastic heel bail will allow them to fit on trail runners as well. The built in anti-balling plate is a nice feature.

They should take you to the place from where you can decide what you want to move up to, if you need anything more at all.

I have climbed things I absolutely should not have climbed with some strap on Contacts. They bite really well and hold onto my boots like it's going out of style. I'm using some totally flexible hiking boots and they do a great job on slopes up to ~45 degrees. I can't say I'd recommend using them with very flexible boots, the bar just isn't stiff enough to handle front-pointing.
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Re: boots/crampons for hiking

Postby JHH60 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:27 pm

As others have noted, if you're doing this to train for alpine mountaineering then your choice of boots is more important than your choice of crampons. Also, if you don't have one, get a mountaineering ice axe and learn how to use it for balance, self belay and self arrest on steep snow. Crampon technique on moderate slope snow is mostly the same as what you do on snow without crampons - basically put one foot in front of the other; special foot positions ("french" and "german" technique) come into play as the slope steepens. You do have to be careful not to trip yourself by snagging your crampon on your pants leg, and when self-arresting with crampons on it's important to lift your feet while sliding so your crampons don't catch in the snow and break your ankle or flip you over (all this stuff is in books like "Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills", but it's good to practice with, and see it demonstrated by, a friend who has prior experience). If on snow that's not too icy and less than 45 degrees or so, many people won't bother with crampons and will just kick steps in the snow. That of course requires that your boots have fairly stiff soles. Such boots often have heels which can accomodate hybrid ("newmatic") crampons, and may be suitable for alpine or even water ice climbing. That said, if you're boots are stiff enough for kicking steps in snow, then any crampon which fits securely should be OK for moderate snow and alpine ice climbing. I'm far from an expert ice climber but have used strap on horizontal point crampons to climb fairly steep waterfall ice (WI4) and was surprised to find that it wasn't that much harder than with fancier and more expensive vertical ice step in crampons.
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