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Strap-on crampon limitations

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Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby cav14 » Fri May 11, 2012 9:06 am

Hey all,

I've tried searching, but can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for. I have a pair of BD Serac strap-on crampons and am wondering what the limitations of those are. I'm looking into buying a new pair of boots and wonder how that will change based on the type of boot. I'm considering the Asolo TPS 520 GV, which seems like it would be pretty good with crampons, but I want a second opinion. What kind of slope could I reasonably tackle with this combination? Would getting dedicated mountaineering boots make a big difference?

FWIW I'm pretty new to this and am trying to slowly get more involved, so nothing vertical yet, but I want to keep my options open.

Thanks in advance
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby spiritualspatula » Fri May 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Your strap on crampons will work on pretty much every boot that's of the right size for them, so that isn't really of any real worry for you. Strap on crampons will not, however, provide the same stability as newmatics. If you wanted that added stability, you will need to invest in a boot that has a toe and heel welt, and which has a very stiff sole. They generally aren't as pleasant to walk in, but I will vouch for my Scarpa Mantas being pretty comfortable for up to around 13 miles in a day. Beyond that, they get rough for me.

If you ever do more vertical stuff, you will not only need new crampons but new boots. If you were to get boots that are a bit of a compromise (like the Mantas) keep in mind they will not hike as nice as a normal hiking boot nor will they do steep ice nearly so well as something like a Freney ( in the same mfr line). As such, general boots vs ice/winter may be separate purchases. Expect winter/ice boots to be a good deal more.

For specific slope details, I'm not of much use, as I tended towards using a heavier boot and newmatics whenever in doubt.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby Autoxfil » Fri May 11, 2012 12:40 pm

I have climbed a lot of vertical (well, WI3) ice in G10 straps and Trango Evos. You'll be fine for anything you might tackle in the near future.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby DukeJH » Fri May 11, 2012 7:15 pm

I use the Asolo TPS 520GV with Grivel G12 New Classics. For general hiking and snow travel you will be fine. The limitiation of this combination is the lack of stiffness in the sole of the boot. I've climbed Wildstrubel Glacier (a reasonable gentle climb, walk up with exposed water ice glacier and snow) with this combination. If I get into water ice, wind blasted snow, or need to use my front points, I go to a rigid mountaineering boot (Lowa Silberhorn or Koflach Arctis Expe) but stay with the strap on crampon.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri May 11, 2012 9:19 pm

Just to pile on what others have said, your crampons will not be the limiting factor, your boots will be regardless of what you climb. If you decide to climb water ice or mixed climbs, or mixed alpine climbs, or steep mountaineering routes you will need a boot with a full length shank. Your crampons will still work, but if you are after technical routes you will probably want a more agressive crampon as well.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby dan2see » Sat May 12, 2012 4:47 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:Just to pile on what others have said, your crampons will not be the limiting factor, your boots will be regardless of what you climb. If you decide to climb water ice or mixed climbs, or mixed alpine climbs, or steep mountaineering routes you will need a boot with a full length shank. Your crampons will still work, but if you are after technical routes you will probably want a more agressive crampon as well.


Yes, this is my experience also.

I love my strap-on 12-point crampons, they are easy, versatile, and cheap.
But on vertical ice, the flex of my back-packer hiking boots defeats the toe-points. I can still move, but it's really pathetic.

So get rigid boots. Then you can wear just about any crampon style you have.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby cav14 » Sun May 13, 2012 11:29 pm

I currently have a good pair of hiking boots that I can use with crampons for basic snow (Vasque Wasatch), so does anyone have any suggestions for compromise boots, as spiritualspatula was mentioning?

Thanks for all the advice so far, it's very helpful.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby Autoxfil » Mon May 14, 2012 2:56 am

What sort of routes are you looking at? That would help.

It sounds like you're getting a bit ahead of yourself - I think you'll know when the crampons are the limitation. If you're just on snow - even steep snow - your current boots are fine.

If you are looking for a compromise boot, the LaSportiva Trango Alp is beefy enough for some steeper climbing. But most people I know (myself included) use something in the Trango S class, and something in the Nepal Evo class.
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Re: Strap-on crampon limitations

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon May 14, 2012 3:15 am

I've owned a number of pairs of ridgid sole boots, booth leather and plastic. I have owned half shank mountainnering boots (One Sport Moraine, Scarpa Manta and found them to be a compromise and do nothing partiularly well. They are too heavy for an approach shoe and not stiff for steep alpine climbing. If you only ever climb very moderate snow/glacier routes like the standard routes on Mt Baker or Rainier or have week ankles and need the support for hiking and back packing on snow the make sense. Otherwise, I find a full length shank proper mountaineering boot and a low cut, sticky soled approach shoe covers my bases and excel for their intended uses.
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