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Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

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Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby TheBootfitter » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:25 am

Heading to Denali in May. (West Buttress) Had always planned to use my BD Sabretooths. Now, looking at ways to lighten my pack, I learn about the Petzl Irvis Hybrid, so I pick up a pair to try.

Half the weight. Definitely not as "burly" or aggressive, but even on blue ice, I would think that the steel front half would offer enough purchase. I've used BD Contact Strap crampons on blue ice before without any noticeable issues.

Anyone care to opine? Excitableboy?
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:04 pm

I've actually thought about using 10 point crampons on Denali, and I can't see a reason why they would be an issue on the West Buttress route.

I'm not familiar with the Petzl Irvis Hybrid specifically, but I would be freaked out by the cord attachment system. They are specifically billed for approaches and skiing. I would not personally use them in Alaska, but then I'm old and resistant to new ways of thinking.

I know a lot of climbers who have built their own hybrids with aluminum rear and steel fronts, but with traditional steel connecting bars. There are a few icy traverses where I would want my down facing points to be sharp (Windy Corner and the Autobahn come to mind), and that has always been a problem with my aluminum crampons, but then I like to rock climb with them because they are almost like sticky rubber.

So, just to summarize my OPINIONS for Denali West Buttress:

- 10 point crampons, YES

- Hybrid aluminum/steel crampons, YES

- Petzl Irvis Hybrid crampons, No F'ing Way.

FWIW, the weight difference between the all steel Petzl Irvis and the Irvis Hybrid is 7 ounces.

Lots of other, safer, opportunities for saving weight. Campsaver is selling the Patagonia Fitz Roy down parka for $233 with their coupon code. That would be an ideal parka for Denali, not too much, not too little, and the price right now is incredible. I almost purchased one on principle, but then realized my ultra warm parka has not been out of the closet in a few years, can't really justify buying another one just because it is on sale.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby TheBootfitter » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:10 pm

Thanks for the response, EB. I haven't posted anything for awhile, but have always appreciated your perspective when I'm lurking.

I'm curious to hear more about your hesitation with the cord attachment system (other than your rigid, crotchety old man ways). ;-)

Would you be concerned about the cord being cut? There's not a lot of exposed rock on the route except a bit on some of the ridges on the upper mountain, right? And even those appear from pics and videos to be not too bad. They do sell a replacement cord on the off chance the cord is compromised, but it doesn't seem likely to me.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:08 am

TheBootfitter wrote:Would you be concerned about the cord being cut? There's not a lot of exposed rock on the route except a bit on some of the ridges on the upper mountain, right?


Crikes, that had never occurred to me, but now that you mention it, I would worry about that too. I am more concerned with the cord working loose and the crampon falling off. I was doing a winter mixed alpine route when my partner lost his crampon, the extremely reliable Charlet-Moser S-12. I owned two pairs myself, and think they are some of the best crampons ever made. Anyway, my partner lost a crampon a long way up an ice filled couloir when the strap to the New-matic (Lever lock) worked loose and the entire crampon came off his boot. That is what worries me about the cord attachment system, it just working loose and falling off. I haven't had a pair of the Irvis Hybrids in my hands so I don't know if that is a realistic fear or not. I do know that it saves only 7 ounces over the all steel version, so it is a really negligible savings. You could buy a pair of BD Neve aluminum crampons and replace the back of your Contacts with the back of the Neves and achieve the same thing, but with a little more security.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby TheBootfitter » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:15 am

I have to figure out how to post photos on here again. Been too long. And I guess I probably hadn't ever done it from a mobile phone.

Anyway, I took some photos to give you a little more detail. If I figure out how to post them, I will. Not trying to convince you of anything, and I understand your concerns for sure. Though I think the cord "coming undone" or working itself loose is really unlikely, especially when we won't have the torque of front pointing. Granted, losing the CM S-12 was probably unlikely too.

The upper strap goes through both the front and back of the crampon. Not saying it wouldn't suck and potentially put you in a bad spot if the cord was cut or broken, but unless you were on something pretty vertical, I don't think losing the crampon would be very likely.

I dunno... I still haven't committed 100%. I need a little field experience with them before I make the call, but so far, when adjusted properly, they seem every bit as secure on my boots as my Sabretooths. Mostly what I was worried about was whether I'd be putting myself at risk with only 10 points instead of 12 or 14.

Let's see if this works:
Petzl_Irvis_Hybrid_Adjustment.jpg
Cord adjustment
Petzl_Irvis_Hybrid_Adjustment.jpg (82.13 KiB) Viewed 1180 times

Petzl_Irvis_Hybrid_Bottom.jpg
Bottom view on boot
Petzl_Irvis_Hybrid_Bottom.jpg (229.96 KiB) Viewed 1180 times

Petzl_Irvis_Hybrid_Strap.jpg
Strap on boot
Petzl_Irvis_Hybrid_Strap.jpg (69.81 KiB) Viewed 1180 times
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:04 am

Those photos do not inspire confidence in me. I would be much more concerned with the connection system than the loss of 2 points. 10 point steel crampons seem pretty ideal for a route like the West Buttress. Which boots are those BTW? Scarpa 8000 meter?
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby TheBootfitter » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:22 am

Yep, the Scarpa Phantom 8000. We'll be starting our climb on Apri 29, so I wanted to err on the conservative side of warmth. I actually have the Palau liners from the LS Baruntse inside, as I felt they offered a more secure fit around my feet. With the thermoforming and a few c and l shaped pads to fill in gaps, I was able to get the fit dialed in pretty well. So far, they have been great. Plus, I got them on STP for a steal at under $400. (I had sold my plastic Koflachs with a Denali intuition liner several years ago, or I may have just used those instead.)
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby buckie06 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:52 am

This makes me nervous too. Have you looked at CAMP crampons?

Petzl Irvis Hybrid 18.4oz
CAMP XLC 390 Aluminum 19oz
CAMP XLC Nanotech Aluminum with steel front points 21.1oz
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby TheBootfitter » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:57 pm

buckie06 wrote:This makes me nervous too.

Out of curiosity, is it the cord attachment that makes you nervous?

The Irvis Hybrids have all front half points in steel rather than just the tips of the two front points on the CAMP XLC Nanotech. Plus, it's a solid piece rather than a bolted on steel point on the front. I think from that perspective, the Irvis Hybrids look much more solid for glacier travel when blue ice may be encountered.

For what it's worth, Dyneema/Spectra cord is stronger than steel and very resistant to cutting. On a glacier, the only things that bottoms of feet generally come in contact with is snow, ice, and occasional rock. While I won't try it on the pair that I have, I'd be willing to bet that you could take a pretty good swing with the adze or pick of an ice tool at this cord and not compromise the integrity. If I had a short length of comparable thickness Dyneema cord, I'd try it out.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:03 am

Not to beat a dead horse, but I've watched partners lose very reliable steel mountaineering crampons when the strap to the new-matic binder (lever in back, basket in front) worked its way loose. That is the reasons for my misgivings about the cord connector, fear of it working its way loose and then falling off. Maybe that is an unfounded fear for the Irvis Hybrid, but there are a couple of sections on the West Butt that would be very bad to lose a crampon.

If you are interested in hybrids, a Grivel Air Tech Light rear piece mated to an Air Tech steel front weighs only 22 ounces. That is mere four ounces heavier than the Petzl Irvis Hybrid, which is a small penalty for a proven, reliable design.
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby TheBootfitter » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:04 am

ExcitableBoy wrote:That is the reasons for my misgivings about the cord connector, fear of it working its way loose and then falling off. Maybe that is an unfounded fear for the Irvis Hybrid, but there are a couple of sections on the West Butt that would be very bad to lose a crampon.

Your misgivings make more sense to me now. Thanks for that additional input.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby b. » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:28 am

I'm with him. Those would probably get you up and down the WB, but if they didn't you could be in a bad place. Windy corner with a pack and a sled and one crampon sounds like a terrifying book.
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Re: Any reason NOT to use 10-point crampons for Denali?

Postby Josh Lewis » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:59 pm

buckie06 wrote:CAMP XLC Nanotech Aluminum with steel front points 21.1oz


This is probably the best combo of light and reliable on something icy like Denali. 8)
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