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#55226 - 05/28/19 07:05 AM crampons
penny Offline


Registered: 05/24/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CALIFORNIA
Can anyone give me some advice on what style/type are the best crampons to buy. Going up from the Portal at end of June and want to be prepared. Never have used before and want to practice before the climb.

thanks

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#55227 - 05/28/19 08:02 AM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
paratrooper508 Offline


Registered: 05/13/19
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Hi Penny,
Please see the link below.

https://www.rei.com/product/798354/black-diamond-contact-strap-crampons-with-abs-plates

There are many crampon options at many different price points; However, I feel that these offer a great value. Hope this helps and good luck. A buddy and I will also be attempting a summit late June, and I use the same crampons.


Best,
Derek


Edited by paratrooper508 (05/28/19 08:03 AM)

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#55228 - 05/28/19 08:28 AM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 413
Loc: Reno, Nevada
The Black Diamond Contact is marginal for technical climbing, but itís perfect for Whitney. Thatís what I used on the Mountaineersí Route on April 24.

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#55229 - 05/28/19 09:52 AM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Hoot Offline


Registered: 02/01/19
Posts: 17
Loc: Ohio
Yep, Black Diamond Contacts work well for any snow softer than ice. They adjust to a wide range of sizes, but make sure they adjust to fit your boots securely, especially if you have a very large or a very small boots. The anti-balling plates are handy for wet soft snow.

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#55231 - 05/28/19 11:06 AM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 33
Loc: San Diego
Unless you only want to buy one pair that can be used for both easy snow/glacier travel and technical alpine climbing, I strongly recommend a strap aluminum model.

Black Diamond Neve Strap Crampons with ABS would a great choice.

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/climbing%2Fcrampons/neve-crampon-BD40007_cfg.html#start=7

Make sure you get a strap model, not clip on.

The advantages are:

1) Low weight (nearly 50% lighter than steel models)
2) Versatility. These crampons work with a variety of boots and even trail runners.

Keep in mind that they do get scratched if you use them to climb rock, but this is not a problem for Whitney main trail.

Pair these crampons with GTX trail runners and UL gaiters from MLD and you will have a vey nice kit for your hike.

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/153583/la-sportiva-wildcat-20-gtx-trail-running-shoes-mens

https://mountainlaureldesigns.com/product/lightsnow-gaiters/

If you want more protection/warmth without sacrificing weight, you can also get these overboots from 40below:

https://40below.com/product/forty-below-light-energy-overboots-tr-model/



Edited by Anton (05/28/19 11:11 AM)

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#55232 - 05/28/19 11:20 AM Re: crampons [Re: Anton]
Malo Offline


Registered: 05/28/19
Posts: 3
Loc: El Centro, Ca.
I am also climbing the Mountaineers route on June 27 and wanted to ask if micro spikes would work instead of crampons.
Thank you,

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#55234 - 05/28/19 11:39 AM Re: crampons [Re: Malo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7781
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Malo
I am also climbing the Mountaineers route on June 27 and wanted to ask if micro spikes would work instead of crampons.

Quick answer: NO!

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#55235 - 05/28/19 01:05 PM Re: crampons [Re: Steve C]
penny Offline


Registered: 05/24/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CALIFORNIA
thanks to all who expressed an opinion....very helpful. I have a pair of Columbia Redmond boots...I just bought and breaking it...any fit or user issues with the Black Diamond Crampons? When I contacted a store they tried to sell me a new pair of boots....

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#55236 - 05/28/19 01:36 PM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 33
Loc: San Diego
My Neves fit La Sportiva trail running shoes with no issues so I presume they will work well with your shoes too. Like I said earlier, consider investing in lightweight gaiters - a very useful piece of kit when you hike snow in low profile shoes.

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#55237 - 05/28/19 01:58 PM Re: crampons [Re: Steve C]
Malo Offline


Registered: 05/28/19
Posts: 3
Loc: El Centro, Ca.
Thank you for the quick answer Steve C.

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#55238 - 05/28/19 02:04 PM Re: crampons [Re: Malo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7781
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Malo
Thank you for the quick answer Steve C.
Malo, Penny who started this thread didn't specify which route she's taking. But the anywhere on the Mountaineer's Route where you would encounter snow, it will be too steep for just microspikes. You also need an ice axe if on that route, if you cannot avoid the snow and ice. Later in the summer it all melts away, but probably not before July this summer.

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#55239 - 05/28/19 02:21 PM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Ian B Offline


Registered: 05/23/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Bishop, CA
Crampons can be made to work on trail runners, but I would recommend using strap-on crampons with a more traditional hiking boot. For crampons to work properly, they need to be tight, which is more comfy with the added protection of a boot. Crampons also typically have a strap that secures over the top near where the foot flexes, so positioning the strap on a low-top can be tricky and uncomfortable.

Trail runners with crampons tend to be fine for flat walking and mellow slopes. On Whitney, where crampons really count is the Chute, and I feel most hikers will be better served on the steeper snow of the Chute by using traditional hiking boots with a more rigid sole.

Regardless if you are using running shoes or hiking boots, you really can't afford to be up the Chute with poorly-fitting crampons. A rotated or dropped crampon can lead to a bad situation (see https://inyosar.com/mt-whitney-multiple-injuries/ for an example from last year of when things go poorly in the Chute). My recommendation is to practice on a snow slope of low consequence first, practice side-stepping and front pointing, etc. so that you know your crampons are adjusted well and fitting properly before tackling the Chute.

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#55240 - 05/28/19 02:31 PM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
mrcooperou812 Offline


Registered: 01/29/19
Posts: 3
Loc: Tempe, Arizona
I bought the longer center bar for my BD crampons and men's size 11 Columbia bugaboots. Tighter and better fit to the bottom.


Edited by mrcooperou812 (05/28/19 02:34 PM)

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#55242 - 05/28/19 03:58 PM Re: crampons [Re: Ian B]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 140
Loc: The OC
I've got a pair of micro-spikes which I use with Altra trail runners for general trail snow/slope use. They even work well for the major JMT passes since the approaches are usually at an angle to the mountain.

However, for something like Whitney, where you have to go straight up ie facing the mountain directly, either via the Chute on the main trail, or the gully/final 400 on the MR, you need the real deal. By that, I mean a light mountaineering boot with a semi/quarter length shank, and traditional, front teeth crampons like the BD Contact. Remember that you aren't going to be following footsteps, but rather will be kicking in to gain purchase every step of the way. That's where the shank comes in, since it transfers the rigidity from your toes/foot bones to the sole.

It's a bit of an extra investment - say $500 or so - for such a specialty piece of equipment, but IMO it's worth the cost. Besides, the same boots can traverse a lot of snow fields with just the square sole vs trail runners with spikes. By way of example, I can move pretty effectively from LP lake all the way to Trail camp without traction.

To be safe and have fun in challenging conditions - look at the photos of people who have accomplished such an awesome goal, the exhilaration is painted on their faces - instead of being terrified and perhaps being injured or worse (happens every year), it's worth the money. Consider that a good pair of boots like the La Sportiva Trango Cube can last a lifetime of use. Besides, many boots/crampons are on sale right now (winter is over for the majority of the world):

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&...i30.qkAFiA7GHLE

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&...i30.A6uAP0kTNEE

Edit: I think this photo perfectly captures gear, technique and style. Go equipped like this, and you should have the time of your life.



Edited by Hobbes (05/28/19 04:18 PM)

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#55244 - 05/28/19 04:40 PM Re: crampons [Re: Hobbes]
tif Offline


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 54
Loc: colton, ca
I would tend to agree that a stiffer soled boot will be far better than a trail runner/light hiker boot. I used my crampons with no issues with my mountaineering boots, but when I attempted baldy with my lighter weight hiking boot (still a boot, but a flexible sole) I had MAJOR foot issues. My foot was cramping up bad (and lasted for 2 days after) due to the rigidity of the crampon and how tightening it on the shoe made the boot fit. I had blisters with boots I've NEVER had a blister with before due to the crampons.

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#55247 - 05/28/19 07:24 PM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Sauce Castillo Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 10
Loc: Sacramento, CA
There are three main types of crampons: strap on/universal, hybrid, and step in. In your case, you want a strap on which will work with your chosen boots. BD Contacts were my first pair and work great for this type of climb. Make sure you practice putting them on, making them tight and various crampon techniques. They must fit tight on your boot. Also check them periodically for tightness. The other thing is carrying them without ripping your pack. I wrap them in one of those reusable grocery store bags when I keep them in the backpack.

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#55255 - 05/29/19 08:47 AM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 33
Loc: San Diego
Every time trail runners are mentioned in a hiking forum, the "boot camp" pushes back. Ian of course makes a very good point that a proper fit is important for safety and practicing beforehand is also a good idea. With that being said, I don't see why a low cut shoe would not work on MWMT in mid June, providing that it is compatible with lightweight crampons with no comfort issues, since the majority of the trip will be on trail and even the direct chute is only a moderate snow. While it is true that the chute is more dangerous than the rest of the trail and accidents happen, I am yet to see evidence that footwear is a major contributing factor (not to be mixed with traction devices). In fact, the data suggest that the majority of accidents are attributed to lack of basic skills, including self arrest and proper glissading on descent. Of three injuries mentioned earlier, two would likely have happen regardless of footwear (they were hit by a falling person) and we can only speculate what caused the initial fall.

Note that I am not recommending trail runners for general mountaineering, and I realize that many folks here consider MWMT a seroius climb. The main purpose of this reply is to emphasize that even the best equipment will not save you when the skills are lacking.

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#55256 - 05/29/19 09:11 AM Re: crampons [Re: Anton]
penny Offline


Registered: 05/24/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CALIFORNIA
I started this post and as one reply mentioned I did not state my route (my apology) but I will be starting from the Portal campground. I tried Shasta many years ago and failed (due to altitude sickness). I paid that dumb tax once but now twice. For Whitney I am coming up a couple days prior and spending time at Horseshoe Meadows camp. I did not do this at Shasta.

I anticipated at end of June I would not have to train with ice axe and crampons but with all the snow that is another thing I need to be concerned with. Hence the reason for my post.

Thanks to everyone for your professionalism and insight. I am training like a madman but don't want to leave anything to chance.

thank you for the replies.

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#55262 - 05/29/19 01:37 PM Re: crampons [Re: penny]
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 33
Loc: San Diego
Looks like you have a good plan. FYI: There are two routes that go to the base of MT Whitney from the portal and share the first mile or so - the main trail, which you will be hiking, and the Mountaineers route (MR). The latter is more rugged and requires non-trivial alpine skills (it is rated class III). You don't need to worry about taking the wrong path since the turnout to MR is barely noticeable from the main trail.

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#55273 - 05/31/19 11:52 AM Re: crampons [Re: Anton]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 210
Loc: New York
Aluminum crampons are great where you know you'll only be on snow, no mixed rock and minimal ice. One caveat though is that they dull faster than steel and have been known to crack in super cold weather. Steel is heavier, but more durable, dulls slower and better on icy areas in my experience. I have climbed Whitney in aluminum and yes they're lighter for sure. I removed them once I hit rocks and put them on again when it was pure snow, which is a pain though I wanted to preserve the points.

So, as far as which crampons to buy, it will somewhat depend on you and your future plans other than Mount Whitney. If you plan to keep using them on more mountains, maybe more technical mountains or peaks that have some rock mixed in, a steel pair is probably a better investment than aluminum if you are only getting one pair. The BD Contact Straps are good and I've used them on Whitney, though I like Grivel models better. If you do buy a mountaineering boot with a rear welt for crampons, get a hybrid strapon model with a rear clip which will be more secure all things equal, like a G12. The G12 is more aggressive than the BD C/S models but you feel better on steep slopes in them.

When attempting a lightweight climb, I have tried with some success to use strapon crampons with lowcut trailrunners, but the fit wasn't great and didn't give me comfort on icy areas due to that. They were fine in the flatter areas, but my shoe was too soft for them to tighten tight enough to give me comfort on any of the sections with more consequence of slipping. On those climbs though I knew ahead of time there was on a couple spots I needed them and there wasn't a lot or any postholing either.

Trail runners are great on Whitney when there is no snow or just a little snow on flatter areas. I use them on most summer/fall hikes/climbs until there is more meaningful snow, then the mountaineering boots come out. If snow is deeper than 8-10", I'll add on gaiters. If its a more technical route and dry, I'll opt for an approach shoe that can be hiked in.

One other point with trailrunners vs. boots is warmth/water repellency while hiking all day in snow. Boots are a clear winner for those with a tendency to get colder feet or where you're postholing a while, boots will give you an added few inches over trail runners to keep the snow out and help better to keep your feet dry/warmer.

You didn't ask about an axe, but you should prepare to have that as well and as you practice with your crampons get some instruction on proper ice axe use, self belays, self arrest, etc...

Good luck!

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