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Dane

Do your crampons fit?

crampon fit  

129 members have voted

  1. 1. crampon fit

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I would bet that over half of the people reading this are using a crampon/boot combination that doesn't "fit".

 

Before you call, "bullshit", read on, then go check your own rig again.

 

What do I mean by "fit"? I mean ZERO movement between boot and crampon when latched and even more importantly when climbing.

 

If you can flex your crampons by holding your boot /crampon combo between your legs and pull up on the front points and have the crampon flex...they don't fit. If you can move the toe of your boot inside the front bail either before it is buckled in, after it is buckled in or the toe migrates inside the crampon off to the side once you are climbing, the crampon doesn't fit.

 

If you can move the connecting bar sideways while holding your boot and crampon combo, your crampon doesn't fit. If your crampon's heel section can be moved by pushing or pulling on the center bar, the crampon doesn't fit. It your replaceable front points have any flex in them left to right...you need to tighten the bolt that holds them to the crampon body. Not a fit issue..but you get the idea.

 

I own 5 pairs of boots from La Sportiva and Scarpa currently. And 6 pairs of technical crampons. The crampons are from Petzl, Black Diamond and Grivel. I mix and match heel pieces and toe bales on each brand to get the best fit possible. And still there are some crampon and boot combinations that imo I simply find unsuitable for technical climbing.

 

Petzl and Scarpa both claim in emails to me that the newest Phantom series of boots and the Dartwin and Dart combination is a "good combination with no issues". I've seen people who should know better claim a "perfect fit" between the same combo. I wear a size 45 boot and mine simply don't "fit".

 

I own those same boot and crampons and won't use the combinations myself because of the terrible boot to crampon interface. And I really like both the boots and the crampons.

 

Black Diamond knows there are issues with many of the newer super low profile boot soles and smaller boots in particular. None of the crampon manufactures have any control over what the boot manufactures come up with. But they must modify their crampons to fit. Easier said than done from my own experience. BD is currently working on a new bail design to better the fit on all the new boots.

 

Having a crampon that doesn't fit perfectly just makes the climbing harder. It makes the climbing less safe. Dropping a crampon can literally be a life or death issue. It is never a good thing.

 

Some where between now (2011) and then (1980) we have allowed the manufactures to produce and we keep buying, some really bad combos for crampon and boot interface.

 

Why do I care? Having a "proper" crampon fit makes climbing so much easier. The crampons simply work better on hard technical terrain, especially so on ice.

 

Do me a favor and let me know if your crampons actually "fit" or don't. The reason I ask? I was playing with my Spantik's last night and the crampons I prefer to use on them. You can guess what I found...but my thought was, "sacrebleu, these don't fit!". And now you know how I came up with 50%.

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BD Cyborg Clips (2010) + Scarpa Charmoz = loose heel bails, with the adjuster maxed out. I'll have to improvise a fix.

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BD Sabretooth 2010 + LaSportiva Trango EVO GTX = connecting bar is moving sideways (worse on vertical ice).

Anyone has this problem?

Or my boot is too small (s.39) for proper adjustment?

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Best and easiest fix for BD crampons is a set of Petzl front bails. I had to change all of my BD crampons to get a proper fit.

 

If they make the boot for ice climbing, the crampons should fit...no matter what size you are.

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geekery:

scarpa alphas + grivel g14 = excellent

la sportiva nepal tops + grivel g14 = very good (a minor bit of space around edges of front bail mostly to boot wear)

 

the grivel "dampening" front bail is over-engineered bunk. thinking of switching with the simple front bails off my old 2f's.

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Petzl? You could but that doesn't mean the crampon will fit your specific boot.

 

None of the companies are lacking advantages on crampon design. Which is why each company makes so many different models.

 

If every crampon fit, every boot perfectly, they would sell a lot less crampons is my take on it.

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If every crampon fit, every boot perfectly, they would sell a lot less crampons is my take on it.

 

sounds like a conspiracy? Just like 9/11, I don't think the parties involved are smart enough to create such a conspiracy.

 

More like you said earlier, there are dozens of boot companies that all make the boot a little differently, hence the crampon don't fit perfectly.

 

What we need are boots that have the points retracted inside the soles. Upon need, the points come out for instant and secure ice action. Maybe a Gene Simmons dragon boot?

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sounds like a conspiracy?

 

Ya, you are off the deep end on that one tonight Gene.

 

Never intended that as a "conspriracy comment" as most know the major players involved have some serious dislike for each other.

 

But the fact is, if every crampon did fit every boot, they would sell fewer crampons. The crampon companies work hard to make their gear safe and have it fit right. Hard to do with no standard and new boots every year. I have no doubt every crampon company would like to make every crampon they sell fit every boot perfectly. But they aren't going to put much effort into improving that issue until they hear how poorly many of the current models fit.

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for what its worth, my old rambo crampon (2000?) fits my old blue freney very good. But it does not have that center bar that seems to be the issue with your questions.

 

Now I just have to use it more often since they fit. :)

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Hard to do with no standard and new boots every year.

 

So is it a boot or a crampon issue?

 

Seems to me that if you buy a ski boot it fits a ski binding because the whole thing is standardized. Of course, pretty hard to standardize hiking/climbing boots being that people got different feet and boots are used for different purposes. And we can't all be clunking around in a standardized plastic double climbing boot with a moldable inner lining. So my understanding of the dilemma is that crampon manufacturers make "one size fits most" which we all know means they don't fit many boots perfectly.

 

A partial solution would be that any given crampon manufacturer makes multiple toe bails etc. So you can buy a Sabretooth with a narrow bail suited for a Trango, or a wider bail for suited for an Inverno.

 

Another issue is width of the crampon. I don't own as many sets as you do Dane, so I don't have a lot of data. But most have a general width. I have seen some that flat out cannot fit small women's boots, and some that have too narrow of tabs to work on larger mens boots. Does this sell more crampons? Dunno, but my guess is if you are a woman who wears a size 36 Trango you are not buying the versions that are too wide. And I know I don't buy crampons where the narrow tabs cause unnatural fit on my 45.5 boots.

 

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A partial solution would be that any given crampon manufacturer makes multiple toe bails etc.

 

Most do. But they don't come standard with the crampon.

I have had good luck with the MEC member services desk being able to go through bails in the parts room until they find which bail for that crampon fits. That said I've been using the same pair of M10s for going on 10 years now.

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"Most do" ??!!

 

Far as I know Grivel (two now with the G20) but Petzl (two bails only if you count the ski boot bail) and BD make one bail currently.

 

I think you are mistaken on that one Drew.

 

No size options that I know of without using someone else's bail.

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let me play devil's advocate...

 

who cares as long as they don't fall off on lead and don't rattle around enough to notice?

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BD Cyborg SS + Mammut Thermo sz 43. toe bail is in 2nd set of holes and centre bar is at position "4", they seem to fit very nicely, took a little fine-tuning but no wiggle at all.

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Great thread....

I've done plenty of hammering on toe bails over time to shape them. Is this a bad idea?

 

I also have my rear adjustments on various crampons so tight that I can barely clamp them down.- bad idea?

 

I've done some knife carving in the plastic heel counter of my older Sportiva Carbon Fiber boots. The heel counter of many of the boots seems quite shallow?

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So is it a boot or a crampon issue?

 

Spot on observation. It is actually a boot issue. Crampons can be made to fit every boot but if you change the sole profiles every year no way for the crampon manufactures to keep up.

 

Black Diamond for one has tried to keep the most amount of boots usable with their current bail, for the longest amount of time. The bail hasn't changed in something like 10 years. And they are durable and reliable. All good things. Going to a skinny bail eliminates a lot of older boots. Not going to a skinny bail eliminates a lot of the newer boots. BD will soon be offering two bails as the end result. But the older, wider bail will be an option once it is replaced. BTW I was wrong, not the third version at BD in proto type form now, more like the 10th and close to being released for production.

 

who cares as long as they don't fall off on lead and don't rattle around enough to notice?

 

Notice? I bet every person on this thread would notice the difference and climb better on a perfectly fit pair of crampons as opposed to what you have suggested Mike.

 

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I think mike is suggesting that slight movement in the crampon is not such a bad thing.

 

But I have seen (or rather heard) people climbing with bad fitting crampons. Every kick results in a small rattle (in the center bar I believe) that creeps me out. Even from 40 m away I can hear it.

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"I think mike is suggesting that slight movement in the crampon is not such a bad thing."

 

And I think it's a bad suggestion. Like saying a loose pair of boots, so your foot can move around, is a good thing. Or suggesting sticky rubber is a bad thing. It makes no sense.

 

There is a reason fruit boots have the crampons bolted on.

 

There was a time when knowledgable climbers claimed the "semi rigid" crampon was a better mixed crampon because it flexed and held the rock better. If that were truely the case and not a sales pitch for the day and "semi rigid" which really just means hinged, then fruit boots would have taken a totally different direction.

 

Truth is the more solid your boot/crampon interface, and the less movement there is between them, the easier it is to climb. I doubt you could get any of the crampon manufactures to suggest other wise. Or any of them to tell you they don't want to do it better. They read these threads for insight into their products and customer satisfaction.

 

Poor crampon fit and trying to match the new boots every year has become the elephant in the room inside the industry. No company immune from the differing boot soles. All the crampon manufactures are scrambling to make their products work better.

 

But there are so many boot sizes, profiles and designs to deal with it is no easy task and getting more difficult with every OR show.

 

The idea behind this thread is to make climbers and manufactures aware of just how bad the issue is or isn't. I bet that 50% of the population really has crampons that don't fit well. From five threads running right now my take is I'm not far off.

 

If nothing else we are getting a lot of data points of what combos seem to work and what doesn't.

 

If Ueli Steck can solo le Droites in 2 hrs with one of the worst combos available for fit, it surely proves that the system "works". But few are Ueli Steck. None here. The better the equipment the better most of us will be able to climb. And that is not taking into consideration most of us want our boot crampon combos to last more than 2 hrs. Funny enough that same combo was good enough for a photo shoot but Steck doesn't "really" climb in that combo. He climbs in custom boots that perfectly fit his crampons and feet. As one of Steck's partners who is also a Scarpa rep told me..."those boots don't exist outside the pair on Ueli's feet". Imagine that ;)

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i forgot to add that I removed the aluminum strap attached to the toe bail on my BD's.

 

With the strap in place, the bail did not fit in the front welt of my boots at all. Without the strap, perfect fit.

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"Most do" ??!!

 

Far as I know Grivel (two now with the G20) but Petzl (two bails only if you count the ski boot bail) and BD make one bail currently.

 

I think you are mistaken on that one Drew.

 

No size options that I know of without using someone else's bail.

 

And DMM makes two for the Terminator, wide and ordinary (you have to special order the wide IIRC) so that sounds a lot like "most" rto me with only BD not having multiple options?

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Spot on observation.

 

Thanks.

 

And my data points:

My ice setup is G12 semi with Trango Extreme 45.5.

 

With the boot not on my foot and the strap not fastened I have zero play in the crampon-boot interface. If I was to put the boot on and strap it up and climb some ice I know that I will have some play. Possibly more so as I climb a pitch. With the semis I find myself tightening the strap often to keep fit tight.

 

Just for data I put my wife's Petzl Vasak Spirlock on my Trango Extreme. All fastened up and not on my foot resulted in play. Too much for my taste, although in the past I have climbed mild glacial ice with these crampons and the softer Trango GTX boots.

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Nice try.

 

DMM doesn't mention or offer a option for a front bail on there web site. Just the one bail from DMM according to Lisa Gnade @ Excalibur, Sales Manager DMM via email this morning.

 

Grivel offers one bail, and two different styles of crampons with differing bails that are not suppose to be interchangable. One by design.

 

Petzl offers a climbing bail and a ski boot bail. Good luck getting one to work for the other. Back to one there.

 

BD has one currently but will have two by fall.

 

 

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Its been a long time since I've had a crampon fit issue, but as suggested I think I just beat the toe bail into submission with a hammmer and tightened them up a notch. My main issues have always been with boot fit and fear...or the inability to try on a selection of boots at a local shop....and weakness from not enough consistant time on the ice

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