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Dane

Crampon steel?

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Some might find this entertaining..it's long.

 

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/08/crampon-durability-stainless-or.html

 

"The reason behind this particular blog and its information/opinions offered is simple, losing a crampon on route or having a crampon failure while in use can be serious. Fatally serious. That reality bought me to the obvious...a closer look at the quality of the steel used and different manufacturing techniques."

 

 

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yes it is long.......

 

but the jist is that you are not pleased with stainless crapons? Don't live up to the hype and more susceptible to failure than cromeoly?

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Dane you mainly focus on the Sabertooth and Serac SS crampons and all of the failures or "issues" I've seen have dealt only with those models. Do you think the design differences on the SS Cyborg seem to protect them from the same failure modes? I don't get enough hard mileage on them to be all that concerned...but the thought has crossed my mind at a few...uh...key...moments. =)

 

Thanks for the blog. Always interesting.

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"Anyone that tells that the failure of current production gear is the fault of your climbing style, boot sole rigidity, or climbing ability is simply ignoring the real issue. The real issue is more likely the following, poor quality materials, lack of quality control and or bad design work by the manufacture."

 

I had this experience about 8 years ago when a toe bail on a pair of crampons broke while leading an ice climb. When I called up customer service, their first question was concerning what I was doing to *abuse* the crampon. The rep that I spoke to refused to acknowledge that the failure was even possibly the fault of the company. (And yes, I understand that the rep would not have exposed the company to liability by making a statement of culpability on the phone.) In his eyes, it could only have been my responsibility or fault for the failure. They almost refused to take them back as a warranty issue. Only after I impressed upon them that my safety was greatly compromised by this equipment failure did they take the crampon back. This left me with a deeply soured impression of the company as a whole.

 

My point is that I believe that it is absolutely crucial that companies which produce climbing gear be entirely forthright regarding their knowledge of their gear, its limitations, and their responsibilities regarding its manufacture and marketing. Thanks, Dane, for offering your perspective on the issue.

 

Jonathan

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I've got no professional background in this but when BD came out with the SS stuff, having just bought some 09 sabertooths (chromoly) -- I was like oi.. dang oh.. but it didn't take much research to determine half the 'pluses' raised about SS vs Chromoly as BD portrays them were just marketing buzz. I relaxed after I could tell there was no revolution nor even clear evolution of the new version.

 

i applaud your effort and the empirical and professional background you bring to examining it closely and really giving a solid take on it. What will be interesting if BD goes back to chromoly ever, the current youtube vid (like the one you linked) will be some hilarious laughing fodder (though I'm sure they will find a revolution in the return to a 'special' chromoly).

 

What say you with innovation and design evolution of gear over decades, any far out views on some metal or process that isn't currently at hand due to cost or difficulty? just curious if you were at the development helm without any strings, what would you look into?

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Thanks Dane...very informative. I just wish I had seen this before I bought my Cyborgs! Perhaps I can find a kitchen use for them...meat tenderizer?

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Totally off topic, but Simond steel is the best. Apparently they get the pick of the litter from the stock before the petzl folks? (3rd hand info). I guess that makes Charlet the 2nd best. Grivel steel smears and bites fairly well but is inferior in my humble opinion.

Edited by Jens

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Interesting comment Jens. Last winter while I was in Les Houches/Chamonix, where Simond is located, I was told that Simond had been sold.

 

Turns out that was totally untrue. I just had an email exchange with them and see the web site has been updated and hard goods are still show cased.

 

As far as the steel used in tools? No one gets the "pick of the litter". Every company..here and in the EU...simply orders the specific steel alloy required and it gets delivered. No magic there. The alloy you decide to use, how it is forged (or not forged here in the USA) and heat treated is the real magic.

 

How you define "the best" is up to you.

Edited by Dane

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JFS?

 

"the thought has crossed my mind at a few...uh...key...moments."

 

For what it costs, and what we risk, why would anyone ever climb on gear you have to question?

 

 

 

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No wonder they are having problems

 

P1030896.JPG

 

between the poor choice of material and poor manufacturing it's no wonder these things are a failure waiting to happen.

 

I have another question, are these things made in China like their cams?

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JFS?

 

"the thought has crossed my mind at a few...uh...key...moments."

 

For what it costs, and what we risk, why would anyone ever climb on gear you have to question?

No argument here.

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While BD makes plenty of cool and innovative gear that we all use they seem to have a long history of recalls associated with new designs. I'm definitely a bit skeptical of anything truely new they bring out, seems like it's always best to wait for v2.

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"they seem to have a long history of recalls associated with new designs"

 

I wasn't intending a BD bash in my comments. I think you can easily apply dberdinka's comment to any of the climbing hardware manufactures.

 

The real issue is to be aware of what is happening in the industry and be able to make informed choices.

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Interesting comment Jens. Last winter while I was in Les Houches/Chamonix, where Simond is located, I was told by several local industry insiders that Simond had been sold and would no longer be producing hard goods.

 

Back in March one of the guys at Snell told me that Simond products are now going to be sold under the Cassin (I think) name. I don't recall whether that referred to hardgoods, softgoods, or both. It's been a while so my memory is hazy.

Edited by Jon H

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Nah, that's not what he told you, Jon. Camp and Cassin are now one, and the CAMP tool designs are being sold under the Cassin name.

 

You're absolutely right. Too many Euro names to keep track of. Like I said, my memory is hazy :)

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Has anybody ever used Simond crampons - according to their website for their Vampire crampons : Simond Vampire they use cromoly steel for the frame, but stainless steel for the frontpoints.

Every time I've looked at Simond's current technical gear I've thought it was outdated and basically crappy. No exception here. Anybody have any anecdotes on how these perform - durability issues?

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Here is something else that I think needs to be added to the conversation.

 

Easy to get side tracked on the real issue here, with comments like, "it is your boot, your skill, your body weight, your technique" or now even "the rock".

 

I've never encountered anything as abrasive as Chamonix alpine granite

 

Ya, about that Chamonix granite? I bought a new pair of Dartwins while in Chamonix. I used them on every mixed climb I did there last winter but the two laps mentioned on the Cosmic with SS.

 

The climbing amounted to several 1000' feet including, you guessed it, two additional laps on the Cosmic.

 

Never sharpened and untouched since I got home in April. Judge for yourself how much life is still in these forged, chromoly front points. For me at least another full winter season (2+ months) in Chamonix again.

 

P1030910.JPG

 

No question Chamonix is hard on gear but I suspect it is because you get to climb mixed any given day if you chose, not that the rock is any harder or more abrasive than granite in Alaska or the Tetons for example. It is just easier to get to and get on.

 

If you keep track (and I obviously do) I also find it interesting that the companies based around Chamonix don't have recent issues breaking picks or the more recent issue of crampon failures.

 

And finally. I could have included these Dartwins in my "crampon metal" comments. I didn't because of several reasons. First, the design is totally different as is the surface area contacting the rock.

 

But if you look closely and actually examine the surface area between the two crampon styles there is a stark difference on what is really available for material to prolong the life of your crampons. Kinda remnds me of a razor blade and an axe in profile. Which is why I didn't add the Dartwin or any vertical front point crmapon to the original conversation.

 

P1030911.JPG

 

P1030912.JPG

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Every time I've looked at Simond's current technical gear I've thought it was outdated and basically crappy.

 

"Looked at" being the operative words - as opposed to 'used'.

 

Busted.

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17-4 if used in the above statement for their crampons is a crappy material to make a wear component out of. Its soft with poor wear characteristics.

 

If you want wear resistance DO NOT use Stainless steel of ANY type, period.

 

Any Chromolly steel or Vanadium bearing steel will be far superior. Don't waste your money on crappy Stainless Steel crampons. Unless of course you like buying crampons sooner.

 

Any high end steel will outperform ALL types of stainless steel for wear. Only reason they are trying to use SS in their crampons is because it looks shiny on the shelf so the uninformed buyers will go "OOOOOoooooo, SHINY!"

Edited by Wastral

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