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Newman55

Ice Climbing Crampons! Mono or dual-point?

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Just looking for input from the community.

 

Looking at getting into ice climbing and curious about crampons.

 

I'm specifically interested in the advantages/disadvantages of mono or dual point setups (up front).

 

Interested in personal opinions/experiences (i know you'll give these anyways) as well as links to other resources concerning the topic.

 

Thanks all!

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BD stingers are sweet, both in how they climb and how cool you look with green antibots on the soles of your feet.

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I think you'll be hard-pressed to find entry level ice climbs in the pnw (or anywhere else imho) that require anything more than horizontal front points.

 

I agree - it may take a few years before you would find the need to go with mono points.

 

Lots of good info in Craig Luebben's book 'How to Ice Climb'.

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I think you'll be hard-pressed to find entry level ice climbs in the pnw (or anywhere else imho) that require anything more than horizontal front points.

 

I agree - it may take a few years before you would find the need to go with mono points.

 

Lots of good info in Craig Luebben's book 'How to Ice Climb'.

 

I climbed ice for the first time this past weekend in Hyalite Canyon at the Bozeman Ice Fest. I was wearing Grivel G10s (horizontal front points)on my backpacking boots. I only own a pair of BD Contact Crampons which would be comparable to the G10s... Was thinking the monopoints looked a heck of a lot easier to use, and was also thinking a more secure binding would be preferred.

 

 

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I climbed ice for the first time this past weekend in Hyalite Canyon at the Bozeman Ice Fest. I was wearing Grivel G10s (horizontal front points)on my backpacking boots. I only own a pair of BD Contact Crampons which would be comparable to the G10s... Was thinking the monopoints looked a heck of a lot easier to use, and was also thinking a more secure binding would be preferred.

 

 

Congrats on getting out! The binding may be the issue. The stiffness of the boot may also be a problem. Next time you are in REI (or other gear store) get your hands on a pair of LaSpotiva Nepals/ Trango Extremes or Scarpa Phantoms and see how stiff they are compared to your hiking boots. (I clearly have no idea what your hiking boots are like, but I'd be willing to wager a buck they are no where near as stiff as the above boots)

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A boot with a RIGID sole will make more difference than a new pair of crampons. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover what your Contacts will do when you mount them on a real ice-boot...

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BD stingers are sweet, both in how they climb and how cool you look with green antibots on the soles of your feet.

gotta agree. I went from beat up g 12's to the stinger. Couldn't have been a bigger difference and I couldn't be happier with the Stingers.

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Mono points are for delicate ice structures, where you're more placing rather than kicking, or mixed climbing.

 

I prefer dual points for alpine ice no question, and most water ice. Extra security, less sensitivity.

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monos all the way, if one point is shearing out two points will as well, plus the BD crampons have little secondary points that provide extra stability in soft, mushy ice. I find that I get more shattering and have to give the ice an extra kick or two when using dual points. Plus, monos allow you to pivot your foot without shearing out. Even another bonus, they're lighter!

 

You might want to get someones opinion who actually climbs a lot of alpine ice if you're envisioning an AK trip or something. I've never been but I have aspirations and I will be taking monopoints. I simul soloed a 100 foot serac wall with my basque friend in the waddington range this summer (we go up! dis is fantastique!) and my monos neither sheared or even slipped once.

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Hi Newman55 & All Others,

 

By far and away I am not the most experienced, but I have ice climbed (mostly technical, some alpine) with some regularity over the years. I have used several different crampon configurations, starting with the old Chouinard/Selawa of the 1970s--horizonal front points, vertical front points, dual front points, trident front points, shovelpoints, monopoints, with supplemental secondary front points, without supplemental secondary front points--all over the years. What I really have found is "it depends." In other words, what you use depends on what you are doing and on conditions. If you ice climb for long enough you will find there are times when a monopoint is preferrable, and other times when another configuration is preferrable. I am a fairly conservative climber (some might go further and just say "coward" :-) ), so I am not leading super delicate, technical, thin, and fragile ice, and thus I find that most of the time dual vertically oriented front points with secondary points and no spurs works fine even if it is vertical sustained ice--i.e., what I might call a dependable "work horse" configuration crampon. To keep costs under control over the years I have gone to places like Switching Places in Canmore and purchased old pairs which I then part out to come up with alternate custom configurations. Sometimes (if weight and theft is not an issue) I will pack to the base of a climb an alternate pair of crampons--then I judge conditions right on the spot and select what seems optimal. I do that with gloves too--thin, not so thin, thick--I pick the glove combination which gives me the optimal dexterity and warmth for the conditions that day--some climbs are bone dry, others are a cold shower, etc. So in sum today I own several different pairs of technical crampons--every one of which I have modified just a bit, or in some cases a lot (welding, drilling holes to accomodate nuts, bolts and points from another manufacturer, custom cutting spanners, filing things, etc.). I would encourage you to just experiment in the field (on TR if need be) or go to a place like the Junkyards outside Canmore and solo on easy ground for a day. Try one crampon on one boot, another configuration on the other boot, modify things, try again, etc. If right now all you have is one pair of crampons, then okay, I understand. But that will change if you get into ice more. I would keep an open mind and with time and mileage on ice you will find what works best for you. I am still doing that today and I am an old, old, old dog.

 

Cheers and safe climbing to all,

Bob Loomis, Spokane, WA.

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monos all the way, if one point is shearing out two points will as well

 

Not always. Two points will distribute the weight the better than one. Thus more often than not you will not shear out.

 

You might want to get someones opinion who actually climbs a lot of alpine ice if you're envisioning an AK trip or something. I've never been but I have aspirations and I will be taking mono points.

 

For alpine ice, dual points is far better as here again the weight is more distributed which is easier on the feet. They are also more stable which is helpful as when alpine climbing you will more than likely have a pack weighting you down. I would never consider taking a pair of mono points to AK. For that matter I used a pair of old Coonyard rigids which a friend used the same (not the exact same ones) 20 years before. The seemed to get us up the Cassin just fine.

 

 

To the OP - mono points have their place but are some what specialized. Find yourself a good pair of dual points and then you will at least limit the discussion to vertical or horizontal points.

 

 

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With most modern crampons you can set them up as offset dual (one point longer than the other) which gives some of the the advantage of mono for mixed but the stability of dual for ice. I like the longer point on the inside (under my big toe) but there are some conditions when having it on the outside can actually be better. To some extent it matters if you are duck-toed (feet point out) or pigeon-toed (feet point in)

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Monos rock for mixed climbing. You can climb with them more like rock shoes (with the point being your big toe) than other crampons. How much that matters to you is your own call. Duals are better overall crampons as they do have less shearing through soft/sun-bleached ice. A rigid boot makes more of a difference and there are plenty of folks out there getting up WI6 or M8 with a pair of Sabertooths. If you're starting, a modular crampon (like the BD Cyborg or Grivel G14) will let you test out both mono and duals without breaking the bank. The weight savings aren't that great and won't matter until your technique improves. Good luck and have fun out there!

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Newman55 - Good information and lots of ways to go.

Kudos to Bob Loomis - he hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

It's like a lot of sports, as you increase your level of experience and type of climbing, one needs to get shoe specific (unfortunately).

Speaking of junkyards, one of my buddies learned Ice climbing using old "MSR's" and a REI Mtn Axe in the Army Mountain Rangers in Alaska - all sharpened of course.

Looking ahead - don't buy too many crampons with all of this global warming and shrinking glaciers.

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A boot with a RIGID sole will make more difference than a new pair of crampons. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover what your Contacts will do when you mount them on a real ice-boot...

 

So just to clarify, I was wearing Scarpa SL M3s. That is about as burly a boot as you can get that wouldn't be considered a mountaineering boot I guess. The Vibram M3s are pretty rigid. Definitely not on the level of the Phantom or Mont Blanc from Scarpa - that I understand.

 

I had actually brought a pair of rented plastic boots from REI (Scarpa Invernos). But I had decided to make the approach (two hour hike uphill in deep snow) in my M3s because I trust them and didn't want to start the day with blisters from a rented boot. When we arrived at the base of the route, it was about 20 degrees, and we were all cold and I didn't want to bother changing boots to the Invernos even though I'd carried the damn things all the way up in my pack.

 

So I climbed in the M3s, and the G10s, because those were the only crampons we had that were compatible with my boots.

 

I don't mind picking up a new pair of crampons to support the new hobby. I plan to buy a pair of rigid mountaineering boots anyways for future exploits up the volcanoes (note: the M3s got me to and up Glacier Peak just fine). I just wanted to feel out what the community thought of these options.

 

Thanks to everyone for all the info! It's very helpful - as all responses to CC posts, absolute lack of consensus : )

 

 

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where'd you go? Twin falls? I heard there was group that ended up missing the trail and floundering through the woods for a good part of the day on Friday. I hope that wasn't you!

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where'd you go? Twin falls? I heard there was group that ended up missing the trail and floundering through the woods for a good part of the day on Friday. I hope that wasn't you!

 

That was me, actually. And by "good part of the day", I think you mean 6 hours, which was essentially the entire clinic (after half an hour waiting for one person who was late and one person who never showed up). It's true that conditions were challenging, I probably would not have done better myself (in fact, I walk around in the woods all day in order to not ice climb all the time), and you can't expect guides to do everything for you, etc etc, but I was expecting them to at least get us to the bottom of a climb, so I'm a little annoyed.

 

I did get at least one thing out of the clinic, which was learning the approach to Elevator Shaft so we could climb it on our own the next day. That was fun.

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haha oh man, the unnamed wall is not the way to make it to twin, I can see that route eating up 6 hours. Was there a guide with you or did they just untether you and say: "head in that general direction"?

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where'd you go? Twin falls? I heard there was group that ended up missing the trail and floundering through the woods for a good part of the day on Friday. I hope that wasn't you!

 

That was me, actually. And by "good part of the day", I think you mean 6 hours, which was essentially the entire clinic (after half an hour waiting for one person who was late and one person who never showed up). It's true that conditions were challenging, I probably would not have done better myself (in fact, I walk around in the woods all day in order to not ice climb all the time), and you can't expect guides to do everything for you, etc etc, but I was expecting them to at least get us to the bottom of a climb, so I'm a little annoyed.

 

I did get at least one thing out of the clinic, which was learning the approach to Elevator Shaft so we could climb it on our own the next day. That was fun.

 

Ummm... I think it is a fair expectation for a guide to know where they are taking you. Super lame... I would have asked for a refund.

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where'd you go? Twin falls? I heard there was group that ended up missing the trail and floundering through the woods for a good part of the day on Friday. I hope that wasn't you!

 

I was up at Over-Easy and Curtain Call. I was not with one of the clinics, just with friends.

 

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Ha, yeah, there was totally a guide. Two of them. They were very professional -- I did not hear one "I thought _you_ knew how to get there". I thought about asking for a refund but it was "only" $125 and presumably is going to the Friends of Hyalite fund so I'll just consider it a donation.

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