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 Performance of Step-in vs Strap On Crampons
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Steventy
Advanced Member



2043 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  6:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply to this posting
There is a lot of good info in the archives on crampons and I have read a number of very helpful previous threads. I have two remaining questions.

I plan on using these crampons primarily in Southwest BC. Most often on icy snowfields, but also on a few glaciers.

1)Performance of Step-In Binding vs Modern Strap On
Aside from being a little more convenient to put on and take off, does the step-in binding perform much better? Does it stay on more securely? Allow you to be more aggressive? Reduce strain on your foot?

2) If I go with step-in bindings, will I be annoyed/in-pain at having to wear mountaineering boots on many of the local approaches (Wedgemount Lake or Garabaldi Lake for example.) My feet thanked me when I moved up from day hikers to proper backpacking boots. Will they thank me again if I move up to mountaineering boots?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Cheers,

paulyman
Intermediate Member



543 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  6:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for posting this! I also have the same questions regarding boots and crampons.
quote:
Originally posted by Steventy

There is a lot of good info in the archives on crampons and I have read a number of very helpful previous threads. I have two remaining questions.

I plan on using these crampons primarily in Southwest BC. Most often on icy snowfields, but also on a few glaciers.

1)Performance of Step-In Binding vs Modern Strap On
Aside from being a little more convenient to put on and take off, does the step-in binding perform much better? Does it stay on more securely? Allow you to be more aggressive? Reduce strain on your foot?

2) If I go with step-in bindings, will I be annoyed/in-pain at having to wear mountaineering boots on many of the local approaches (Wedgemount Lake or Garabaldi Lake for example.) My feet thanked me when I moved up from day hikers to proper backpacking boots. Will they thank me again if I move up to mountaineering boots?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Cheers,

ClubTread Supporter

Kid Charlemagne
Senior Member



1366 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  6:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A rigid mountaineering boot and step in crampon seems like overkill for hikes like the ones you mentioned. However, it depends on what your objectives are. If you are going to be mountaineering, you'll want the mountaineering boots and step ins. If you're just hiking, I would stick with strap on crampons. You won't notice any limitations in security/aggressiveness until you are actually climbing in your crampons as opposed to hiking.

Scorpio
Junior Member


North Vancouver
234 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  7:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just Google 'strap-on' and see what comes up...

mtnview
Junior Member


Calgary, Alberta
333 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  7:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I moved up from backpacking boots to mountaineering boota about 5 years ago. Are your backpacking boots the kind with the stiff sole? Mine were, so moving to the stiff sole of the mountaineering boot was not much of a transition.

Keep in mind that boot fit is the most important rather than a specific boot. But with that in mind check out these at MEC, the Scarpa Charmoz ~3 lbs($295), La Sportiva Trango S Evo ~3 lbs ($325) and the Scarpa Escapes ~4 lbs ($275).

I have the Scarpa Charmoz which fit very well with the Grivel Air-Tech New Matic crampons. I also use microspikes on winter scrambles quite a bit. My backpacking boots were a bit over 4 lbs so I like the pound lighter on the feet. You lose some longevity as the vibram soles are a bit stickier and wear a bit faster.

I use my boots year round for hiking and scrambling with only occasional glacier use. Temp range of use has been -15c to +30c but they can be a bit warm in the summer but they still cover enough of a range for me with the tradeoffs in one boot. -15c is the lowest range I would go with these and only on a one day.

I only do one day trips in them so have not done like a winter weekend trip, perhaps someone else on the forum that has done so can comment?

Best regards,
Allan A
http://www.truedino.com

Edited by - mtnview on 02/07/2011 7:12 PM

busguy
New Member


North Vancouver, B.C.
Canada

88 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  7:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm looking at these one's : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uwNCzapxSM&feature=player_embedded

If the strap on versions are this good (and obviously much more flexible with regard to the boots that you can use) I can't see why anyone would get step-ins anymore unless you were expecting to do some serious ice climbing . . .

oplopanax
Junior Member


Squamish, BC
Canada

190 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  8:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have both "step in" and "strap on", for various reasons. However, most modern crampons are a hybrid of both designs.

I use my step-ins with plastic boots, ski boots and rigid mountaineering boots. All of my step-in binding are "hybrid" in that if they have a bail on the front, they also have a strap that goes from the front to the back.

Example,
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442634075&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302691671

(see the metal strap going from the bail to the straps at the back).

This means that if the bail pops off, there is still a chance that the crampon can stay on your foot. The first rule of crampons is that you have to keep them on, or carry a spare!

This design is flexible under foot, but if the boot is stiff, it will perform like a rigid crampon.

For the SAR team we buy the ones that are in the video, which are similar to this:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442630755&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302691671

This design works with most boots, is instantly resizable, and is pretty idiot proof. We carry them in the equipment truck, and issue them to members sometimes. The horizontal front points are good in stiff snow, where the vertical points might cut through, but they still work very well in steep waterfall and glacier ice.

Steventy
Advanced Member



2043 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  8:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks All,

oplopanax: is this the one you get for the SAR team?
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442632338

busguy: Great video. If they can work on Everest I'm sure they will suffice for me!

mtnview: That's interesting. I haven't heard of anyone else using mountaineering boots as their primary boot. These are the ones I am using now. They are great but getting quite worn.
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442632477


mtnview
Junior Member


Calgary, Alberta
333 Posts

 Posted - 02/07/2011 :  9:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steventy



mtnview: That's interesting. I haven't heard of anyone else using mountaineering boots as their primary boot. These are the ones I am using now. They are great but getting quite worn.
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442632477




I believe the Charmoz type boot has become quite popular with scramblers. I see more and more of this type of boot. I see that even day hikers are getting pretty high priced and not too far from the mountaineering boots. Take the popular Salomon Quest 4D GTX ($220). My previous backpacking boots were Alpina Mounts (used for 7 years) which were very stiff would take a bail or newmatic type of crampon. So I was used to hiking on a stiff platform. Since a lot of scrambles in the Rockies have significant off trail portions a stiff platform was good for that, less foot fatigue from the foot bending every which way on the slope.

weedWhacker
Intermediate Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

886 Posts

 Posted - 02/08/2011 :  10:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have used both but I prefer something with a strap. I have not noticed any difference in performance but the strap reduces the possibility of a crampon flexing off. And when things begin to go pear shaped, as they often do on steep ice, you dont want to have to worry about popping a crampon.

It is a bit like rock climbing - you don't replace a rope because of its age, you replace it because you are afraid to use it anymore.

oplopanax
Junior Member


Squamish, BC
Canada

190 Posts

 Posted - 02/08/2011 :  11:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steventy

Thanks All,

oplopanax: is this the one you get for the SAR team?
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442632338




That design, didn't have the stainless ones last time we did the buy.
ClubTread Supporter

Dru
Mountain Grammar Police

Sardonic sandbagging scoundrel, Cascade Climbers lobotomized spraymeister, space blanket flyer, new millennium vulgarian betaboy and friend to all squids

Climbing, a mountain
Canada

∞ Posts

 Posted - 02/08/2011 :  11:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Step in (clip) is faster on and off, and slightly more secure in theory (but not in practice). It also requires full front and rear compatibility on boots. Toe bails can be finicky. A lot of users report problems getting the crampon they buy to fit on their boot without a lot of work trying different bails from different manufacturers. It really only works with full-shank boots.

Strap-on fits a wider range of boots and is more adjustable to different boots. Strap-on tends to have a tiny bit of less precise fit leading to some discernable foot movement, more tiring and less precision when frontpointing on vertical ice.

Bottom line? If you are climbing technical, vertical ice, WI4 and up you should get step-in.

If you are mountaineering, including climbing mixed snow, rock and ice, or water ice WI2-WI3, you can get away with either but there's no reason not to get strap-on.

As to boots, the only reason to get a super stiff mountaineering boot with a full shank and no flex is for stepkicking in hard snow or for climbing vertical ice. With anything else, a lighter boot with a half shank or 3/4 shank will suffice, offer better scrambling and rock climbing performance, and will be more comfortable too.

Edited by - Dru on 02/08/2011 12:01 PM

swebster
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1361 Posts

 Posted - 02/08/2011 :  1:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just have a pair of each type (strap on, step in, rear-bail-only) and I'm good to go for whatever tickles my fancy that weekend!

Just get something that fits your boots well. Not all crampons fit all boots well (regardless of attachment compatibility).

Steventy
Advanced Member



2043 Posts

 Posted - 02/10/2011 :  6:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you all. This was very helpful. We went with the strap models.

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