Well, it’s a wild ride down here at the Summer Outdoor Retailer in SLC once again and I’m very busy with appointments for the shop. There are a record number of both vendors and retailers attending this year’s show and it’s quite crowded and hectic as usual.
CAMP Race 290 tech-compatible crampons.
Click all photos for larger image.
Since most companies are showing summer product for 2012, thereâ€™s not a whole lot of skiing specific things to see, or at least things that are worth my time to talk about right now. Regardless, I did learn about some really great things coming down the road from Black Diamond for 2012, but unfortunately I need to stay pretty tight lipped about them for at least a few more months. Non-the-less, I know you will be psyched to hear about themâ€¦.trust me. One very unique item that I saw at the CAMP booth (it was actually shown at the last winter show, not sure how I missed it) is a new, tech-binding compatible crampon called the Race 290.
Yeah, itâ€™s just another uber-light aluminum crampon, but there are two big things that make it different and quite interesting. First off, the heel bail that you find on most step-in crampons has been replaced by a piece of metal that has two pins that clip into the heel of your tech-compatible AT boots. After placing your toe into the toe bail of the crampons, all you do is step down onto the back of the crampon and click in., much like you would with your bindings. It also folds down to allow for a nice tight package when you are storing them in your pack.
The other thing that makes these crampons very different is the Dyneema webbing that replaces the rigid bar that connects the front and rear section of the crampons. It varies in length by loosening some screws and adjusting the webbing to match the sole length of you boots. Not only does this provide a reduction of weight (about 60 grams, compared to its rigid bar and normal bail counter part, the Tour 350), but also adds even more packability to the spikes. Very slick indeed!!!
I’ve been trying to decide what I wanted to get for a lightweight pair of crampons (when I don’t want to drag the G12s around for whatever reason) and was probably going to get something from CAMP, but this seals it. Light AND packs tiny? Sold.
I like the thought, but I’m of the school of thought that says, if I need crampons, I’ll just take the big steel fangs and be totally certain I can kick in.
I don’t know Scott…I’ve been realy happy with my BD Neve aluminum crampons and have climbed ice (delicately) with them as well.
mike…these CAMP spikes should be available this year for i think $180.
How do the crampons release?
good question ryan. i believe the plate that has the pins is semi-flexible and a tight ankle strap some what holds it in place when you are in the crampon. unclip the strap, pull backwards and the plate flexes enough to step out. since the strap is quite important in these crampons, the left and right crampons are two different colors, grey and orange, to help make sure the straps are oriented correctly on each foot. the bar that sticks up on the back of the crampon keeps your boot in place when you are in it and prevents the boot from moving backward and flexing the plate with the pins if the strap loosens inadvertently.
gotcha…so the pins must have some sort of flexibility to them as well, where they’re mounted to the metal? looks like a cool design…but not sure if i want to give up the rigid center bar and heel bail just yet…
I think the cut-out section in the plate allows the pins to flex outward a bit.
these spikes look great, but one might want to use them mainly for racing (like it eludes to in the name) and lighter duty skimo. i’m not saying they aren’t trustworthy, but as with most uber-light gear, long term durability might be a concern when used day in and day out.
Often I put on my crampons before getting to ice, when the snow is still soft (in winter snow). I wonder how easy is to step in them without a solid platform.
i bet you can put them on similarly to how you take them off…by pulling on the strap. cleaning out the snow/dirt/ice in the rear tech-fittings in your boot probably makes it easier.