Performance of Step-in vs Strap On Crampons - ClubTread Community
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Performance of Step-in vs Strap On Crampons

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,
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 07:41 PM
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Thanks for posting this! I also have the same questions regarding boots and crampons.
Quote:
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,
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 07:52 PM
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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.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 08:07 PM
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Just Google 'strap-on' and see what comes up...
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 08:09 PM
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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
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 08:19 PM
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I'm looking at these one's : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uwNC...layer_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 . . .
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 09:04 PM
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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_d...34374302691671

(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_d...34374302691671

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.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks All,

oplopanax: is this the one you get for the SAR team?
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...45524442632338

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_d...45524442632477


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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 10:15 PM
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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_d...45524442632477
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.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 11:30 AM
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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.
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