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Ice axe and Crampon info

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Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Gphunk88 » Thu May 23, 2013 2:39 pm

I'm sorta new to the gear side of things and I was wondering if anyone could direct me to some good info on ice axes and crampons as I have yet to purchase and use these. I know the snow is melting but I know I will need them just in case. I would like to try to grab them tomorrow so I can have them (if need be) for the rest of the summer climbing season. I have snowshoes (no fins that go on the back for more floatation however) and microspikes, so the ice axe and crampons are next for me to get. Any info will be greatly appreciated :P Thanks in advance!
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."~~~ John Muir

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu May 23, 2013 2:41 pm

What kind of boots do you have and how tall are you?
Many Miles to Go (Blog)

“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Gphunk88 » Thu May 23, 2013 2:45 pm

My boots are Scarpa Charmoz Mountaineering Boots (size 13) and I am about 6'1". I have gaiters as well along with most of all the necessary gear
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."~~~ John Muir

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Rainier_Wolfcastle » Thu May 23, 2013 3:03 pm

I just have one tip, bring the boots and try the crampons on them. I have Scarpa Mont Blanc size 12's and had to get extenders, which many places don't have in stock.
Shawn D
Broomfield, CO

Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Steve Climber » Thu May 23, 2013 3:03 pm

I am 6'1" with size 12 boot.

I have a pair of Grivel Air Tech crampons. They aren't super durable on mixed routes as they are aluminum, but they are ridiculously light and work as well as I've ever needed them to in hard snow, soft ice. I made new flex plates for them at work to stiffen them up slightly and to fit my boots (Danner 12). I'm not sure about Charmoz fit, but I would guess longer plates would be needed.

I also have a BD Raven (85cm) axe. It's stupid long and can be cumbersome to pack at times, but I love carrying it on mixed routes for longer reach. AND plunging it while descending is very much nicer than hunching with a shorter axe.

My .02...hope it helps

Cheers!
Sam
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu May 23, 2013 3:04 pm

A hybrid crampon would work best for those boots. Grivel calls their version "New-Matic," for Petzl its "Lever-Lock." It just means there's a heel lever in the back but a standard strap system with a plastic toe-gate in the front. They're a bit more expensive than true entry-level crampons, but the Grivel G-12 New-Matic, the Black Diamond Sabertooth and the Petzl Vasak Lever-Lock are kind of the staples. These are all well-rounded crampons, equally at home in couloirs, on glaciers and front-pointing vertical ice. Figure out which one fits your boots best and go for it. Note, with a size 13 boot you'll likely need an extender bar.

However, if all you want to do is walk around on snow and kick an occasional step on a moderate couloir, you'd be fine saving money and getting something like the Black Diamond Contact Strap.

The spike of a general mountaineering ice ax should come down to about your ankle bone when held in self-arrest position with your arms hanging at your sides. For your height, I'd guess that means 70-75cm. If you plan on doing much steep snow climbing, going a little shorter isn't a bad idea. Don't overthink your first piolet -- you won't be able to tell much of a difference. It's more about knowing how to use it. (Insert penis joke here.) Walk into REI, see which brand feels the most comfortable in your hand, choose the right length and swipe your credit card.

Good luck! An ice ax and crampons are the gateway to real mountaineering.
Many Miles to Go (Blog)

“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Gphunk88 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:22 pm

"Ask and ye shall receive!" hahaha awesome guys thanks for the info and input. Like I said I'm gonna go do some shopping around tomorrow at REI or elsewhere. I would love to get all this in time to try out at least a couple "starter couloirs" this season... but seeing as how I have never done one, I would need guidance on my first trip. Once I get them if there are any couloir trips planned I would love to try and tag along :-D been looking forward to this part of climbing for awhile now haha I recently got into rock climbing as well but I got a ways to go before I'm good/comfortable at that lol lol
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."~~~ John Muir

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby TomPierce » Thu May 23, 2013 3:40 pm

I have a Grivel Air Tech Evo axe, very very lightly used, 66cm, that I would be happy to bestow on you. It's a t-rated shaft, very nice mountaineering axe. Personally I think it's about right for you; you need an axe when it's steep enough for you to fall and slide, so a longer walking style axe may not be necessary. Just an idea, let me know if you're interested.
-Tom

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Gphunk88 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:49 pm

Yes I will definitely check that out! Thanks. PM me or I'll send you one and we can try to work something out.

-Josh
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."~~~ John Muir

Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Steve Climber » Thu May 23, 2013 3:53 pm

Gphunk88 wrote:"Ask and ye shall receive!" hahaha awesome guys thanks for the info and input. Like I said I'm gonna go do some shopping around tomorrow at REI or elsewhere. I would love to get all this in time to try out at least a couple "starter couloirs" this season... but seeing as how I have never done one, I would need guidance on my first trip. Once I get them if there are any couloir trips planned I would love to try and tag along :-D been looking forward to this part of climbing for awhile now haha I recently got into rock climbing as well but I got a ways to go before I'm good/comfortable at that lol lol


I might head to St. Marys glacier and practice falling down before getting into any couloirs. Self arrest is the main reason you will be carrying the axe in the first place, so do what you can to get proficient at it. Even "starter" couloirs can give you problems if you don't have good technique. If you are set on a couloir, try to find one that is wider, low angle, has a reasonable runout at the bottom (no cliffs, trees, minimal rocks, etc...) Angel of Shavano is one of the better mild couloirs I've seen and would be good first ascent IMO. Cristo on Quandary is another reasonable 1st snow climb.
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Ice axe and Crampon info

Postby Gphunk88 » Thu May 23, 2013 4:02 pm

Sounds like a perfect plan for me and thanks of the tip. I was just thinking of places to go practice falling and I don't know how I didn't think of St. Mary's lol. Once I get these purchased that will be the first place I head to
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."~~~ John Muir

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