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- Subject: [pct-l] crampons
- From: email@example.com (Svein Eriksen)
- Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 23:23:22 -0800 (PST)
Before hiking in 98 I asked a similar question. Why
not use crampons? I'd think that it would be better
not to fall than to self arrest. I bought a pair of
small crampons (I think instep cramposn is the enlish
name for them) that I actually could fasten to my
sneakers. Kept them in the driftbox for a while, but
went with an ice axe in stead. I also did a flip-flop,
so I didn't go thru the Sierrras until September, but
got a lot of snow in Washington in stead.
The main reason for never using the crampons were that
the snow is usually so soft that you can easily make a
steps just by kicking in even with sneakers. My
crampons also wasn't stable enough on sneakers that I
would trust them 100%. There are better solutions now
though. Backpacker magazine did a review some time ago
(during the last year I believe) of at least one pair
that seemed to be made for use with lightweight
There's also a lot more hassle putting on a pair of
crampons than taking the ice axe off the pack. Another
reason for carying an ice axe is that you don't
necessarily fall because you slip on a patch of ice or
frozen snow. You might simple loose balance because
one or both feet go unexpectedly thru the snow cover.
And a crampon wont help with that. An ice axe will, at
least to some extent as it gives you a third "contact
point" with the ground ang give you better balance.
And of course you can self arrest.
Still, I can't give you an exact conclusion. I felt
the need for an ice axe (or crampons) only once during
my whole trip. That was near Idyllwild on a pretty
steep slope with completely frozen snow, and I didn't
have either. Got thru, but one situation is really
enough if something goes wrong. So my reccomendation.
Bring an ice axe, no crampons unless you feel very
unsafe on snow.
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