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Crampon tuning

Petzl Dart. In many ways a polar opposite of Grivel Rambo 4. Very light and reportedly highly sensitive due to horizontal and minimal frame. Configuration of secondary points seems very good, although it has no smaller additional point between frontpoint and outside secondary point. Furthermore, secondary points could benefir from being a tad longer and facing outwards. Also, points facing backwards woulkd work better for hooking if they were polaced further to the back (or maybe those backmost orange points could have similar shape than the back part of secondary point). Credit: Petzl promo photo.
Petzl Dart. In many ways a polar opposite of Grivel Rambo 4. Very light and reportedly highly sensitive due to horizontal and minimal frame. Configuration of secondary points seems very good, although it has no smaller additional point between frontpoint and outside secondary point. Furthermore, secondary points could benefir from being a tad longer and facing outwards. Also, points facing backwards woulkd work better for hooking if they were polaced further to the back (or maybe those backmost orange points could have similar shape than the back part of secondary point). Credit: Petzl promo photo.

I was planning on replacing the heel lever of my Darts and Lynxes with Grivel one, as it has the attachment strap in the top whereas Petzl level has it at the bottom. Grivel placement has two advantages: it is more secure and the lever is easier to open.

As for the security, the lever cannot open when the strap is closer, as its position makes it physically impossible for the lever to open. This is not a biggie in my book, as the lever of Petzl crampons has never opened accidentally on me; neither have I ever seen it open for anyone else. I have however read of that happening. As for the opening part, Grivel lever is dead simple to open by simply pulling on the straps, while Petzl one needs to be pressed open. Like mentioned before, neither one of those are big issues, but as the function can be made better with no penalty, there's no reason to do so.

Unfortunately the switch doesn't really work as the bail of the lever is longer in Petzl design. Effectively this means that you would have to make the crampon too long in order for the Grivel lever to work. Additionally, Grivel bail is somewhat thicker, which causes it not to work too well with Petzl crampon. So basically you would have to switch the whole back part. Unfortunaly I don't have Grivel back parts lying around anymore. You can't replace just the lever either, as Grivel design is such, that the bail doesn't easily come apart. BD levers would also have strap at the top, but I don't have any of their crampons, so can't comment whether that would work on Petzl crampons. I've read that they can be fitted, but then again I also read the same regarding the Grivel lever.

While I was trying the mod, I also compared the crampons. One thing I like about the Petzl DartPetzlDarthttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/dart_2.jpgThe DART is the crampon for extreme mixed and ice climbing. The mono-point is designed to displace less ice and make for precise placements on micro-edges. The third row of points is angled towards the rear for hooking in steep terrain or around ice columns. Ultra-lightweight. is that their secondary points are placed more forward than those of Grivel Rambo 4GrivelRambo 4http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/15/binding_0/15_l.jpgOur range’s most technical crampon is now at its fourth evolution, integrating Grivel’s active anti-balling plate and simplifying all adjustments: just one screw to adjust the length, just one screw to substitute a point, just one screw to position the spur. Rigid crampon with anatomic curve. Asymmetrical forged mono-point, extremely easy to substitute with just one screw, integrated with a half point external lateral support point: a new solution for external support. Structure in rigid plastic acts as a spacer for the screws and as support for the supple rubber anti-balling device. Accordeon in supple rubber holds together the front and rear parts of the anti balling system. Four retention points for descent. Moveable spur. Completely patented. 's. Even if I have replaced the front bail with the one taken from old Rambo 2. It is somewhat longer than the bail of Rambo IV, therefore I placed it furthest to the back, whereas I used the original bail in the middle hole. I believe this evens out the lack of additional tertiary point in Petzl design.

On another note, Dart feel stickier and more secure than Petzl LynxPetzlLynxhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/lynx_1.jpgFrom snow couloirs to dry tooling, the LYNX is a versatile crampon. Modular front points allow for many options: dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical. They come with two types of interchangeable front bindings to adapt to boots with or without toe welts.. Apparent reason is not obvious, as the location of the secondary points appears to be damn near identical. Possibly this could at least partially be due to failed front point system of the Lynx as the front point wiggles around unless the screw is very tight. Which it won't stay for very long, as it tends to loosen eagerly. The issue is made worse by back retention mechanism of Lynx front points, which allows the point to wiggle sideways.

I've seen a pair of Lynxes modded with additional small point to offer more stability. This is done to mimick the additional point of Grivel Rambo IV. It was done simply by adding another front point, which was modded heavily to be half as long as the original. Reportedly it adds stability and works well, despite it being a bit too close to the front point.

The reasoning behind this is to mimick the stability gains of conventional twin front points without the down sides. All things being equal, twin front points are more stable on pure ice, no questions about that. However, it is not the whole story, as monopoint penetrates the ice better, which makes it easier to plant it deeper, particularly in pick holes. Monos have other advantages as well. On pure ice, the second front point has a tendency to lever the crampon out of ice, when you twist your foot sideways. Which is unfortunately pretty much unavoidable when topping on bulges. On mixed ground, monos are generally far better as they go readily in cracks on rock almost like pitons. Therefore you can often get a very good foothold where you would have basically nothing with twin points.

In order for such tertiary points to fulfill their purpose, they need to be placed far enough from the front point. Too close, and they hinder the penetration in ice. This not ideal in the modded Lynx, as it ends ups a bit too close. It also needs to be long enough to have any noticeable effect. Black Diamond StingerBlack DiamondStingerhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1374905101088/products/ice_alpine/400029_stinger_web.jpg?sw=472Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight. and Grivel G14GrivelG14An evolution of the species. Our G14 crampons combine the technical performance of forged, vertical frontpoints with the low profile, collapsible frame of the G-12 to make an altogether fresh, modular, and customizable crampon suited to many climbing disciplines. Our success and experience with the Rambo crampons reinforces the efficiency of forged points: they penetrate hard ice better, with less vibration, and offer the opportunity to combine vertical and horizontal axis. Front points are simple to configure on the G14, allowing the user to build mono or dual point crampons and replace worn points easily. The low profile of the crampon frame places the climber´s foot closer to rock or ice, and is less prone to balling up. At last, alpine climbing crampons with the technical performance of their ice and modern mixed counterparts. The G14 crampon is delivered with the Antibott included. have too short points imo, so they barely make contact to ice. Best designs in this respect are the aforementioned Grivel Rambo IV and possibly Simond MonocerosSimondMonoceroshttp://www.simond.com/media/min/Monoceros_3253_662x496_img_ori.jpgUltra-lightweight mono-point crampon designed for ice climbing and dry tooling. Asymetric, semi-rigid structure that perfectly matches the curve and shape of your boot, for a more precise bite. Improved rigidity between crampon and boot. 15 points: 11 at the front, 4 under heel. Speed bindings for use on boots with toe and heel welts. Comes with crampon bag and tool. Weight includes anti-balling plates., the latter of which I have never seen in real life.

While talking about the crampons, not much has changed during the recent years, despite all of the best design having some room for improvement. I've not seen Simond Monoceros or heard anything about their performance, so can't really comment on them. Designwise it looks promising though.

  • Grivel Rambo 4GrivelRambo 4http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/15/binding_0/15_l.jpgOur range’s most technical crampon is now at its fourth evolution, integrating Grivel’s active anti-balling plate and simplifying all adjustments: just one screw to adjust the length, just one screw to substitute a point, just one screw to position the spur. Rigid crampon with anatomic curve. Asymmetrical forged mono-point, extremely easy to substitute with just one screw, integrated with a half point external lateral support point: a new solution for external support. Structure in rigid plastic acts as a spacer for the screws and as support for the supple rubber anti-balling device. Accordeon in supple rubber holds together the front and rear parts of the anti balling system. Four retention points for descent. Moveable spur. Completely patented. is heavy and bulky. Aside of that it would benefit from secondary points placed further forward. It is also absolutely the worst crampon to walk in, due to their height caused by vertical frame and lack of bite underfoot when walking (point facing forward and back rather than straight down).
  • Obvious down side of Petzl DartPetzlDarthttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/dart_2.jpgThe DART is the crampon for extreme mixed and ice climbing. The mono-point is designed to displace less ice and make for precise placements on micro-edges. The third row of points is angled towards the rear for hooking in steep terrain or around ice columns. Ultra-lightweight. is their lack of changeable front point. Granted the whole front section can be replaced, however their availability is rather limited and they cost a lot more than front points. This is not as big of a deal as one might think though, as secondary points wear as well which affects the crampons bite. Also, the front point is fairly long to start with, so it can be filed a good bit before it gets too short. They also lack antibot and the point underfoot are fairly scarce, so they are not ideal alpine crampons. Lack of antibot is not as bad with many other crampons though due to minimal area.
  • Petzl LynxPetzlLynxhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/lynx_1.jpgFrom snow couloirs to dry tooling, the LYNX is a versatile crampon. Modular front points allow for many options: dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical. They come with two types of interchangeable front bindings to adapt to boots with or without toe welts. is very good crampon for overall use, however they don't feel as good to climb in as Darts. Also the front point attachment system is far from ideal. I also know of several snapped front bails. Interestingly, I have not heard of that happening with Darts, albeit the front bail looks identical. Perhaps Petzl has been getting bad batch of steel from their supplier.
  • Black Diamond StingerBlack DiamondStingerhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1374905101088/products/ice_alpine/400029_stinger_web.jpg?sw=472Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight. is in many ways similar to Dart but with replaceable front point. Which also makes them heavier. They also wear pretty fast.
  • Never tried the Grivel G20GrivelG20http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/23/binding_0/23_l.jpgThe evolution of the modern technique of climbing ice push towards a more fluid motion, more elegant and faster, therefore it demands a crampon that makes it possible: a technical crampon, and a super-light one. G20 is a crampon 100% technical, reliable, efficient and the LIGHTEST IN THE WORLD: less than 800 grams per pair! The new MONO-RAIL technology (patented) distributes the 12 points in an intelligent and original way. but a mate had them (1st gen). At least that one had the front point in stupid angle (facing out) making them awkward to kick. The design has changed since then though, not sure whether the front point is now in better angle. Furthermore, the mono rail system makes them higher when walking, which in all likelihood will have similar stability issues than the Rambo when walking in rocky terrain but to lesser extent. However, they have few point underwood, which can't be a good thing when walking. I also know of at least pair which had the mono rail snap off.

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