CAMP Race 290 Dynafit-Compatible Crampons (and much more!)


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Just when you thought your lightweight aluminum boot crampons couldn’t get any lighter, along comes CAMP — the source of so much ski mountaineering gear that is figuratively Dynafit-compatible — with a crampon that is literally Dynafit-compatible. Yes, a crampon that, instead of clamping down on the boot’s heel ledge like an alpine downhill binding or hybrid/plate AT binding, inserts into the Dynafit/Tech interface just like a real touring binding does. Clever!

A gaggle of lightweight CAMP gear.

A gaggle of lightweight CAMP gear.

By way of some background, CAMP — which actually stands for “Construzione Articoli Montagna Premana” (articles for mountaineering made in Premana) — produces a full line of mountaineering gear, although only a small selection is available in the U.S. Their most compelling products though from a skier’s perspective are the ultralightweight items, which are especially popular among rando racers. Shown in the picture below are some of my favorites.

At the bottom (in red) is the Corsa Nanotech aluminum ice axe, but with steel inserts in the pick and spike. The weight penalty for the strategically placed steel is trivial, but the performance improvement is noticeable. (As for the sandpaper-like material on the grip and slight curvature to the shaft, I’ve never been quite sure what that’s about on anything other than a technical ice tool, which this is definitely not.)

In the middle of the background is an older version of the XLP 290 (replaced by the XLP 290 Evo, and more recently by the Rapid 260), which although originally designed for rando racing has continued to serve as my favorite pack for outings that are either relatively short or very close to civilization. To the right is the ALP 95 climbing harness: yes, the model name really is its approximate weight (in a size Small, although almost anyone is going to need at least a Medium) and I really have hung in it (reasonably comfortably) for about 10-15 minutes.

The green crampons are the fully clip-on XLC 390 (yes, again pretty much their real-world weight), which are also available (with a small weight penalty) in heel bail + toe strap as well as all-strap versions. The red crampons at the top and bottom of the picture are the XLC Nanotech (shown here in semi-automatic, but also available as fully automatic) with steel inserts at the front points, which are also thereby elongated a bit.

Also shown are a few carabiners, plus an older (in blue) XLA 210 ice axe, since replaced by the ever-so-slightly lighter Corsa (which unfortunately lacks a shaft plug in the very shortest 50cm version). Not shown is the Pulse helmet, which is certified for both skiing and climbing.

And in the picture below are some new arrivals.

Latest CAMP gear

Some of the latest innovative ultralight gear from CAMP

The green 8.5-ounce Speed is the lightest UIAA-certified helmet, so a popular choice among rando racers, and quite comfy too. The 8.9-ounce Crest snow shovel is designed to just barely meet the official rando race requirements. The only other purpose I can think of it would be a little snow play fun with my toddler daughter. It’s that minimal, and also that incapable of doing any damage (as well as any good in an avalanche rescue). For some odd reason the shovel includes a rather full-featured 3-ounce carry bag (which I’m sure will come in handy for other purposes). By contrast with the shovel, the 4.8-ounce carbon fiber probe though is 240cm long and can actually be used for real probing.

The Rapid 260 weighs, well, you can probably guess, and is a very nice (albeit probably not very durable) pack overall (given the inherent limits of its 20-liter capacity), complete with separate boot crampon compartment and quick-attachment ski system. Add another 10 grams for the attachment system to carry your lagging teammate’s skis, and then another 20 grams for the partially stretchy webbing to tow your teammate. (Seriously — this is allowed in team races!) At first I was stumped by a little string that seem to have been left by accident on the sternum strap buckle. But ahh, instead of having to squeeze the little sides to release the buckle, you just yank on the string which in turn opens the buckle — super slick!

The HMS Nitro biner is amazingly light for an HMS biner (although the BD Vaporlock appears to have a 3g edge). The bottle holders allow pretty much any pack to be upgraded to quick water bottle access on your pack straps in front, like with Dynafit packs.

CAMP isn’t well known for its clothing (at least in North America), but the designs are highly innovative. The G Comp Wind are typical soft shell lightweight gloves, but when your fingers briefly get a bit cold, instead of having to dig around in your pack for some overmittens or bulkier gloves, instead you just deploy a basic nylon mitten from the glove’s cuff. (Note the glove sizing runs really tight: I’ve never had to use a glove larger than Medium, but the CAMP Medium is very very tight on me, and I probably should have ordered a Large.) This “WindMit’N” is also available separately for use with other brands of gloves. And of course the mittens weigh only half an ounce (per pair!) and stash away into a pouch so small that you can fit them in your pack’s hip pouches.

The Flash Competition Anorak continues the theme of being in too much of a rush to access your pack. The jacket folds up into a small pouch that is secured with its waist strap. When you’re ready to ski and put on an extra layer, the four-ounce (size Medium) water-resistant jacket goes on without needing to remove your pack, thanks to a cut-out in the pack. The water-resistant Flash Competition pants have a full side zip and weigh in at only 3.8 ounces (size Medium) for those days when you want some back-up for your soft shell pants or race suit, but don’t need full waterproof protection.

With all my CAMP gear, I often find myself wondering how it can possibly be so light? Apparently CAMP is meanwhile wondering how it can be made even lighter! The XLC 390 crampons are a prime example. With a real-world weight of just over 14 ounces, they’ve provided me the secure footing I need to climb anything I’m going to ski, and they attach very securely to my ski boots.

But wait, there’s more — or rather, less, as in, less weight that is. The new Tour 350 crampon drops 40 grams by switching from 12 points to only 10. Then the new Race 290 drops yet another 60 grams. A very nice storage-oriented crampon pouch is included, but the crampons fold small enough to fit in a TSA-approved ziploc bag (although probably not TSA-approved as carry-on luggage).

Tenth-of-an-ounce TSA-approved crampon bag

Tenth-of-an-ounce TSA-approved crampon bag

Crampon attached

Crampon securely attached -- I think...

How? First, a metal connector can still be swapped in, but the spec weight is based on using the Dyneema connector (which also allows the crampons to be folded into themselves for an incredibly small package). Second, instead of the typical heel bail, the rear attachment snaps into the boot’s Dynafit/”Tech” interface.

So how well does this work? I probably won’t be using these “for real” until the spring, and we currently have almost no snow of any kind (after our October powder bonanza — oh the irony!). The user manual does caution though that the front portion of the crampon will not be as stable with the Dyneema connector (as opposed to the optional metal bar). Just playing around with it inside, I do notice a bit more wiggle up front. A very tight and precise length for the Dyneema connector seems to be critical. Fortunately, adjustment is continuous (as opposed to predefined holes as with a metal connector bar). Unfortunately, the user manual also warns of some loosening after the first half hour of use. So my plan is to use it a couple times for some dawn patrols at ski areas (when I could simply be skinning instead, ugh), to get any slack out of the system, then retighten after each practice session. (Retightening in the field would be relatively easy though, although a bit time-consuming. Just loosen up two flathead screws on each connector, pull in the Dyneema a bit, then secure both screws again.)

The Dynafit/”Tech” heel connection seems very secure. Attaching is a bit difficult if you’re just holding the ski boot in your hands (as opposed to wearing the boot), but that’s a concern only for indoor adjustments of course. Undoing the crampon at the heel is very easy, whether with boot on or off.

Now let’s see, what other ultralight gear item could CAMP possibly lighten up next?

[Dec 18 '11 edit/update: As detailed in my various stream-of-consciousness comments, based on the Dynafit TLT5/DyNA (which is probably one of the more difficult sole designs to fit), set up as-is with the Dyneema connectors (I didn’t bother testing the metal bars), the fit is rather loose for general ski mountaineering use (although they always stayed on during my short practice sessions), and probably more well-suited to very straightforward boot ladders at races. (The relatively loose fit is a function of both the maximum achievable tightness of the Dyneema, and the way the rear heel nubbin fits up against the back of the ski boot sole.)
But with just several minutes of work (learned from several hours of testing & sleuthing…), dremmel off the heel’s rear nubbin/stopper, dremmel off ~4mm of the heel pins (plus round off the sharp ends a bit), fiddle with dialing in the correct length of the Dyneema, and the fit is very secure. (This tight fit is a function of both the additional tightness thereby achieved of the Dyneema, and the way the heel "throw" is cradled up against the end of the boot sole.]

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(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)

Comments

85 Responses to “CAMP Race 290 Dynafit-Compatible Crampons (and much more!)”

  1. Peter November 28th, 2011 10:29 am

    Jonathan,

    I managed to reduce the toe wiggle by slightly bending the toe wires, to more closely match the curve of the TLT5 boots. Seems to work fine, but to be honest, I also haven’t had the opportunity to conduct field tests yet.

    Concerning the little bit of sideways wiggle in the heel part, I plan on adding two small screws (with rounded heads) to the side towers, so that the shell of the TLT5 boot fits firmly. The side towers of the crampon are currently dimensioned to fit wider ski boots.

  2. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2011 11:01 am

    Peter, so with the toe bail, is it the vertically oriented parts that you bent slightly inward?

  3. SB November 28th, 2011 11:31 am

    Jonathan,

    The bend in the shaft is still nice for topping out on a cornice or bergshrund, so it isn’t completely useless in a mountaineering oriented tool.

    I find the grip tape useful anytime you use the tool overhead, but I don’t use a leash.

  4. Peter November 28th, 2011 12:21 pm

    Jonathan,

    Kind of – mainly I just made sure that the radius of the toe bail matches the radius of the TLT5 shell at the toe. Reducing the radius automatically causes the vertical parts to slightly bend inwards.

    Regarding the sideways wiggle of the heel part – I haven’t decided yet whether I should experiment with the two afore mentioned screws, or whether I should go with cable ties. We’ll see… There is absolutely no snow in sight here in the Alps, so there is no rush to make a decision.

  5. dmr November 28th, 2011 1:31 pm

    Thanks for the review. CAMP lightweight gear is indeed fantastic.

    As SB stated, the sandpaper on the nano shaft is useful if swinging/using the axe overhead … which I have for the occasional section of mixed climbing (crossing a bergschrund for example).

    I have not used their super lightweight AT specific harnesses, but have used some of their lightest climbing harnesses for both climbing and skiing and like them.

  6. Erik November 28th, 2011 2:04 pm

    I have alot of CAMP products and like most of them alot. I bought these the moment they went public, but don’t really have anything good to say about how they worked. It’s a good idea, but the product has alot of maturing to do before it becomes effective for its intended use. Here is a copy/paste of my backcountry comments…

    “The lateral security of the toe piece was pretty questionable when using the dyneema strap regardless of how much they were tightened. Stability improved with the aluminum center bar, but the tech fitting heel attachment wasn’t as stiff as a traditional cam clamp. With the dyneema they couldn’t pass the carpet test without a lateral blowout, so they aren’t going to mountains with me. Front pointing would probably be ok, but french technique type forces didn’t work. They basically need lateral retainer posts on the toe piece similar to a typical heel retainer tab, as the strap can’t resist torsion like a traditional metal center bar.”

    Waiting for a response from CAMP to see what they have to say about it.

  7. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2011 2:08 pm

    Erik, interesting, but what boots did you use? (The “carpet test” is a pass so far for me with the TLT5, but of course that’s just a start.)

  8. harpo November 28th, 2011 2:09 pm

    I just got the Tour 350 cramp and the Blitz harness from CAMP.

    The Tour 350 saves just over 2oz compared to the XLC 390.

    The Blitz harness is about 100 g heavier than the Alp 95 (my Alp in large weighed 110g). The blitz is full featured with belay and gear loops, might have a haul loop, I didnt check. For glacier travel, I have to attach two extra biners to use as gear loops when using the Alp 95, so if you do that there is not much difference in weight between the two harnesses. Plus the blitz is much more comfortable.

  9. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2011 2:11 pm

    Eric, never mind, I read your original post, and I see we’re using the same TLT5 boots.
    Harpo, on my Alp 95, I just use two CAMP Nano 23 nonlockers (which I would bring along anyway) as my gear loops (clipped into the very small loops).

  10. Adam November 28th, 2011 3:49 pm

    Have you used the flash jacket while climbing in snow or while it has been snowing, just wondering how waterproof it is and if it would work instead of a shell most of the time. Thanks.

  11. ShailCaesar! November 28th, 2011 3:50 pm

    Where can we get those Flash Competition Pants in North America? Anyone know? Wants it.

  12. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2011 3:53 pm

    The Flash clothing is water resistant, not waterproof. Just how water resistant though I have not yet tested. (Might try it out running in the run near my house or something…)
    In addition to the etailer link at the end of the review, you can order directly from the CAMP-USA.com website (where everything should be in stock now).

  13. ShailCaesar! November 28th, 2011 4:05 pm

    Can’t find the pants on either Backcountry.com or REI. Maybe I can order them throught the guides I will be using this year NCMG and pick em up in Mazama!

  14. ShailCaesar! November 28th, 2011 4:06 pm

    Guess I should have mentioned I’m from Canada!

  15. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2011 4:10 pm

    Here’s the link:
    http://camp-usa.com/products/apparel/flash-competition-pants-1892.asp
    But unfortunately for you Canadians (or even Alaskans):
    “At this time, C.A.M.P. USA Inc. ships merchandise only to locations within the continental United States and not to international locations. Nor does C.A.M.P. USA Inc. ship to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands.”

  16. kevin November 28th, 2011 4:17 pm

    I searched the link in your BLOG and only came up with hard goods – no pants, http://www.camp-usa.com did appear to have them available and had a brief description of both the jacket and pants, but no indication of how their sizing runs in those garments (concerned after the comments about the gloves) will call their cust service in the next few days. I typically buy with cross-sport function in mind & am arguing with myself about these pants as they look pretty short to wear with anything except ski-boots. anyone out there have them in hand yet? opinions?

    It seems to me that a jacket without a back would act like a funnel for anything off your head & shoulders, right down between your pack and (now) second layer – hummmmm. A piece reserved for dry-ish, cold, windy days???

  17. Jonathan Shefftz November 28th, 2011 4:25 pm

    Unfortunately a sizing chart is not available, and even though my CAMP-USA contact was very helpful, all he could provide was a general caution that they tend to run small.
    FWIW, the Medium in both the pants and jacket fit me well, and my vitals are neck 15, chest, chest 36, waist 32.5, sleeve 33, height 5’8″, weight 145. (My glove size is almost always medium, maybe very rarely a size small, but these mediums are definitely on the small side for me — since they’re pretty stretchy, they might work, but I really should have a large.)
    The pants are deliberately designed to be short for use with ski boots. To ensure they stay over your the tops of your ski boots, they have a clever bungee cord (minimalist of course) to loop over the ski boot sole instep.
    The back-less jacket is brilliant for conditions where I skin up wearing just my shirt, but then need a little bit more for the descent.
    Given all this, both the pants and jacket are perfect for their intended purposes, but versatility (whether across weather conditions or sports) is not their goal.

  18. Erik November 28th, 2011 9:07 pm

    It would be great if you could post an update after some use. It will be interesting to see how they behave as the break in.

  19. Mårten Pettersson November 29th, 2011 12:44 am

    Camp ad?
    Is this blog post not just an ad for Camp gear? Written by some one who get some free gear for writing this post?

    I love some Camp gear because they are so light. Been using Camp for more than 20 years. Here in Europe is it a fact that some Camp gear are not good at all, some are great.
    During the 20 years + I been climbing have I seen a lot of Camp climbing gear in the accident reports.

    When I started reading the blog was my question if the CAMP XLC 290 was a good thing to buy. A review in the the very high Wild Snow standard. I did not get the answer. Eric posted a comment that it did not work.

    Can Jonathan please make a answer to that? How solid is the XLC 290?

    I have just seen it indoors, not tested it on snow and ice and are qurious how it works.

  20. Lou November 29th, 2011 6:13 am

    Marten, fair question. The report from Jonathan is an overview of the gear he has. More of a “first look” combined with a few other things. We probably could have been more clear on that. Jonathan?

    P.S., Both Jonathan and I are planning full reviews of many CAMP products. For example, I have in my stuffed equipment room a full run of CAMP backpacks, along with the tech binding compatible crampon. All will be tested, and I’ll take my time to do so then file a true ‘review.’

  21. d. diggler November 29th, 2011 8:04 am

    I am a fan of my G Comp Wind gloves. I agree that CAMP gloves run small, I could have gone with a size bigger (tough to exchange when you buy them from that French website).

  22. dmr November 29th, 2011 9:23 am

    Hii Marten,

    Do you have any links or do you remember what CAMP equipment was involved in accidents?

    Thanks in advance!

  23. Lou November 29th, 2011 10:59 am

    Ditto, I thought that was a bit unfair on the part of Marten….

  24. Jonathan Shefftz November 29th, 2011 1:37 pm

    Yes, sorry for being unclear: when I referenced my “plan” toward the end, I implicitly meant that I’d follow up with an assessment of how it goes. (Oddly enough, I first read these comments while hiking back to my “secret” parking spot from groomer dawn patrol, which actually had snow that would have been perfect for testing, oh well…)
    One more clarification: all of the pictured gear I paid for with my own money, with no reimbursement from anyone. (Some of the older gear was purchased at retail, and all the more recent gear was purchased at pro discounts, first from before I was doing any reviewing for Lou, and then the more recent batch, well, more recently!)
    If I come off as sounding highly enthusiastic about all this CAMP gear, well, I am, and it’s no coincidence, since so much of their specialty gear is designed with preferences like mine in mind, which is why I’m happy to pay for all this gear, then while I’m using it anyway, write up my assessments. And in general, I write up only gear I own and paid for, with the exception of some avy beacons that are loaned out to me (since I can own only so many beacons…).
    As for the definitive judgement on the 290 crampons, although I could wait until August 2012 after a full season of spring & summer ski climbs to write my post, I decided to write up my initial assessment so far, then check back in once I get them on some practice pitches, then again in the spring after some real climbs.

  25. byates1 November 29th, 2011 3:48 pm

    ^^ speaking my mind, i often would rather not

    J Shefftz stated above honestly, in light of that, your post can be taken as offensive to me.

    this is one of the best places currently to speak to like minded niche ppl, honestly, in a forum full of good intentions.

    i read the above article, and despite knowing a bunch about lightweight gear, was stoked to learn more about camp and the many lightweight ski mnteering things available.

    i come here, and thank lou and all authors for thier contributions, as will as their moderation efforts, the shift is occuring, real discourse is just that..

  26. byates1 November 29th, 2011 4:35 pm

    tlt 5, for sure is the next iteration,

    but, looking at the scarpa alien carbon,

    they are not to be outdone..

    looking closer at what they are doing,

    full cuff carbon wrap makes sense,

    go..

  27. Robin Taggart November 30th, 2011 4:16 am

    I used Camp Nanotech gear on my main (annual) alpine tour last year, which turned out to be a little more technical than I expected… The result was a broken Nanotech crampon (the chassis cracked at the bar), but to be fair that was my fault as I got a little exhuberant abseiling over some steep rock steps.

    They are a lovely close fit on my TLTs though, and when I got home my local outdoor shop was able to get me a new front piece from Camp to replace the broken one. Camp also do a simple little rubber anti-balling kit to fit these crampons if you should require it.

    Like any gear at the margin of the weight/functionality curve, their range of use is limited compared to more durable (heavier) kit. Ditto the Nanotech axe which I managed to blunt the tip on. And the curve on the shaft, mentioned in your review, did little to stop severe bruising on my thumb and knuckles when front pointing on some steep, hard ground.

    I wouldn’t write the kit off as for a more moderate ski tour the weight/performance ratio is superb, and the user should bear in mind that this stuff is designed at the race end of the spectrum, rather than the ‘out there’ end! I’m touring in the Silvretta in Austria next March which I understand to be a lot more gentle, and I think the gear really should come into its’ own there, when it will be spending most of its time in the sack!

    The Alp 95 harness I’ve found to be really good; I use two Black Diamond Ice Clippers in the nylon loops – one either side – and they are more than sufficient to attach my glacier recovery kit to. The harness just disappears in use: light and comfy. As per the review, buy a size up as it is on the small side.

    Climbing hardware-wise, I’m not so keen on Camp quality, and have been investing in Petzl, who are also keen ski mountaineers! (we skied with their test team on the last day of the Haute Route) They do a locking krab called Attache 3D which is silly-light and yet maintains a very secure, quality feel. They’re light enough to outfit your entire rack with locking krabs which is nice to have. Definitely one area where weight is not the most important issue!

    I also experimented with glove combinations on the same tour, and found out how potentially risky it is!! I ditched my normal light glove/heavy glove pair for a light glove/overmitt combo (Dynafit) similar to the one described here. Almost got frostbite as a result. I’m back to a light skinning glove and a bomb-proof mountain glove for this winter, and sod the weight!! You can do nothing with cold hands, so the danger margin increases considerably, too.
    The use of featherweight windproofs is interesting; my experience with this was much more positive. In contrast to the gloves, I found a light windproof over a thin softshell jacket (both Dynafit) upgraded the jackets’ performance considerably, enhancing comfort & warmth without a weight or bulk penalty. A waterproof down jacket (Crux – check them out, they’re good!) in the sack covered for stationary/emergency requirements.

    I haven’t sussed or sorted the rucksack question properly yet; would be interested in all your views on that! Anything tried so far has either been too faffy & small (Dynafit Manaslu sack), too light (Inov8 mountain marathon sack – v similar to a SkiMo race sack) or infuriatingly unadjustable (Crux AK47 – brilliant except for those ruddy shoulder straps!!). Is there a perfect hut-to-hut sack out there???

    The Dynafit-compatible crampons reviewed here are exceptionally interesting; if they can get the faff-factor sorted (don’t like the sound of the dyneema option at all) they could be onto a winner. Having dangled from an ab rope with a crampon dangling from my boot, security of fit is the defining factor that I will be applying in future…

  28. Robin Taggart November 30th, 2011 4:23 am

    Should have mentioned: for a more durable option on a technical ski tour I’d go with Black Diamond’s Raven Ultra which is much more solidly constructed than the Nanotech without a big weight penalty, and either Black Diamond’s Neve crampons (all aluminium) or Grivel’s Haute Route, which have an all-steel front section, if a lot of ice is going to be encountered… :)

  29. JonM November 30th, 2011 11:29 am

    Last year I purchased some XLC 390 crampons only to return them due to the heel latch not being compatible with my Scarpa F1s. Those Race 290s look promising with the low profile heel pins. Not sure about the durability of the Dyneema connecting ‘bar’.

  30. harpo November 30th, 2011 11:47 am

    Rob, its sounds like your Nanotech broke when you were rappelling too fast and landed/impacted on a rock with your crampons? Which model cramp did you have? The part that broke was on the front section of the crampon where the conector bar goes through?

    CAMP did tell me that if you are going to use their XLC cramps with flexible boots you should get the spring steel connector bar, othewise the alu connector bar can fatigue and break. Presumably, this applies to the Nanotech cramps as well. I checked with a few experts and they all say that there is not enough flex in the forefoot of the TLT5 for this to be a problem, and that has been my experience.

  31. Robin Taggart November 30th, 2011 3:24 pm

    Hi Harpo,

    Yes, the problem with the crampons was entirely my fault; I jumped out over a small overhang and broke the left crampon with the resultant impact. My previous crampons were all metal and I didn’t have to think too much about them. It’s just one of the downsides of using very light gear, but not insurmountable with a bit of thought.

    The crampon snapped clean through the main chassis just left of where the connecting bar joins on; the connector bar and fittings remained in good shape. They’re Camp XLC Nanotech with steel points, the red ones as pictured in the top photo here.

    I’ve found the same as you; they’re a great fit on the TLTs. In fact, I am seriously considering just using my TLTs and crampons on a trip to Mont Blanc next year as they are so comfortable and easy to walk in – can’t imagine a pair of dedicated mountain boots being much better.

    The steel tips on the Nanotech gear definitely do help it perform better, but on hard ground you still miss the basic lack of mass to aid penetration in both the crampons and the axe. In general, I’d consider them racing and light touring kit.

  32. Jonathan Shefftz November 30th, 2011 6:12 pm

    @JonM, I’ve previously used CAMP crampons with the Scarpa F3, and I’m pretty sure I used them with the F1 also, but that was the original generation F1, so maybe the F1 lever configuration changed enough over the generations to cause a problem with the CAMP heel throw?

    @Robin, I also have the BD Raven Pro, which is the same as your Ultra except for the spike. I originally bought the Raven Pro when I had only the XLA 210, and wanted something with a better spike and pick (plus my XLA 210 was only 50cm, so I got a 60cm in Raven Pro). The full steel head certainly is more heavy duty than the Nanotech axe I acquired since then. But for my climbing purposes (i.e., just what I’m going to ski, so never anything above a true 50 degrees, and no mixed climbing), I feel the Nanontech axe is all I need. (I can’t even the last time I used my Raven Pro…)
    Re packs, not sure what you mean by “faffy” but personally I think the Manaslu 35 is the perfect hut-to-hut pack (http://www.wildsnow.com/3828/dynafit-backpack-review/). However, it’s a huge market for packs, with many (many) brands. Cilo certainly has its fans (http://www.wildsnow.com/5618/cilogear-45-liter-worksack-review/). And CAMP of course has many models. Must be some BD packs reviewed here too.
    I’m surprised at the perception of the BD Neve as somehow more durable than the various CAMP alu models. Granted I’ve never done a detailed side-by-side comparison, but I’m surprised if the BD 10-pt alu design is somehow stronger than the CAMP 12-pt alu crampons?
    As for the Grivel steel toe combined with an alu heel, oddly enough I assembled exactly that combination for a partner after the toe post on his Grivel alu crampons broke just shy of the Middle Sister summit.

  33. aviator November 30th, 2011 10:04 pm

    @JonM
    woven dyneema durability:
    its a lot stronger than aluminium
    the dyneema connector will outlive the rest of the crampon by far

  34. Michael Hagen December 1st, 2011 12:59 pm

    Jonathan,

    Nice overview. I have a lot of the CAMP goodies you have pictured and like them a lot. Have used the 290 pack a lot and find it quite durable. Used it for the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse. It’s large enough if you shove so much stuff into your race suit that you look to have a huge beer belly. I’ll check out the Rapid 260. And I look forward to your long-term review of the Race 290 crampons. Might be my next lightweight toy…. I mean tool!

  35. JonM December 2nd, 2011 8:45 am

    I have the F1 Carbons, but the form factor is probably the same as any F1 where the bulge on the heel blocks the normal crampon heel lever from being latched.
    Been using Petzl Vasak Leverwire crampons which work well on the F1s but are overkill for spring/summer in the Sierra. The Race 290s look good. Real good.

    @aviator
    abrasion resistance and durability underfoot is what I question and I really doubt that the dyneema connector will outlive the crampon, alu or steel in actual use.
    Most parts are replaceable if broken so no biggie if wear is monitored so you are not caught by surprise.

  36. Nicolas December 2nd, 2011 9:03 am

    Looks great until you ll really needs crampons. I own the classic 390g and while they are really apealling on the weight, they seems still lighter when you reach some rock or ice (even under the snow). That’s important to keep in mind they are almost rescue gear and not at all classical gear. mine were destroyed in one day because of unplanned mixed ground. Now my rule is to take them if i am not sure to use them, and to take steel crampons if i am sure i ll use them (even 20 meters).

  37. Lou December 2nd, 2011 9:21 am

    I was tempted to take alu crampons on Denali. Wow, that would have been a huge mistake. You end up walking over all sorts of rocks and ultra-hard ice on that route, and alu would simply not have held up. On the other hand, we LOVE alu crampons for much of what we do. Indeed, one must have a crampon quiver!

  38. JonM December 2nd, 2011 9:58 am

    Yes, the right tool for the job. There are always compromises.
    For a hard snow/soft ice seldom used tool those Race 290s could work for me. Think spring trans-sierra not front point 5.8 climbing with a pack on the Cassin.
    Even when the dyneema gets fuzzy and the ice clumps build up under foot… d’oh.
    My other connecting bars never get fuzzy.

  39. Nicolas December 2nd, 2011 10:33 am

    here in the french Alps en Alu crampon is almost never the right tool. It’s a great marketing product, but the fact it is marketed and sell since a long time has made people forget about the truth about it. We are almost in the race/prototype area. Forget to climb out a crevasse by yourself. i agree it’s sometimes nice to have them, but the judgement between when it’s good and when it’s dangerous to use them could be really thin. And i just think too much people are not really conscious of that when picking alu.

  40. Michael Hagen December 2nd, 2011 10:53 am

    CAMP seems plenty clear on the intended purpose of the Race 290 with the name they gave them. No inferring exaggerated capabilities. That’s all I will use them for.

  41. Nicolas December 2nd, 2011 11:52 am

    Michael, i agree CAMP has make great work producing super light gear. and they are absolutely fair with that.

    I just want to remember it’s often difficult to judge conditions from the valley floor, and the crampon being the only piece between you and the ground, this is probabily the last piece of equipement to make a mistake. The release of this new product makes me re-think my own experience, and others experiences from friends (most of them being guide). after almost 10 years of use of the 390g for usual touring and steep skiing, i use them less and less, because i know more and more the “right” conditions are more often “almost right”. And personaly i am no more able to accept this risk for 3 or 4 or even 500grams.

  42. Jonathan Shefftz December 2nd, 2011 6:40 pm

    Setting aside the specifics of the new 290 crampon, and even setting aside any CAMP products in particular, yes, aluminum crampons are obviously idiotic on many routes.
    But anything other than aluminum crampons are equally idiotic (albeit not dangerously so) on many other routes.
    Maybe all of the following are considered too wussy to admit in public to having skied, but for example, in the PNW:
    Adams- South Climb (to access SW Chutes), although can also often be skinned
    Shasta- West Face, Avy Gulch, Hotlum-Wintun (latter two can also be skinned in ideal conditions)
    Baker- Roman Wall
    Rainier- Emmons
    Hood- Wy’East Face, Old Chute
    Middle Sister- summit from the north
    And in NH’s Presidentials — well, pretty much every skiable line in the many glacial cirques.
    For me, personally, given my climbing skills (i.e., absolutely no alpine climbing background), I wouldn’t bare boot up any of these (well, unless they were so soft that they shouldn’t be skied anyway), but I’ve also never needed more than my various CAMP alu crampons.

  43. stephen December 2nd, 2011 10:07 pm

    Guys, do the new Dynafitting crampons really only have 8 points as it appears in the photo? Seems like a big compromise if so.

    FWIW, I’ve had a pair of the XLC crampons for a few years now and have used them with assorted Scarpa tele boots and F3s with no issues. I agree that for mixed terrain they would not be suitable, but in my case they are used 100% on snow, and I wouldn’t (and didn’t) carry steel crampons “just in case.” However, I am prepared to carry the CAMPs. It’s like with cameras – the best one is the one with you.

    Re other CAMP gear: Their X3 600 packs are just big enough to be useful for a long day (IMO), very lght and carry well, but are not super durable. They could be made vastly more durable whilst adding minimal weight by reinforcing the bottom of the frame bar pocket and the strap attachment point on the back panel, both of which have needed repair on more than one pack I’ve seen. I’ve also needed to add Triglide buckles to prevent the straps slipping. I’ll most likely buy another when mine is destroyed enough. :-)

  44. Jonathan Shefftz December 3rd, 2011 12:08 pm

    @ Stephen, it’s 10 points, not 8. My picture doesn’t show them all on both sides simultaneously (since I was focusing on the attachment mechanism in back), but here’s an excerpt from my original post:
    “The new Tour 350 crampon drops 40 grams by switching from 12 points to only 10. Then the new Race 290 drops yet another 60 grams.”

  45. dmr December 4th, 2011 6:20 am

    Alas, I only have burly steel crampons, and won’t likely be purchasing aluminum crampons anytime soon, as the only routes where I use crampons are usually those that require the steel variety (on the high glacial alpine faces above Chamonix or in the Ecrins range). Though I’ll admit that for some of the steeper spring descents on non glaciated terrain I would not mind lightening the load, but there are plenty of other areas where I could likely start.

    However, I really like the Nano ice axe. I’ve used it on many outings (and not just as a pack decoration), both ski and regular summer mountaineering and have found it to perform superbly for what I need and for the weight (as I stated earlier).

    As far as carabiners go, I’ve used both Camp nano and Petzl carabiners (as well as other brands) and never had an issue.

  46. Brian December 4th, 2011 4:43 pm

    Someone mentioned the Grivel Haute Route crampons. I’m a big fan until I have to front point on real ice. I used them on 2 of my 3 ski descents of the Grand Teton last year. We avoided the rappels by down climbing the Chevy Couloir.

    The Grivels worked well the first two trips but, by the third, it had a substantial section of water ice. The Haute Routes have very short front points so I opted for some real Petzl spikes for the final go. Very reassuring when soloing this moderate terrain.

    The Grivel toe bail is bent perfectly for the TLT 5 whereas the Petzl bail on the Dartwin is a little sketchy. I have heard of people switching out for BD bail. Any comments out there on that.

  47. stephen December 4th, 2011 4:46 pm

    ^^ Jonathan, tThanks for the clarification. Now that I look more closely I can just about see things that could be front points inside the plastic bag.

  48. Robin December 6th, 2011 4:59 am

    Thanks for the various insights into the Haute Routes in use, and the choice of other crampons on mixed terrain.

    D’ya think Camp would make this Dynafit heel unit available as a retrofit upgrade for current Camp alu crampon owners? That would be a really logical and customer-friendly move, rather than expecting us to completely replace perfectly good pairs…

    Would like some kind of safety retaining strap around the boot, though. The more I look at them, the less convinced I am by the Dyneema connectors!! :)

  49. Jonathan Shefftz December 6th, 2011 5:34 am

    @Robin, the Race 290 does indeed have a retainer strap — it’s just not visible in the pictures I took. But the CAMP website shows it very clearly. (And remember, the crampons come with both the Dyneema connectors and the metal connecting bars.)

  50. Jay December 7th, 2011 4:17 am

    I wonder if Andrew Mclean still feels Camp axes are not good. He referred to them as only for euro tourists riding gondolas.

  51. Lou December 7th, 2011 6:08 am

    Everything has a purpose and place. Important to know the limits of any gear — including the Whippet self arrest grips that Andrew designed.

  52. Jonathan Shefftz December 7th, 2011 7:23 am

    IIRC, Andrew McLean believes that anything in between a Whippet and technical ice tool is worthless.
    Also, his blog has denunciations of ski crampons (pretty much any and all designs, and for any and all applications) and avalanche probes (most being worthless, and the only worthwhile ones not being worth taking along on most tours).

  53. Lou December 7th, 2011 7:26 am

    Jeez, that guy sounds more opinionated than Lou Dawson. Could that be possible?

  54. Frank K December 7th, 2011 9:06 am

    The CAMP XLC390 is one of my favorite pieces of gear, my go-to crampon choice 95% of the time in CO (though it helps that I’m a lightweight at 130). Somewhere like the Alps, with lots of glacial ice- obviously not a great choice there. This coming from someone who usually scoffs at the lightweight gear often featured here on WS.

  55. Lou December 7th, 2011 9:21 am

    Sometimes, the scoffing is so loud I can hear it all the way over here in Carbondale (grin).

  56. Robin Taggart December 7th, 2011 9:43 am

    Talking of Lou Dawson, I just want to say thank you to him for providing a quality forum where like-minded people can engage in heated debate! ;)

    I’d like to ask your opinions on ice axe leashes; what works for you all; what feels best and gets in the way least in use. Maybe there’s a post, review or forum elsewhere on that topic?

    I’ve been experimenting with a couple of the shorter, simpler types and have come to the conclusion that they’re more of a danger than a help!! (- although that may be my own incompetence in using them…) I’ve found that they tend to roll off your glove and end up looped over the head of the axe, which is quite alarming. Even if you twist them around to tighten them, lighter axes always seem to manage to re-arrange themselves when free-hanging in a way that loosens the lease! If you’re already busy shunting a piece of protection up a fixed line with your other hand, it just becomes another frustrating gear management issue in precarious positions.

    Obviously part of the reason for buying a lightweight axe in the first place is to simplify your equipment and possibly increase the enjoyment in using it. A matching lease should also follow this line of thinking in design and use.

    I’ve since bought a single Grivel long leash to use with my Camp Nanotech – it’ll attach to the tie-in on my harness, leaving the shaft free of encumbrances. On booted ascents I just want to insure myself against accidentally dropping the axe; quite often in Europe these guide-protected routes (over steep cols, with in-situ gear) get very busy and there’s pressure to move efficiently. The thought of being high up on a steep slope (probably above a gaping Bergshrund – Sod’s Law!!) and watching your ice axe disappearing off below you is not something I want to experience.

    What works for everyone else?

  57. Jonathan Shefftz December 7th, 2011 9:49 am

    I use this:
    http://camp-usa.com/products/ice-axes/touring-leash-1305.asp
    I keep the rubber slider all the way at the top (near the axe head).
    I found that the adjustment mechanism was loosening up too much, so I increased the tightness by looping a zip tie through, and it’s been perfect ever since.

  58. brian harder December 7th, 2011 10:14 am

    Robin,

    I agree. Nothing like losing your axe when you need it, to ruin your day.

    I’m not a fan of the wrist based leashes either although they have done the trick for probably over a century. I prefer a length of 1/2″ tubular webbing attached to the head and secured to my harness or pack waist belt. It allows easy changing of hands. The length can be adjusted by wrapping some around the head and extended for swinging over head.

  59. Jonathan Shefftz December 14th, 2011 12:46 pm

    I conducted my third test session this morning. The first session was on a short hill with too-soft snow, although the parking lot (flat of course) had some decent ice. The second and third sessions were on a short hill of only ~18-degrees pitch, but true water ice. In between sessions I’ve been adjusting the tension, which takes awhile to get right.
    My Dynafit TLT5 boots are probably the worst-case scenario for the CAMP Race 290 crampons, since the toe ledge is very minimal (even more so with my heavily used boots after all the late-spring & early-summer scree scrambling and boulder hopping), and the boot sole is relatively narrow.
    After the first on-snow session, I cut off the little nubbin at the end of the heel. This modification allows the attachment pins to penetrate into the heel socket more (and more in-line too with the horizontal plane), and also allows the flexible band of the attachment to cradle the heel very securely. The downside is that when the pins penetrate more, the Dyneema slackens up a bit more (after pulling the heel attachment onto the boot). But previously, with the stock nubbin still in place, sometimes the nubbin would catch at the bottom of the sole, rather than just behind it. Plus the nubbin allowed more pivoting at the heel. So I’m not sure if I would universally recommend this mod, although I do think the nubbin is somewhat vestigial from the crampon’s predecessors.
    Conclusions from all this tromping about:
    – Despite my “best” attempts with my most imaginative moves (far beyond what I’ve ever done actually climbing terrain to subsequently ski), the crampons always stayed attached.
    – When both the toe and the heel are engaged in the snow/ice, the boot is quite stable in the crampon.
    – With only the toe engaged in the snow/ice, the boot toe can be pivoted quite a bit in the crampon (and more so than with the XLC 390).
    – With the boot intentionally jammed back up against the heel of the crampon, it is possible disengage the crampon toe bail by simultaneously pivoting the boot toe back-and-forth while carefully pulling the wire bail with your hand up and over the TLT5 minimalist (and worn down) toe ledge. Although obviously disconcerting at first, I then realized that this is also possible with XLC 390, which I have used for many (many) thousands of vertical (on both my TLT5 and DyNA).
    I think the bottomline is the attachment system will be fine for a 10-point alu crampon. Although the attachment system could cause problems in some climbing scenarios, those are scenarios in which the inherent limitations of a 10-pt alu crampon will be the far more important factor.
    Links to pic & videos:
    http://goo.gl/IUI3X

  60. Michael Hagen December 15th, 2011 8:42 am

    Jonathan, excellent review and videos! You Easterner’s really do ski on ice! :D Gotta love Mt. Wachusett.
    Word is that the Crested Butte/North American Championship ski mountaineering race January 29th with require crampons (and a via ferrata set up) to reach the peak of Mt. Crested Butte. I will have to look into a set of those Race 290s.

  61. Jonathan Shefftz December 16th, 2011 8:21 am

    So much for all those detailed videos: I realized yesterday afternoon that the key to a super-tight fit is removing the heel nubbin *and* shortening the heel pins (by about 4mm). This allows me to tighten up the Dyneema more, yet still attach & remove them easily in the field, leading to a much (much) tighter fit.
    I added a couple explanatory pictures plus a video comparison at the end of the same Picassa album.
    After I shot the video, I did a quick comparison with the XLC 390, and the fit might be even *tighter* with the Race 290. I’ll know for sure once I get them on snow, but either way, it’s roughly comparable to the XLC 390, which has served me well, so finally all set!
    My only two lingering concerns are:
    – This took me a really long time to figure out and set up.
    – My rando race suit and general demeanor is nowhere near as cool as this guy: http://vimeo.com/31477196 (even though I bet my Race 290 crampons fit better than his, hah!).

  62. Mårten Pettersson December 16th, 2011 12:01 pm

    Thanks Jonathan

    Together with all comments did we get a nice review of the Race 290.

    But after some more testing; would you recommend the Race 290 or the Tour 350 for ski mountaineering use?

    Not race specific, but I still love light gear. Use Scarpa Alien 1.0, Dynastar Pierra Menta Pro with Dynafit low tec, or for steep skiing TLT 5 Carbon with Broad Peak skis.
    Or is the Grivel Ski Race Matic? http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/en/grivelraceskimatic-p-7579.html

  63. Jonathan Shefftz December 16th, 2011 12:15 pm

    Mårten, nice setups you have there! I hear the Scarpa Alien 1.0 cuff pivot is very nicely designed. But how are dealing with the partial coverage of the inner boot by the shell? Do you always use a race suit with stirrups, or gaiters, or…?
    As for the crampons, I don’t have any experience with that Grivel race model. (A friend did break a different Grivel alu crampon toe post near the summit of Middle Sister, but I sure hope that was a rare failure.)
    I also don’t have any experience with the CAMP Tour 350, although it’s just my tried-and-true XLC 390 minus two points (and minus ~2oz/pair), so that’s a pretty straightforward choice.
    With my experience so far on the Race 290 on the Dynafit TLT5 and DyNA (so I don’t know about fit with other boots), set up as is with the Dyneema connectors (I didn’t bother testing the metal bars), I’d say the fit is rather loose for general ski mountaineering use, and probably more well-suited to very straightforward boot ladders at races.
    However, with just several minutes of work (learned from several hours of testing & sleuthing…), dremmel off the heel’s rear nubbin/stopper, dremmel off ~4mm of the heel pins (plus round off the sharp ends a bit), fiddle with dialing in the correct length of the Dyneema, and you have yourself a crampon with sufficient bite, very secure connection to your boot, and the ultimate in both light weight and packability.
    (Sorry for the way my various comments have ended up being such a stream of consciousness, but I didn’t anticipate such an iterative process!)

  64. Ali E February 10th, 2012 10:37 am

    Just returning to the question of TLT 5-compatible alu crampons. Owners of Camp XLC 390 crampons will have noticed that there is a gap either side of the rear heel posts that give a fair bit of play with the TLT 5s. In an earlier thread, someone mentioned a solution where they were thinking of drilling the posts and fitting round headed screws to take up the slack. Later they also mentioned a possible solution using cable ties, although I’m not sure what that involves.

    Has anyone carried out any of these mods or have any new insights?

  65. ShailCaesar! March 5th, 2012 3:51 pm

    Great comments! LOL! In case anyone was interested, if your Canadian and want camp gear, you can order it through AAI Guides Choice. Email or call and ask for Jeremy, he was very helpful. Got me a pair of those Flash Competition pants! They do fit on the small side, I got large and it barely fits, but fit it does! Haven’t had a chance to test but they should be perfect over soft shell pants, or on their own in the summer. Can’t wait!

  66. Dell Todd April 27th, 2012 9:54 am

    I am shopping for AT crampons for Dynafit boots so I am interested in the tech compatible concept. However I am not seeing the tech compatibility as a current offering in the XLC390. It seems there is a standard issue toe bail and and rear strap & binding style latch, same as any other design. The Tour 350 looks like a nice option. I wonder if the tech compatibility and the Dyneema soft connector were prototypes which did not make it to production?

  67. Lou April 27th, 2012 10:18 am

    Dell, I tested the tech compatible crampon. It’s a good idea, but mine don’t work. I think they can come up with one that works eventually, but if I were you I’d hold off, or go ahead and order then return them if they don’t seem to work correctly. I do recommend the CAMP alu crampons shown in Jonathan’s post above. Those are what I use in Europe. Lou

  68. jeff brown April 27th, 2012 2:48 pm

    Dell, I purchased a pair this year and after making a very simple modification I have been very happy with them. I used them this year on a 3+ week ski tour through the Stubai, Oeztal and Silvretta ranges in Austira and a week in Chamonix. I climbed several snow climbs and had no difficulties with them. The modification that I made was to add a strap with plastic pack buckles near the heel end of the toe piece that goes around the toe of my boot once I step into the crampon, this keeps the toe part from rotating off of the boot. It did take several practice sessions to get the kevlar strap tight enough. I use Dynafit TLT5 with the carbon cuffs and even with the very short lip on the toe of the boot I never popped out. Something that I was paranoid about and constantly paid attention to. I did not grind off the little keep tips on the heel piece as others have suggested. I bent mine inside to give them a good grip on the narrow heel of the TLT5 boots.

    Yeah the strap is a little bit of a pain; however, well worth the additional hassle as these things pack into a very small space and are (as you know) super light. I would not recommend them for any use on rock as I have broken several front points off of other Camp aluminum crampons, so use my ones with the metal tips for tours where I think I will be cramponing on rock.

    So, sorry Lou, strong disagreement here! Jeff

  69. Lou April 27th, 2012 2:50 pm

    Jeff, thanks for the take! Truly appreciate. Lou

  70. stephen April 27th, 2012 4:49 pm

    The XLC390 crampons are not exactly heavy work perfectly well, are reliable and fold down into a small package, albeit perhaps marginally larger than the others. They will also work on a variety of boots. I’m not seeing that saving 40 grams (and then having to add some weight back via an extra strap) offers any real advantage.

  71. Brian April 27th, 2012 6:46 pm

    I think they work in particular situations and are an adequate addition to the quiver. Mine stay on mostly unless I’m stepping awkwardly on rocks, which I try to avoid since they’re aluminum. Used them today on some steep frozen shite and they worked. They tend to shear out a bit in softer snow over chalk.

    The best all round poons for my money that fit the TLT 5 toe ridiculously well are the Grivel Haute Routes. The front points are a little short but, man, that front bail in the bomb. I like the steel front and alu rear concept.

  72. Mårten Pettersson April 28th, 2012 2:28 am

    Problems with Grivel crampons

    I bought a pair of Grivel Race, 373 gram, but have had huge problems with the fitting. They fell off most time I use them. I have Scarpa Alien 1.0.

    http://www.grivel.com/products/snow/crampons/17-race

    I bought it because I liked the idea with “snowboard bindinge type” of strap over the ankle. But it works bad, the ankle strap forces the boot backwards and the toe flips off. Maybe they work on normal rando boots but not on Alien or TLT 5 that has a short plastic shelf in front.

    Anyone with else that are using Grivel Race? Or try to use them?

  73. Brian April 28th, 2012 9:40 am

    The Grivel race blows. It’s light but does not work well on the boots it’s supposedly made for. I’ve seen it fail on partner’s boots too many times.

    The Haute Route is a more traditional design, completely different than the race.

  74. Paul August 16th, 2012 3:21 pm

    Jonathon, so am I understanding correctly that you never tested these with the metal bar instead of the dyneema? I am not concerned over the few grams that it would save me to go with the dyneema, I would be much happier to use the metal bar and have a bit more secure fit.

  75. Robin Taggart September 27th, 2012 3:28 am

    Has anyone tried the new all-steel Camp Nanoflex crampons yet? They look like a good compromise between weight and durability…

  76. jpvallone November 30th, 2012 6:37 pm

    I have been beating the crap out of the 290 for the last month. I have had an amazing month of Colorado skiing and some of the most technical couloir runs in my 20 years in Colorado. The 290 has been with me the whole way. I even tried it out on WI4 just for kicks and giggles and I thrashed around on some rocks just to feel it out.

    I made a pretty nice mod that I can recommend if you want a bit more support without going to heavy. , Camp doesn’t make a hybrid, but I managed to frankenstien my own. Now for Colorado I think the crampon is fine the way it is. But I wanted something a bit more aggressive up front for more involved places or the Alps in general.

    I took the toe from the Tour Nanotech and used the rigid frame insert to replace the dyneema and now I have a lightweight rigid steel toe with the aluminum race 290 tech insert compatible heel. Not a bad combo, and still great strength to weight ratio.

    As far as I know, Grivel is the only company doing a hybrid right now that caters to ski mountaineering minded folks. I have been doctoring a few pairs over the years, but I think the combo I just created is one of the finest. I had to explain to the guys at Camp why I even wanted a hybrid, but I guess the folks who want one probably know why. The thing was that I wanted a hybrid with their tech insert on the heel. It really is slick to use when you get the adjustability right. The transitions are fast, so quick on and off and the packability is ridiculous. I love these things.

    Looking forward to seeing what you think about the Crampon Lou and anyone else trying them. I have put about 5k of vertical on mine already just this November in Colorado. They are holding up quite nice.

  77. Julian Love December 25th, 2012 3:24 am

    Coming a bit late to this – I’ve been using the Camp 290 on a pair of Scarpa Maestrales since last season and they have been excellent. I use the metal connector for a bit more rigidity, the hold really well and the snap on and off the boot really quickly and easily. They are super light and pack up really small. I used them on the Haute Route last season and they were quick and reliable the whole way. They are not mountaineering crampons though so do not try to use them on blue ice or rock!

  78. Jake November 4th, 2013 8:43 am

    Jonathon,

    Just got a pair of 290 CAMP crampons and I’m thinking about performing your mod. Before I do, just wanted to get a long term report. How are things holding up?

  79. Alessandro December 8th, 2013 7:27 am

    Hallo Jonathan i agree with jake… i will be interesting to have a long term trial opinion and review update.
    Anyone made the same modification with Maestrale?
    I already have them and would like to improve their fixing on the boots!!!!

  80. Lou Dawson December 8th, 2013 8:07 am

    I’ve got some here and was never that impressed. It seemed like my regular CAMP alu clip-ons only weighed a bit more but were way more solid on the boot. What makes more sense are the crampons folks are developing that utilize a clamp on the boot toe tech fittings, but even those look a bit problematic. Nonetheless, you guys have got me re-interested in these since I’m hopping the pond in a few weeks and need to keep my baggage at 50 pounds. More later? Lou

  81. Alessandro December 8th, 2013 9:00 am

    One Maestrale bot they seems quite solid but need to test on some hard snow or ice mixed with grass or blackberry bushes (typical condition here).
    I toke them for the days she you think you won’t use them and in any case where you know where you’re going to use them!
    For mix, ice and unknown tracks i will have my Petzl Lynx in my backpack!!
    In any case better to look for powder….

  82. Jake December 8th, 2013 1:14 pm

    I spoke with Johnathan a few weeks ago. He said the mod is holding up great. He referred me to his comments here:

    http://skimo.co/camp-race-290-crampons

    I have yet to perform the mod. My dremel died. As soon as I get a new one, I will have at it.

    The attraction here is the way these crampons fold up. I love how they pack away. Between taking up next to zero space and their weight, they will stay in my pack permanently. I never do anything that requires steel or 12 points. With a little more security these will fit my needs perfectly.

  83. David January 6th, 2014 11:07 pm

    I just did the first tour with my brand spanking new Christmas present, CAMP 290′s (thanks honey). I fitted them to my Maestrals using the info from Jonathan. I attempted to bend the rear posts in the vice rather than cut but they broke anyway. I did not cut the pins. Even when tight the front part of the crampon can still twist side to side quite easily which I thought might be a problem. However, yesterday due to unskiable (to me) blue ice sastrugi covering the upper half of Mt Hood, I hiked over 2000 feet in these crampons finishing with some scrambling up some steepish ice and even a couple of moves on rock and the crampons were solid. These crampons would have worked fine on any of the ski touring terrain I have covered in the last 15 years. So far I am impressed.

  84. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2014 1:22 am

    Good feedback David, thanks!

  85. Jake January 30th, 2014 7:59 pm

    Finally performed the mod and used the 290s last weekend on the the way into Van Trump Park on Mount Rainier. There was some firm side hilling, that could have been done with crampons, but the extra security was nice. I had a direct comparison to a non modified 290, as my partner has the same crampons and did make the modification. My crampons were bomber: very little movement and super snug. In contrast, his heel popped off at one point. He compensated for this by twisting the strap. From there out, he had no issues. I look forward to getting these into more serious conditions, but I have to say that I’m impressed to this point. The easy of use and weight make these crampons part of my permanent kit. The fact that I can easily clip them to the outside of my pack so they are always at the ready, makes them super functional and makes me more likely to use them in questionable conditions such as the side hilling o we experienced on this tour.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

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