We’ve got some goodies from camp-usa coming in for review. First, we’re messing around with the XLC 390 Hyperlight Crampon, said to be the “lightest semi-ridged 12 point crampon in the world.” If not the king, at 9 oz each (256 gr, weighed with anti snow ballup plates) they’re certainly up there in the top of the lightweight cramp’ genere.
Will alu cramps substitute for steel? We always have both and pick according to route and anticipated conditions (steel if we thing there will be much hard ice), but I’ve found over the years that in nearly any snow climate we we can do the bulk of our ski alpinism and backcountry skiing climbs with the aluminum version.
Thus, we’re always looking for the best iteration of such lightweight crampons, and it appears these are a winner. These guys are made of 7075 aluminum, with a design that’s said to distribute force so the points are less likely to bend or break. Will they hold up to walking patches of scree on a Colorado 14er in January? Time will tell, but we are optimistic.
I’ve been on all too many climbs when my crampons balled up with snow and needed an ice axe whack almost every step or else it was time for a fast and possibly last ride down the mountainside. Thus, for safety and efficiency, anti snow ball-up “antibott” plates are as important as the crampons they attach to. We really like the CAMP version that come with the XLC 390. Made from a Vibram brand rubber material, they stretch and snap on with small hooks. To prevent snow sticking we’re pretty sure we’ll still want to spray our cramps with silicon before each trip, and perhaps mod them by adding some plastic tubing to the connector rail, but it’s all got to start with the antibott, and these look to fit the bill.
What else? The heel clip has a nice hand operated dial for fine tuning the fit. And you can lighten these crampons a bit more by cutting off the unused portion of the connector rail after you get your length dialed.
|CAMP Antibott is shaped for each crampon model, and pops on with these clips.|
|Adding to the anti-snowball Antibott effect, I mod my crampons by covering the connector rail with poly tubing. With this mod you can’t collapse the crampons for storage, but I’ve actually come to like that feature, as my cramps come out of my pack ready to clip on my feet.|
And just in case you’re doing some early Christmas shopping:
Camp XLC 390 Crampon is light, and even has a telemark boot-compatible toe bail to make it a standout choice for ski mountaineering with telemark or AT gear.