/ 'Climbing Technology' Crampons..UPDATE: A RESPONSE
I borrowed a pair of Climbing Technology Nuptse Automatic crampons at the weekend and found them to be scarily inadequate - on easy (grade 1/2) ground the front points simply sheered through perfectly good neve (this was northern cairngorms on saturday, so really good neve!)on which my G12's faired fine.
The horizontal front points are very narrow indeed and the secondary points are not long enough to dig into the snow even on low angled ground.
This seems pretty dangerous especially considering who these low priced crampons are presumably aimed at - beginners, who will most likely be climbing the easier snow routes where these crampons really fail.
Has anybody else had experience of these crampons - good or bad?
EDIT: A Response from Mountain Works Ltd
Please see the link below offering a few reasons as to why the Climbing Technology Nuptse Crampons are neither "scarily inadequate" nor "fisher price".
Mountain Works Ltd
UK distributors for Climbing Technology
Aww hell no! I was going to jump round to Cotswolds this evening to buy a set of the front and rear plastic bail versions, aided by the positive review on here. You've got me doubting it now. :(
I actually just thought sod it and went and bought a pair tonight, I have next to no experience of crampons anyway so I won't know any better. I'll be using them for winter walking and, eventually, grade I or II climbs at most. I've only got Scarpa SL's so these will no doubt become inadequate about the same point as the crampons anyway. Couldn't justify the extra £60 for the Grivels, that'll go towards a better axe. :)
Incidentally, I compared the Nuptses and the G12's side by side and the difference in point width to me seemed negligible. As I say though, I don't know heehaw!
I've got the classic, rather than the automatic, but don't think that should matter too much. What can I say about them? Used them once going up Glyder Fach (or Fawr - cant remember or be bothered to check spellings) and cant really say I noticed the problems you described, on established steps or when I was kicking my own. Have used G10's and Simmonds (I think) previously all with Mantas and they seemed pretty comparable. Preferred the G10's slightly but that may be more to the fact that they were used on less rocky ground and my co-ordination is pretty shocking but I am happy with them so far. Off to Scotland in a couple of weeks so if I change my mind I may come back and post again.
Of course I have no up to date profile and am pretty new to winter walking so I offer no advice only my opinion, as some one with limited experience, which is: I think they make a decent walking crampon and are pretty good value for money.
Here's a pic of the two types side by side for anyone interested. Click the picture for a high res version: http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.com/2011/01/spikey-things.html
Sorry - but that bit just isn't true. On vertical ice it is hard to get secondary points to bite because they're not really designed for that http://www.vimeo.com/17577814 and were perfectly happy with them.
On steep snow (I climbed about 300 mtrs of hard I/II neve on Snowdon in them last month) I thought that if you didn't get the points in well the anti balling plates would slip a little until the points bit, but that was mainly because I was wearing very old and slightly flexi boots which would allow the points to deflect a little. It just meant I had to kick more positively. With stiff boots it was no problem at all-
What boots were you using them with?
I think points width and length are always going to be compromise - long or wide points might be good for snow and soft ice, but will be less good on harder ice and when walking on rocky ground.
I was using them with Scarpa Laser touring boots and Asolo plastics so they should have been fine. I have used G10's and G12's a lot in the past and experienced no problems. Even an old pair of Scarpa SL M3's paired with some rusty old Camp crampons felt more secure.
I did think that it was maybe just weird snow conditions, but the next day I was fine in my G12's on identical snow.
I agree that point length/configuration is always going to be a compromise, but I don't see the reason for making 12 point crampons with short points.
There seems to be many more good experiences than bad, so maybe they are worth the savings, but I found them genuinely scary and insecure.
Toby, I think it's strange that someone with your amount of experience has chosen to invest in products obviously designed for the lower end of the market.
I think it only fair that you declare whether you have a vested interest in these products. If you do...I think that the UKC Gear review system needs a massive overhaul.
I don't think you needed to delete your post, it was a fair question.
To be fair, it is only a hint of suspicion.
I'm a bit sick of the sycophantic methods of reviewing evident in most climbing magazines (have you ever read a negative gear review in a Climbing Mag?). The internet should be a forum which sees the demise of these crooked reviewing methods.
My suspicions are based upon the stark contrast between TobyA's review and other people's experiences.
> Toby, I think it's strange that someone with your amount of experience has chosen to invest in products obviously designed for the lower end of the market.
> I think it only fair that you declare whether you have a vested interest in these products. If you do...I think that the UKC Gear review system needs a massive overhaul.
Crampons don't make the climber. They are just metal spikes.
the MT crampons don't have curved front points do they ? The g12 do, maybe this goes someway to explaining the difference in performance?
Sorry about that, I was going to rephrase it to be a bit less pedantic/aggressive, then decided I couldn't be arsed. Sorry again. I'm sure Toby will come along with his reasons for buying the Nuptses.
Based on.. what exactly? Have you used them, or do you just assume they're crap because they're not black and yellow?
A little bit extra? Try £50. That is, more than half the price again of the Nuptse semi-auto. Shop around and you can get a walking axe for that.
Note also that everyone except you and the OP, including one of UKC's most trusted and experienced gear reviewers, is mostly positive about them. And that it's been demonstrated by Toby's pictures that the difference in size between the front points is negligible.
didn't realise that there was much contrast between Toby and my experience. Was on Ben Vorlich (loch Earn) Saturday where neve was pretty scarce. Still didn't notice any problems on the bits I did find though, including a decent stretch of front pointing. They did ball up LOADS in the soft wet stuff on the lower slopes as we traversed round to a gully. but then again so did everyone's (Grivels, Simmonds and BD's)
And no - I have no connection with the company, other than being a satisfied customer.
The husband and wife team who make up the company that imports CT info the UK have said that if I ever climb Cautley Spout again, I should pop in for a cup of tea as the live nearby. Is that what you are thinking of as a 'vested interest'?
And what on earth is the 'lower end' of the crampon market?
Never used their crampons but my new favourite screwgates are these:
They cost just over 8 euros here in France and are really nicely made.
I've not used them but have fitted them - they are a bit more basic than G12/Serac/Vasak but I think they represent a good budget option at a time when crampon prices are rising every season.
£85-ish including a bag is pretty good value for money. For that value to be realised though, they have to work(!). It will be interesting to see what people think and if CT will react to any negative points.
The CT axes are very good for the money BTW. The Fly Hook has a really nice balance and swing and the Alpin Tour axe would be my first choice walking/easy mountaineering option.
Actually, crampons with shorter points are easier and more comfortable to walk in on hard rocky or icy ground than those with longer points. That is why Grivel make both the G12 and the Airtech. The former is an ice climbing/mountaineering crampon and the latter a mountaineering/walking crampon.
I understand the reason for short points, but not on a 12 point crampon.
The 'Ice' model seems very similar to the G12 and makes more sense for climbing in my opinion, whereas the 'nuptse' seems like a weird halfway between a walking crampon (G10 plus a couple of points) and the G12.
Well I think you're right, except that I don't agree that it's weird. If you have big feet 12 points make more sense than 10, especially if you are climbing say voie normales in the Alps or D type routes in the Greater Ranges, where many of the routes are icy scrambling rather than out and out climbing. Then you may find a crampon like the Grivel Airtech (or this CT one) is better than a G12, and certainly much better than a G10.
You can read a bit more about my findings here http://www.highlandascent.co.uk/blog/13-ct-nuptse-review
Furthermore, all crampons have to comply with UIAA standards. If they wouldn't be safe the UIAA wouldn't put a stamp on them and you wouldn't find them on any shelves in the UK.
I think it is more of a personal preference what crampons fit your needs. Sending out a warning like this isn't really productive. If you don't like them you can always sell them on ebay and move on...
Any vested interests of your own you'd like to declare...?
Toby's been around here a while. You've been here... hmmm... 20 days.
Mountain Works Ltd
UK distributors for Climbing Technology
Thanks very much for responding.
My comments were based on one bad experience - I was borrowing them from a friend as they didn't quite fit the boots he had with him.
I am not going to take back what I said as I did indeed have a bit of a scary time in them, but it may well have been dodgy snow conditions rather than the crampon design. I was fine the next day in my G12's, but we all know how much snow conditions can change overnight...
After some further research it seems like the Nuptse model is more comparable to the Air Tech than the G12 - am I correct in thinking this? I have never had experience of this type of crampon (ie: 12 shorter points) so maybe this is the way these types of crampons behave in these sorts of conditions - I have used G12's for the past 6 years and so maybe have been able to get away with bad technique thanks to the longer points...
I hope you realise that this thread was not supposed to be a slight on Climbing Technology - I was merely sharing a bad experience (perhaps worded a bit strongly). I work in a climbing shop and know perfectly well that the british climbing public desperately needs some lower priced options, and I think it's great that Climbing Technology are providing just that.
A crampon is a crampon, it's the frickin' snow. What a load of nonsense blaming the crampon design. I feel incredibly sorry that the manufacturers had to post to correct this nonsense. A good climber will climb well with these crampons, just as you struggle on grade II.
Quite frankly, I'm appalled that you could wade in and blame a product in this way when there has been no mechanical failure on its part. There has, however, been a failure by you to use the tools at your disposal effectively and, worse, to then publicy blame those tools.
Shame on you.
I have tried to offer up reasons for why I found the crampons to be inadequate and have asked for other peoples experiences - good and bad.
I have responded to the original reviewer with reasons for why I disagreed.
I responded to the distributors post to try and explain my comments further.
I don't think that at any point I 'waded in' and blamed the manufacturer, and whether or not you think I'm a crap climber is besides the point. My intention was to start a thread where climbers could share their experiences of a product (which as far as I'm aware is the entire point of having a gear forum).
Since it has descended into childish retorts, I'll take no further part.
A poor workman blames his tools ...
As a final thought for you. Your initial post claimed that the front points sliced through the neve. How would I manage with a single, vertical front point?
You got scared, had a wobbly. It happens all the time, then you felt more confident with something you knew. It wasn't the kit that changed, it was your head. It's still wrong to blame your equipment for this.
As a summary of other peoples experiences, what do you think? You had one bad time, an unsubstantiated post mocks them on one side and there are two reviews from experienced people and a host of positive comments on the other. What is your judgement?
Freco - I've also got G12s (haven't ever tried the Airtechs), but haven't found the G12s to be so different from the Nuptses - although definitely the G12s give you a bit more support on steeper ice due to the shape of the secondary points. I totally understand though that once you're used to your own gear then swap it can feel really weird. Some of my mates have really good sport quickdraws but for the first few times they can seem really crappy to clip just because they're not mine! But I'm still inclined to think that it is more likely that it was difficult snow conditions rather than the shape of the crampon points that were causing you the difficultly.
Oh come off it! Phrases like 'A Warning', 'scarily inadequate', 'pretty dangerous', 'these crampons really fail' are not exactly neutral.
If you work in a climbing shop then you should know better than most that we are dependent upon small hardware manufacturers who are up against significant development, marketing and certification costs. For heaven's sake wise up and stop hiding behind 'share their experiences of a product'. I'm sure that Mountain Works has got far better things to do than defend their product from such unwarranted attack, but good on them for standing up for themselves.
And as for 'childish retorts', MTFU and face the music, just as you forced Mountain Works to do.
I use the UKC search site option as a source of info for climbing gear before I buy and recommend others to do the same. That is why I object to posts like this that incorrectly sway people (who, given the type of crampon, may believe what is written,) away from a perfectly good product. Therefore I want it to be abundantly clear in the post that the OP is talking nonsense. One or two criticisms is ok, but the more the better.
Unfortunately for you, their response was reasonable, as were the responses of other users who rightly pointed out that the crampons may not be top-of-the-range but aren't actually dangerous or built like a plastic toy. This made you look like a bit of a wally. The more you try to defend yourself, the more of a wally you look as your original post is immortalised at the top of the thread; in your position I'd say "fair cop, I went a bit far". 'It's the life', as the French say.
To be fair, I'm actually rather grateful for this whole post as I had not heard anything about CT before now! As things go it looks like I will end up buying some of their kit.
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