/ La Sportiva Makalu with G14 Cramp-o-matic
In theory Makalu's are B3, the la Sportiva site says they take step in crampons http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/mountain/makalu , they have a steel shank, they have the groove at the toe, they seem to fit well on my boot.... but before I find myself halfway up something with a crampon hanging off - has anybody used or seen this combination in action?
la sportiva site claims they have a 1.5mm FULL steal shank and they can take automatic crampons which would seem to suggest the boots are B3.
If you read user reports on line there are a lot of people suggesting they are too flexible for fully rigid C3's and others saying they have used them for years with makalus with no issue.
Personally I'd tend to err on the side of caution and get a either strap on C1 style crampon ( if you don't intend to get on any / much steep ground) or a newmatic style C2 crampon otherwise.
By the way many people now a days prefer the newmatic fitting anyway and G14 can be bought with this fitting. I think its easier to put on and less likely to come off, and actually if anything more solid if its a good fit (you can tell this as the crampon should stay on the boot when lifted without doing up the strap, and the sole of the boot should be well aligned to the shape of the crampon). One thing I'm not so keen on with G10 / G12 / g14 is the front point protrustion can be a bit poor on moderm boots. Black diamond crampons are much better in this regard.
Personally I'd probably suggest a general mountaineering crampon such as the newmatic g12 may be a better choice as your first crampon but there really isn't going to be a huge amount of difference.
Mountaineers have used Makalus with rear clip on crampons for years. Including me. Most don't trust the front welt for front bale crampons. There is a bit of sole flex, and even rear clip/front strap will pop very occassionally under certain size combinations and wearing situations (had it happen about twice descending fast down steep slopes facing downwards). Kind-of "walk" out of them.
So you do have to take a little care. However, rear clip, front strap are the defacto standard crampon combo for Makalu wearers.
Also if you are thinking about extended front pointing, then they don't cut the mustard. Bashed up toes and knackered calves from not enough sole/ankle support. For a hundred metres of less-than-bullet-proof ice up the final slopes of a mountain they are fine.
Also Makalus changed in design over the years. The more modern versions give slightly less support in the ankle and the sole is not as precise.
I had some makalu's years ago that I used with full step in crampons (with wire front bale). I never had a problem with them, although I don't think I did any proper steep climbing with that combination.
If the newer ones are the same as the ones I had (they look the same), they certainly are not B3 (they are fairly stiff, but definitely some flex).
However, 100% rigidity is not required for step-in crampons. Take a look at the animated image of the flex in the scarpa phantoms here for example:
Sorry was the information I provided from the La Sportiva website not good enough for you? My advise was further backed up by Bruce who uses these boots.
I was also partially pointing out the some of the advise you did already get from people who own these boots is contradictory to that on the La Sportiva website.
Most modern B3 boots that are not plastic flex now a days.
> Most modern B3 boots that are not plastic flex now a days.
I know, but i believe the original definition that Brian Hall came up with for B3 was "Fully rigid boots...", which suggests no flex.
However, virtually no one outside the uk, nor most manufacturers, use this system anyway. Boots are usually just rated as stiff enough for steep climbing and/or step in crampon bindings, or they aren't.
Aye there is also the lateral stiffness of the boot to consider. B3s tend to be laterally stiffer than B2s also.
Elsewhere on the site
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are... Read more
The British climbing scene is very exciting at the moment. It is quite clear that as a sport it is developing at a rapid rate and... Read more
2014 has been a bumper year for climbing publications. Here's a few of the ones that we have either read, or ones that we... Read more