Great review Toby. It does confirm what I thought they would be, a crampon for steep mixed climbing. I don't think the chaps at Edelrid had UK winter climbing in mind at all for this product, so it's no point comparing it for this terrain. There's a huge market for these crampons in Europe, US and Canada. When I do a hard mixed route I always find all crampons way too heavy. Darts are the only option at the moment, so this product is refreshing. I always have my Cyborgs with me for ice or alpine, but these paired with a super light boot, you might as well leave the comp boots at home.
As I see it, It's a specialised product, and not sure not many UKC folk, if anyone at all, will find it justifiable. But great review nonetheless.
I don't know why or how it has happened but I'll send the piece back to Edelrid for them to look at. I hope somehow that I'm just very unlucky but worry it is more likely to be a design weakness or the wrong type of plastic for that component and they might have to recall them. Obviously you don't want the binding to fail while climbing.
> What's the point having crampons that won't stand up to repeated climbing!!
But they do stand up to ice climbing perfectly well so far in my experience. As I wrote in the review, I don't think the Beast Lites are a good choice for British winter climbing because I suspect the alu sections just won't stand up to a lot of walking around on rocky surfaces, but there are plenty of ice climbers elsewhere who will climb almost just pure ice and who descend virtually all routes by abseiling (or perhaps walking in deep snow). All the ice climbing I've done in Norway and Finland basically has been like that.
> They don't even do their job well on pure ice, the second row don't engage!
Yes and no. Yes - the secondary points don't really engage but that doesn't mean you can't climb ice with them. But 'no' in that it feels different and, frankly, a bit weird to begin with but they do still work well on steep ice. On the first crampons I ever had - some ancient ex-army Salewa strap-ons - the secondary points were vertical so weren't much help for front pointing either but they still worked ok too.
I do wonder why they did add the secondary points at all though, considering how short they are.
It would be very interesting to hear what someone who knows what they are doing on steep rocky mixed or dry would make of the Beast Lites. The front points are of course steel so I wouldn't worry about them mixed climbing at all and I guess on really steep hard stuff you don't need the other points that much? Having shorter points elsewhere I could actually see was an advantage when you are figure of fouring and the like!
Could it be the lack of somewhere for the back of the boot to 'slot' into? Most other crampons have two metal stumps which lock the boot in place at the back, but I noticed straight away on these that the back of the crampon is free of these. Could it be that the subsequent movement causes too much pressure on the heel clip?
Nope, neither my G12s or Terminators have such back posts, and they're the crampons i've used most for more than a decade. In fact I still have the heel bails from the first pair of Terminators I had which I guess I can probably use to replace the breaking one on the Beast Lites.
I also wouldn't call it "catastrophic failure" either. Looking carefully at the close up photo used in the review again last night, I think you can already see a crack in the plastic heel clip. This suggests that it was there from either the first time I used them or very soon after but I only noticed it in Norway the other week. In other words the bail still seems to work ok besides the crack. Now I've noticed it, I'll do something to replace it, but the crampon has never come off my boot and seems secure despite the crack - so still not good but not "catastrophic".
> Fair enough, could it be the fact they are a very light material in that respect? Both the Terminator and G12's are made up of a far burlier materials than these.
But the bit where the crack is, is plastic - just like on all the other crampons I have. So I don't know if it was just very unlucky to somehow get it to crack (seems unlikely as it happened so quickly) or because they haven't used either thick enough plastic, or a flexible/tough enough type of plastic. I haven't had chance to ask Edelrid yet what they think but will let you know!
The crampon falling off or otherwise becoming useless. Now I've noticed the crack I'm not going to climb more with them before swapping the bails, but they still climbed fine in that state before I noticed it.
So this is probably not the right type of crampons for routes like the Tournier on the Droites, or for the Walker on the Jorasses. I'm in fact looking for the best crampon for such type of routes, i.e. where they stay in the backpack for a lot of the time, but are also required for technical mixed climbing.
Can't really see where these are going to find a use outside of emergency ski tour situation. Given the problems Balck Diamond are having with their stainless crampons breaking all over the place I can't see these lasting even for walking. Any hard surface like a frozen lake where your weight transfers from point to point puts a lot of force through them.
Very interesting post this. I wondered about the back posts, it would reduce pressure on the bail. The plastic cracking is a big failure however you look at it. These crampons need more testing., Exactly same case as the Megajul failures, a cutting edge product being release without proper field testing. But to be honest all manufacturers seem to be getting less worried about recalls and damaging their brands i.e. BD stainless crampons, Petzl nomics... plenty of well known product disaster out there, and things move on.
I still think this crampon fills a very niche gap for certain climbing. I'd love to test them on m8/m9 Wi6 multipitch terrain, I think they would be just the ticket (if the bail doesnt brake of course Any hard mixed routes like Breightwanflue, Fressinieres, Stanley Headwal, Ghost valley, Otzal you definitely find any crampon available too heavy, Darts (820gr) and the G20 (794gr) being the only option at the moment. So to cut it down to 620gr it is a massive improvement. Whether it's worth the money or not, I am not sure.
We have to put Edelrid in perspective amongst the other brands. I think they are trying really hard to establish themselves as a leading "design" company. They haven't been doing hardwear for that long, and sometimes I wonder whether they are just releasing too many edgy products too soon. I mean, this crampon won the ISPO award, giving the brand a lot of hardwear reputation... I think they do better with softwear (despite the odd harness flop) and ropes (excellent). The rockshoes have proven a disaster, but they are still going at it. I don't know what private equity firm is backing them, but they certainly have deep pockets
Whatever the outcome, I think it needs a season or two to fix all the the design bugs and make it a serious proposition.
> I mean, this crampon won the ISPO award, giving the brand a lot of hardwear reputation...
I'm not very convinced by the ISPO awards I'm afraid. Companies decide what they want to submit for judging and then they pay for each product in competition. Everyone pays the same entry fee as far as I can see so I'm not suggesting it's not a real competition (if you are willing to pay to join it), but I'd be interested to know how the judges actually judge things. I got the sense that they don't actually go and climb with the climbing gear for instance - I'd love to be told that's wrong if there is anyone out there who has been an ISPO judge - but that's the sense I got looking into it a bit. With these crampons for instance the secondary points are a bit odd. It's not a deal breaker if you are an experienced ice climber and know what you want/are getting, but it's not the norm and I'd be surprised if anyone climbing with the Beast Lites wouldn't have noted that.
ISPO seems to like new technological approaches and novel design. Marmot's Isotherm Hoody also won an ISPO award, but when I tried it http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.fi/2014/02/marmot-isotherm-hoodypolartec-alpha.html I wasn't completely sold. Alpha is interesting stuff but overall I didn't think the Isotherm was up to Marmot's normal high standards. Again, I'm not saying its bad or doesn't do its job, but when you go out and wear the thing you find various niggles with it, but still it won the ISPO.
Edelrid make excellent ropes, no question there. The other products I've used like the Smith harness and the MegaJul have fallen well short.
Would be interested what you thought of the shoes as i thought they looked quite good but haven't used them.
> Edelrid make excellent ropes, no question there.
I'm testing their new Corbie at the mo', unfortunately we damaged it to the core on the first time out with it! :-/ Chopped that bit off and am continuing to use the rest to see if it was just one of those very annoying things, or whether they have a particularly soft mantle.
I know there were problems with the wires on the first MegaJuls, but I'm using one (and a MicroJul) with the Corbie and am really happy with it so far.
By the way - the thing you said about walking in the Beast Lites; as I said in the review I've walked a few kms in them now, including along a frozen, icy dirt road and they are fine. I wouldn't worry about walking on lake ice in them at all for instance. Could they just snap in half if you walk in them a lot? Well maybe, but I think Edelrid's warning is more about not blunting off the spikes using them on rocky surfaces rather than the main body of the crampon not being so strong. Unfortunately though I didn't have enough chance with this lousy winter to test them for longer.
Yes I'd assume the ISPO awards are a cop-out, but my point was about Edelrid trying really hard at establishing themselves a full-offer cutting-edge brand (the way Black Diamond has gone too). So if this crampon raises their profile as brand and doesn't really sell it's job done really. Good to hear they sorted the megajul. I have a Smith harness and I'm happy so far, but only done one season in it.
The walking thing is more from the experience of the stainless crampons breaking underfoot. Maybe these will be good, I would buy a pair if I had a particular project in mind or for those ski in ski out locations. My impression of aluminium is that it is soft and bendable then snaps.
Surprised by the rope, was it being used as a single, was it scary? Had no issues with my three but not the same models.
The Jul on the other hand is junk. The main reason I bought it was for the assisted locking on abseil. First problem was it wouldn't release with 8.6mm halves then it wouldn’t lock with 8mm and it got scary hot.
Edelrid has used some sort of 3d shaping of the Beast Lite aluminium bits which supposedly makes them more rigid - and seems to have worked so far. Time will tell I guess as to how much usage they can reasonably take.
The rope may have just been one of those very unlucky things. I managed to get a 5mm chip in the windscreen of hire car recently which when I came back to the car park where it had been sitting in the sun for a couple of hours and turned in to a crack across the entire windscreen. Bye bye insurance excess charge. So perhaps I'm just having a crappy run of luck with breaking new things!
Its funny that the megajul seem to split opinions so much - I saw a vid today where it had won Climbing magazine's gear of the year award for example, but you're not the only person I've seen call it junk. I'll be using mine more this weekend so I'll see if my opinion changes!