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Sometimes I wonder.. by dr_banuska   (Show all posts)
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weedavie
2009-12-03 13:24:38
"Ronnie dons his crampons" from weedavie Expand pics
Ronnie dons his crampons (Expand pics)
Crampons
Conor, if you're seriously using crampons, go on a course or find a friend who knows. Two hours talking and a half day practical will be worth 1000 written words.

Crampons help you deal with icy / hard packed snow. If the snow is deep you don't need them. Gordon and I were coming down Beinn Dubhcraig last winter in fantastic thigh deep snow doing giant steps. We passed two people struggling with crampons and ice-axes, tripping when they could have been flying. But when you're climbing a steepening slope on hard packed snow, a slope you've thought innocuous in summer, and you realise that a single slip and you'll be picking up speed till you start ricocheting round the boulders below, you bless their pointed little heads.

If you're doing serious climbing you need rigid boots with fitted crampons. If you're a walker who wants to be safe in winter, a reasonably stiff three season boot will take a flexible crampon and keep you safe. Don't listen to the outdoor shop people who tell you you must have four season boots. Equally don't be put off with "walking crampons". You need full 12 pointers with the sticky-out ones in front.

You hardly ever need your crampons - I walk in Scotland all winter and in recent years I've typically used them once or twice. When you do need them though, even if it's only for fifty metres of a ridge - it's worth the trouble to stop and put them on. They stick to anything - the security of standing fixed on ice is unbelievable. Make sure they're strapped on properly though. I've seen a couple of nasty moments when a crampon has come loose. That'll happen too if the boot's not stiff enough - I was serious about a solid 3 season boot.

The only exception I've run into to the hard snow and ice scenario is a steep slope with shallow spring snow. Again you can slide far and fast on this. I've a couple of times used crampons, ignoring the feeling of silliness as they bite into soil and heather. Always carry an ice axe in winter. It's your essential safety device.

Make sure your mate puts on his crampons when you do. One day on Beinn Laoigh, I was feeling smug after stopping to fit mine. I was rapidly overhauling Ronnie, who hadn't bothered. Suddenly I became aware that if he came unstuck he was going to be travelling fast when he came through me. Fortunately he clung on.

In deep snow you've more reason to worry about avalanches. It's worth knowing the conditions and slope types that increase the risk.
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 27 Next page >>
Summit Comment
The Eagles Rock: A short but sweet scramble
IainT 2 hours ago.
One of the few Irish summits that needs the use of hands by the easiest route. Those happy with exposure can get a good airy scramble (grade 2, pushing 3 maybe), by slanting left up an obvious ram...

  
Summit Comment
Slieve Foye: Irish Gabbro!
IainT 2 hours ago.
Gabbro is one of the roughest and most frictiony rocks around and is superb for scrambling on, as all visitors to the Skye Cuiilin across the water know. I never realised until yesterday that Slie...

  
Summit Comment
Clermont Carn: Easy but a great view.
IainT 3 hours ago.
If you drive up the road this has to be a contender for the easiest summit in Ireland, but it's well worth doing for the superb view. Wicklow to Donegal, with the Meath lowlands spread out like a ...

Track
Pic du Canigou
David-Guenot 6 hours ago.
Ascending Catalogna's sacred mountain from the hamlet of Los Masos de Vallmanya, on well-marked trails, with two breaks walk, Len: 24.8km, Climb: 1853m, Area: France, Occitanie ()

  
Forum: General
Windphone project destroyed
wicklore 20 hours ago.
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Track
Ramble on Ireland's Eye
wicklore a day ago.
A short walk on Ireland's Eye in September 2015. Original plan to visit earlier in the summer was thwarted by a huge f... walk, Len: 2.6km, Climb: 80m, Area: Ireland's Eye, Dublin Islands (Ireland) I

Summit Comment
Seanadh Bhéara: Access
sandman a day ago.
To answer the query raised by TommyV for at the time to facilitate parking on a narrow road and not wishing to park on the N59 i parked beside the farm yard with a view to access the hill via the ...

  
Track
Pic de Cagire Loop
David-Guenot a day ago.
A great loop walk in one of my favourite areas in the Pyrenees, which should have hardly taken more than 4h30 hadn't I m walk, Len: 11.8km, Climb: 892m, Area: France, Occitanie ()

  
Summit Comment
Ireland's Eye: Screams were heard, getting fainter and fainter…
wicklore a day ago.
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Summit Summary
Carhoo Hill: Dingle Eask Tower
Collaborative entry Last edit by: aidand 2 days ago.
This is a modest climb, but with wonderful views. Take the road out of Dingle towards Ventry. After about a mile turn left at a sign marked 'Hanlon's handbags'. There is a parking area with a hut ...

  
Summit Comment
Seanadh Bhéara: Access Issues
TommyV 2 days ago.
I was bagging a few hills in the South Connemara on Saturday 12th August. Shannavara was to be my 4th hill of the day. I followed bryanmccabe's directions and met the landowner who was out and abo...

  
Track
Benbeg to Cuilcagh
dmcdevitt 2 days ago.
GPS was not accurate during the walk. learn't a lesson not to use your phone app to track your walk but overall it is ac walk, Len: 8.7km, Climb: 447m, Area: Benbeg, Breifne (Ireland) Benbeg


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 27 Next page >>