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2009-12-03 13:24:38
"Ronnie dons his crampons" from weedavie Contract pics
Picture: Ronnie dons his crampons (Contract pics)

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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User profile
FrankMc1964 less than an hour ago.
Navigate most of the mountains along the west................member of Limerick Climbing Club.....One of the founder members of Mountain Meitheal Southeast doing Path repair around the Galtees.

Summit Comment
Sheegouna: Tipp of the iceberg #2
madfrankie 4 hours ago.
Slievenamon dominates the view SW from Sheegouna's low cairn

Summit Comment
Sheegouna: The Tipp of the iceberg
madfrankie 4 hours ago.
A couple of pics from a frigid hike up Slievenamon that continued on to the NE top, Sheegouna.Amazing how even the most unremarkable hills are transformed by the white stuff.

Summit Comment
Kinnaveagh: Glenveagh
jackill a day ago.
A photo looking down the beautiful Lough Beagh in Glenveagh national park with Kinnaveagh on the left overlooking Glenveagh castle and the Saggartnadooish ridge on the right.

An abridged Sheeffrys route
peter1 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 13.0km, Climb: 763m, Area: Tievnabinnia South-East Top, Sheeffry Hil...

Summit Comment
Tievummera: Super Sheeffrys
peter1 2 days ago.
St. Patrick's Day, 2018. Halfway through this traverse I was listening to radio commentary as Ireland won a famous Grand Slam! I decided on an E-W traverse as it seems nicer to be walking towards ...

Tievebaun and Truskmore SE Carn
peter1 2 days ago.
walk, Len: 9.4km, Climb: 585m, Area: Tievebaun, Dartry Mountains (Ireland) Tiev...

Glenbeigh Loop
GSheehy a week ago.
That mare of a storm ?Emma? played havoc with the na Sl

Summit Comment
Tievebaun: A short, sharp cold snap
peter1 2 days ago.
Following Colin Murphy's clearly described route, I parked just off the road adjacent to open hillside. The going across from Tievebaun to Truskmore can be boggy in parts but today was frozen, due...

Fuerteventura: La Oliva to Lajares.
simon3 a week ago.
This walk starts in La Oliva, which is served by various bus routes including one that returns from the finish. Casa de walk, Len: 16.7km, Climb: 333m, Area: Spain, Canary Islands ()

Forum: General
Thanks BlackCra
Aidy 2 weeks ago.
Thank you BlackCra for the extremely generous words on my photo - your description is truly humbling.

Summit Comment
Errigal: Donegal a High Point
BleckCra 3 days ago.
I was first introduced to Donegal 20 years ago. It was the Donegal of Buncrana, Bundoran and Ardara; of kiss me quick tourist towns, warm beer, hiked up prices and bored part time pub staff.I saw ...

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