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weedavie
2009-12-03 13:24:38
"Ronnie dons his crampons" from weedavie Contract pics
Picture: Ronnie dons his crampons (Contract 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 .. 18 Next page >>
Track
Beinn Ghobhlach
Peter Walker 2 days ago.
Beinn Ghobhlach by evening lightWhen you're told that you can do a walk in the morning if you're quick because your o... walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 739m, Area: Beinn Ghobhlach, Loch Maree to Loch Broo

  
Track
Suilven
Peter Walker 3 days ago.
I first read about Suilven when I was about 11. It was in some British geographical gazetteer, a stern washed-out pict... walk, Len: 24.0km, Climb: 1029m, Area: Lochinver to Ullapool (Britain) Suilve

  
Summit Comment
Knockannavea: Nice views to be had
csd 4 days ago.
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Track
Maumtrasna Plateau via Dirkbeg and Buckaun Spurs
Onzy 4 days ago.
Route to the Mauntrasna plateau using the Dirkbeg spur for ascent and the Buckaun for descent. walk, Len: 10.8km, Climb: 535m, Area: Maumtrasna North-East Top, Partry/Joyce C...

  
Summit Comment
Slieve Elva: Fantastic scenery
Damian120 3 days ago.
A stunning walk going up over Slieve Elva that you can begin and end end at Fanore Beach. Some great locations along the Caher River to stop and relax and watch the water gently flowing downstream...

  
Summit Summary
Knocknabro East Top: Drought made difficult ground trek possible
Collaborative entry Last edit by: CaminoPat 5 days ago.
Knocknabro East Top is best climbed as part of a good loop walk, taking in the West and North-East tops of Knocknabro. This summit is best reached firstly via Knocknabro West Top and then onto the...

Forum: General
Lough Ouler From Tonlagee
tomlug48 3 days ago.
A beautiful July day on the summit of Tonlagee. Gazing down at the beautiful heart shaped Lough Oular.Tom Barragry & the Lugs .

  
Track
Picos de Europa
peter1 4 days ago.
I can say with certainty three things: the ascent was not 3266m, given the peak is only 2503m; secondly, I will be back walk, Len: 13.9km, Climb: 3266m, Area: Spain, Cantabria ()

  
Summit Summary
Knocknabro North-East Top: NE Top Revealed
Collaborative entry Last edit by: CaminoPat 5 days ago.
This summit is best reached via Knocknabro West Top. Park at laneway to old farmhouse now in ruin at W15905 83498. Room for 1-2 cars to park. Climb gate at entrance and follow post and wire fence ...

Track
Sail Mhor
Peter Walker a week ago.
After a week of blazing sunshine in the Peak District overwhelmingly spent swimming in the pool, lazing by the pool a... walk, Len: 11.3km, Climb: 833m, Area: Sail Mhor, Loch Maree to Loch Broom (Bri

  
Forum: General
Found
des carroll 5 days ago.
Hi folks. A pair of walking sticks were found in Seskin, Glen of Imaal near Fenton's. Would the owner please phone 086 8607393. If you do not get an answer, please leave a brief message with a pho...

  
Track
Coastal Dublin - Donabate to Malahide
Onzy a week ago.
Circuit of Broadmeadows Estuary from Donabate to Malahide walk, Len: 12.9km, Climb: 115m, Area: Dublin Islands (Ireland)


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 18 Next page >>