For sanity, I've been skinning up at resorts while my family skis. Ascending steep icy trails, when my boot angle is far from the board, there's nothing pressing my crampons (Mr. Chomps) into to surface. Other than a modification to the riser on my Mr. Chomps, has anyone found a good way to keep them all the way down, all the time? Trying to hold them down by folding the Voile riser over them is useless. Thanks.....!
Ski crampons aren't really useful for climbing super steep icy tracks. If it's that bad then it's time to switch to boot crampons. I've only found ski crampons to be useful for difficult traverses.
I think Rughty bends his teeth into an alternating zig zag pattern that might help you out but then you'll be complaining about too much drag on lower angle skin tracks. There are ways to fix the crampons onto the top of your snowboard but you'll probably have to drill a new hole to do that.
I'll try to get a photo, but my setup is pretty straightforward. Venture Storm 166, Voile split kit, Spark Blaze bindings. The Chomps work great on what I'll call medium-steep icy trails, but beyond that there is no boot/binding pressure to "set" them as I step. They're more or less floating (even with riser up) so it's only by a deliberate, somewhat awkward motion that I am able to set them with each step.
If they were held down in place, they'd go right up very steep icy pitches. I'll probably just modify the Voile heel riser with a turn button of some kind. Just wanted to see if anyone else had this issue, thanks.
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:24 pm Posts: 262 Location: Salzburg / Austria
They're more or less floating (even with riser up) so it's only by a deliberate, somewhat awkward motion that I am able to set them with each step.
If they were held down in place, they'd go right up very steep icy pitches.
Sounds like you are not weighting your heels enough on the climbing wires. Most important when climbing steeps is to put as much pressure on the heels as possible. This will maximise skin hold, as well as push the crampons into the snow.
BobGnarly-- I'm not using the dual height risers yet (they're on the way right now) just the single Voile riser but you've hit on it exactly: the crampons just flop around once the bottom of the binding plate loses contact with the riser on the chomps.
When it's steep it gets more difficult to apply heel pressure as someone suggested, despite a conscious and deliberate effort to do so. Sure, I could take off the splits, put on my boot crampons and carry on, but I think the setup would work fine if I could just lock the chomps down for those steep icy sections. This is really only when I'm skinning at resorts. In the b/c, I don't have the problem.
When my dual height risers arrive, I'll just modify them with some sort of tab or turn button under the front screw to hold the chomps down. I appreciate everyone's feedback, thanks!
Norwegian Dan; Thanks for your two cents! Maybe I am trying to go too steep. But there are some problems with zig-zagging on a ski trail: first, if it's steep, skiers are basically dropping down on you, sometimes out of control and sometimes they don't see you in the first place; second, the two big ski areas in Maine where I go ask uphillers to stay on the side of the trail; third, without hard boots, traversing on steep ice is a pain, literally, for my old knees. In softer snow on steep stuff, I'm fine.
The obvious solution is to stay away from the resorts! I'll figure something out in the next few days and post some pics.
You are right there must be a way to lock em down. Not sure about chomps mechanically but voile crampons lock down and that's what you need, I thought Chomps had this option. I've never found them useful in anything but fixed position for the same reasons you mention.
It'll be cool to see your mod when done JT, something like the Sparx heel lockdown proto would be nice and simple, there's picks on here somwhere but I can't find them right now.
The Voile system does feel bomber and gives you more confidence on icy steeps. It does put upward presure (sorry engineers, don't know the technical term...lever?) on your climbing wires though. I've had both climbing wires rip out on a DIY split due to this, they weren't t-nutted though so it was an easy fix.
You do get used to chomps with use and technique but i'd still buy a lockdown system if available.
Dual wires came today and VOILA... or that should be VOILE, I guess. Pretty simple fix to lock down chomps. It was interesting to hear from folks that Voile crampons lock down without any mods needed. Wish I'd know that....
Here's the description of what I did, will try to get a pic on later tonight: Unscrew four screws on chomps riser plate, spin it 180 degrees so it's pointing back toward tail, flip over riser wire so curve is down, cut off plastic sheathing (if you have it) on wire and put it back together and install chomps under pin as usual. Now, with chomps wire up, fold tall Voile riser wire down over chomps, holding it down. Then just fold down the chomps riser wire over the Voile riser. Chomps wire holds down Voile wire which levers down chomps with a good bit of force.
Yes, I lose my tall wire when it's in this mode. However, for such a simple quick mod I'm willing to climb on the lower wire--which is the same as my old single wire anyway. Besides, it's not very often that I need it in this mode.
It's been great to have folks help me out with this, btw.
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:11 pm Posts: 40 Location: Seattle, WA
Not that I'm advocating running out and spending more money, but for others reading this thread who are worried about crampons the tesla system doesn't have these issues. Since the tesla runs the climbing wire in the baseplate of the binding they push down on the back of the crampons when flipped up and keep the teeth fully engaged once pressed down. That works for either height wire.