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 Post subject: Spark R&D Splitboard Crampons
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:25 pm 
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Location: Now Oaktowntastic
Spark R&D's new crampons totally rule. As advertised, they drop in and out on the fly. They have less bite than the voiles, more like a Burton crampon. I used a carabiner and a voile strap to take make a little package I can hang from my hip belt if I'm gonna be skinning in hard snow.

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Powderjunkie likes them...
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They are perfect for situations like this... an icy little traverse with a small descent on the other side. Pop in the crampons and skin right across. Pull them out and ride down. Total cakewalk! Thanks Will!!!
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PS- It takes a minute to figure them out, so pop them in once or twice before you're actually on the icy traverse!

Edited thread title a little bit...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:48 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Just got my pair and am very stoked to try them out. Good idea with the Voile strap and biner.

Since everyone knows I am a total weight weenie :roll:, I put them on the scale for comparison:

Voile crampons: 1.05 lb
Spark: 1.10 lb
Burton: 0.55 lb

Amazing that the Burtons are half the weight... then again, they don't need the extra climbing bar. This bar is essential though in the Spark design, and makes them actually functional in floating mode when the regular climbing bar is engaged, in contrast to the Voile ones which are useless in that mode. Anyway, one thing about the Burtons is that the metal is much thinner, but they still seem to be pretty bomber. I believe that the metal is heat treated or something, because at one time I tried to bend part of the Burton crampon for one of my mods, and it just broke off (but required a lot of force before anything happened).

I have the higher climbing bars on my split, and am not sure how well the Sparks will work in that mode since the bar on the crampon is designed for the normal height climbing bar. Haven't had a chance to try this out yet.

One thing that looks to me like a very cool possibility is that these crampons should be possible to use with regular slider plates, with a small mod. I think you'd just have to trim down the white plastic bar to fit underneath the slider plate. One thing that might not be obvious to folks is that these crampons do require ditching the slider pin guide plastic piece that goes under the touring bracket (a separate pad is provided with the crampons, but it has no pin guide). This is what enables the crampons to be inserted on the fly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:48 am 
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Location: Meyers, CA
Quote:
One thing that might not be obvious to folks is that these crampons do require ditching the slider pin guide plastic piece that goes under the touring bracket (a separate pad is provided with the crampons, but it has no pin guide).


Good point. I had a DuH oh! moment while figuring this out...

Once that was accomplished, they work as advertised. More sweet stuff from the Spark R&D shop.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:11 pm 
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Loved the crampons - easy on and off. More packable than the Voiles.

It was a little awkward when they are on and you need to raise your climbing bar because you can't use your pole so you have to reach down to raise, but not a big issue.

In my pack they still work great protecting my PB&J sandwich. 8)

:thatrocks: :thatrocks: :thatrocks:

I have the tall climbing bars too. There is about a 1/2 inch less bite at the end of the crampon as a result. The baseplate still engages the crampon climbing bar but it can't bite all the way into the snow.

I tried replacing the bars on the crampons with the normal size climbing bar and it is too long.

Sooo, we need some custom sized bars from Voile or a simple mod that adds about a 1/4" height to the crampon climbing bar.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:04 pm 
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Interesting that you have the long climbing bars too PJ. I just did some tests with them in the garage today. It looks like they should work OK with the climbing bars in all modes except for floating mode with the climbing bars down. In that mode, the hole in the crampon is not quite big enough for the top of the folded-down climbing bar to fit through. If the hole in the crampon were just a tad larger in front, and the crampon's climbing bar were moved just a tad forward, it would work with both regular and long climbing bars in this mode.

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With both climbing bars up, it does float a little higher as PJ mentioned. Here's both climbing bars up. The bar on the crampon is not touching the baseplate.

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The crampon moves this much before its climbing bar also hits the baseplate, so you don't get quite as much bite, but it still looks like a good amount.

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One possible advantage here is that you do get an extra climbing bar height with this setup. If you only raise the bar on the crampon itself, this puts you at the same height as the regular climbing bars would. This only works in fixed mode, with the regular climbing bar down on top of the crampon. This doesn't really look like a stable setup, i.e. putting all your weight on that little bar halfway down the baseplate, but in the garage tests it seems to work.

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Finally, here's a pic of fully lowered fixed mode. Could be useful for an icy traverse across a steep slope where you're not gaining elevation.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:59 pm 
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Location: Bozeman MT
Just found this thread, thanks Jim.

I'm ordering the next lot of these on monday. I'll make that hole a little bigger so there's no interference with the taller climbing bars (looks like I need to make the ones in my CAD a little longer). For you tall bars guys that already have them you can file and dremel away on those crampons and risers until they don't interfere anymore. I had a few requests for a round carabiner hole in them too, I'll see if there's a good spot in them for that over the weekend. If anyone drills a hole in theirs, let me know what you find out.

I'll be sure to put on the website that they can be used to protect a sandwich, gotta get that sandwich cad together too!

Thanks for the feedback guys, glad you're stoked.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:34 pm 
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Location: Seattle
Very nice, just might have to get myself a pair of these bindings with cramp ons now. I love my bindings that I am currently using but don't like the voile cramp on set-up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:51 pm 
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After getting to use these in the field this past weekend, I have some more observations:

- The loss of bite is definitely noticeable with the long climbing bars. Ideally I'd like to see an option for an associated longer climbing bar on the crampon. For now, here's my ghetto fix. I found some longer screws, and put a couple spare heel block shims under the crampon's climbing bar block. This puts it at the right height when using the longer climbing bar. The downside is that it makes the binding sit at more of an angle when the climbing bars are not engaged. But it's OK for now since I typically use the crampons with the cimbing bars engaged, and in that mode it does keep the crampon flat, giving more bite.

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- I think I'd like to see slightly longer teeth. They probably don't need to be as long as the Voile ones (which are probably that long so that the crampons have some semblance of usefulness when used in floating mode with the heel lift engaged), but a little longer would be nice. Right now they're about the same length as the old Burton ones.

- Speaking of the old Burton ones, they were nice because they were super light and packable. One thing that made them more packable was that the teeth were slightly flared out, so you could nest them one inside the other. I'm tempted to try this with the Spark crampons, but I don't want to sacrifice any amount of bite at this point. I'd be more tempted to try this if the teeth were slightly longer. Dunno if the additional thickness of the metal used in the Sparks would make this impractical.

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- And speaking of packability, one thing that would be really nice is another rectangular hole near where the Spark logo is, large enough to fit 1" webbing through. This, combined with SF's Voile strap idea (or if you could nest the crampons) would allow you to thread webbing through the existing and new holes to attach them securely to a pack. I wonder if other holes could be added without compromising strength? The Burton ones sure had a lot of holes, but they certainly seemed strong enough (never heard of anyone breaking them).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:08 pm 
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Location: PNW Hood Canal
I love the drop in burton crampons, for a newbie that is super easy for use. The voile ones suck with the pin/binding/crampon all in juggle mode. I have orderd my MR CHOMPS and will get them after a brief backorder period. The one thing the burtons don't do in nested mode though...protect pj's pb&j! (Or Jon Dahl, who i believe is a pb&j junkie too). I like Storn's strap and biner mod but I agree that two straps in opposing wrap pattersn make them really easy to fix to the pack or waist belt with no movement.

What is super Will improving next? Binders, check. Crampons, check. How about climbing bars attached to the binder baseplate similarly to the burtons so you can more easily engage them when needed? I'll shut up and go to bed now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:18 am 
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Location: Stowe, VT
No, no, next Will needs to invent up-hill levitation. :D

Shep


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:00 am 
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Location: Bozeman MT
Longer wires for the crampons are possibility for those of you using the long wires on your splittys, just a tooling change for me. I can get on that sometime pretty soon.

I'm a little spooked on doing flared crampons like the burton ones just because I don't want them to flare more over time. If the teeth are vertical they're more likely to stay vertical for the long haul. They should penetrate the snow better as well. I'd rather have them perform better on the snow than in my pack. Not something I'd rule out entirely though.

The new ones have a carbiner hole near the top, I'll post pics once we have a few sets done.

I've preferred the voile riser system to the burton ones as they are pretty easy to work with your ski pole. It did work out well for the burton binder and crampon combo, only one riser was needed. I think it would be difficult incorporate that kind of riser into the baseplate.

Levitation? That might take a while longer......

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 2:07 pm 
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Will wrote:
Longer wires for the crampons are possibility for those of you using the long wires on your splittys, just a tooling change for me. I can get on that sometime pretty soon.

This would be awesome! Sign me up.

Quote:
I'm a little spooked on doing flared crampons like the burton ones just because I don't want them to flare more over time. If the teeth are vertical they're more likely to stay vertical for the long haul. They should penetrate the snow better as well. I'd rather have them perform better on the snow than in my pack. Not something I'd rule out entirely though.

Yeah, I'd definitely vote for durability over packability. But just as a point of reference, my Burton crampons lasted 3 seasons of heavy use and never had a problem. Like I mentioned before, it seems like they must have done some kind of heat treating on the metal because that shit was STRONG for how light it was.

Quote:
The new ones have a carbiner hole near the top, I'll post pics once we have a few sets done.

If that hole is big enough to do double duty as carabiner hole/webbing attachment point, that would be awesome.

Quote:
I've preferred the voile riser system to the burton ones as they are pretty easy to work with your ski pole. It did work out well for the burton binder and crampon combo, only one riser was needed. I think it would be difficult incorporate that kind of riser into the baseplate.

I don't think there's a good way to do this, because the slider plate has to slide over the pucks. When I tried to figure out some way to make this work with the Burton crapons (post here), the best I could come up with was a piece you had to slide into the slider track when transitioning. It's an extra (small) step when transitioning, and is an extra piece to keep track of. But now that the drop-in crampon is there, I suppose it might be worth revisiting. Definitely more effort to engage the climbing bar than with the current Voile design (or old Burton), can't really get at it with a pole.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Spark R&D Splitboard Crampons
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:58 pm 
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Location: Durango, CO.
Hey Will,
Any word on the availability of the wider MR. Chomps. I've got a Divide 181 wide and I'd like a set of chompers but I don't want to have to modify them after the fact.
Thanks in advance.


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