Being more skier than mountaineer, the slogan, “If I can’t climb it, I won’t ski it,” helps keep me out of trouble. But there are situations when a steep slope may be too firm to climb, but in time will soften into good skiing. Climbing steep firm slopes just requires the right tools, namely boot crampons. But, for many ski–centric mountaineering adventures, a full 10- or 12-point technical crampon is overkill. Enter the new 5-point TechCrampon 250. It’s a half-crampon designed to interface with tech-binding compatible boots and offers ski mountaineers a lightweight alternative to a full crampon. The “250” in the name references the actual weight per pair in grams.
I’ve been able to run the TechCrampon 250 on Mt. Hood several times this past spring/summer with great success and have spoken with IFMGA Mountain Guide, Martin Volken, who has used the crampon extensively on Haute Route trips and guiding in the North Cascades. The bottom line: it works well and is a great alternative to packing a full set of crampons for many ski mountaineering objectives.
It’s a specialized tool for ski mountaineering. Like a ski crampon that only gets used when conditions and terrain align to demand it, the TechCrampon is a niche tool for ski descent minded users looking for a lightweight boot crampon. Given you only get five points at the front of your boot, the crampon is designed for ascent, not descent, as it does not offer the security of heel points when walking down a slope – that’s where the skis come in. What it does offer is solid purchase when front pointing on snow and booting up or across more modest hard snow slopes. It’s made of steel and the points are significantly sharper, and more robust, than any aluminum crampon I have seen.
The design uses the existing tech fittings on the boot toe and an adjustable pin on the crampon to tighten it in place. Because every boot is slightly different in its toe shape, fitting the crampon to your boot requires an initial set-up phase where you set the spacing required for the toe bumper. But once set, the crampon is incredibly easy to attach and remove. It also packs nicely nested into a set of ski crampons.
According to TechCrampon designer, Manfred Quaeck, the crampon has gone through several design phases to reach the final product, but the basic attachment concept was the same from the start. Finding the right material (it’s made of 11-guage steel) and the best orientation for the five points required some r-and-d. With input from other skiers including Volken, the final design came to shape.
Rank beginners might be best served by spending some time with a standard 12-point crampon, but anyone with crampon experience looking to lighten their load and simplify their kit for spring tours and technical ski descents will appreciate the TechCrampon 250’s simplicity. Contact ProSki and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA to get a pair. $115.