Had a nice little package arrive from Glenn at iclimb.co.nz last week containing a nice shiny pair of aluminium crampons and ice axe. I was pretty stoked as they arrived just in time for the little speed mission up the Otira Slide. I could have packed a lighter pair of crampons, the CAMP ones I use when racing, but unlike a race where an established boot pack and fixed lines exist (sometimes even a nice guide to pull you up the really hard bits) I wanted a pair of spikes on my feet that I knew wouldn’t bend and break at the first glimpse of harder snow or rocks. The Simond Caiman alloy crampons are still very light at 720 grams (with their antiballing plates attached) but do offer a bit of beef that may be required. I used to think of my CAMP crampons as toys, but not so with the Caiman Alloys. They fit well with my XP carbon boots, and are extremely snug on my regular Dynafit 4 Lite ski mountaineering boots. The one thing I wasn’t sure about at first was the strap, which is a thread through 2 rings system. My mate had this system jam up on him which seemed to take forever to undo, but Simond has added a quick release by way of a small loop of cord, which works great. Now I could feed you a few paragraphs on the Simond Ocelot Hyperlight axe, but the truth is it stayed on my pack last weekend, so I don’t know a lot about it yet. Its a pretty turquoise colour. The one good thing I did notice about the axe on the trip up Low Peak was that I didn’t notice it at all. Its small and light, 50cm and 345gr which makes it the perfect axe for climbing in the 1+/2 range, when more often than not you’ll get away with your ski poles and the axe will stay on you pack, but you still want to carry an axe “just in case”. Hope to get up Low peak again today with Jane and will put it through its paces then.
"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966