Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No strings attached

To help with my outdoor travels this winter I ordered a set of crampons.  I got a lightweight aluminum set, which are not quite as durable as the heavier steel ones, but you only need that extra durability if you wear them for long periods and walk over a lot of rocks as in serious mountaineering, which ain't what I'm doing.

One of my Texas friends, who is otherwise a mature and contributing member of society, cannot hear the word "crampons" without breaking into giggles because of its similarity to another word.  When I told him I was going to get some crampons for this winter, he was helpful enough to suggest I get the maxi size and with wings, in case I fell off a mountain.  I am rich in friends.

But, despite any unfortunate association with the name, crampons are excellent for getting traction on ice and snow slopes.  With these babies I can stay free to snowshoe up the ridge behind my cabin and still be able to get back without bouncing down it like I did last year.

The snow is not really deep enough yet for snowshoeing, but I figured it would be good exercise to snowshoe back to the ridge so I could try out my new toys.  While snowshoeing, I carried the crampons in a nondescript bag in my day pack.

Snowshoes really sink in the dry powder snow we get up here.

Looking up the ridge.  The temps have gotten above freezing a few times, so there is a little ice under all the new powder, which is what caused all my traction problems last year.  I stopped here to switch from snowshoes to crampons.

I only went about a third of the way up the ridge since this was just a test drive.  Crampons are much easier to walk in than snowshoes, and the traction was excellent.  You really can't see anything in this pic, but I was standing on a steep downhill slope and the crampons' points were well dug in.  It was a successful test drive.


  1. Look at the teeth on those puppies! Glad they worked well and you didn't bust your butt going back down that steep ridge.

  2. I giggled too, but let it be known that I am also otherwise a mature and contributing member of society. In fact, I have the following mature contributions to this discussion: (1) It reminds me of some research I am doing--I ran across a case where one of the parties is named Maxine Tampon; and (2) maybe they have a walking stick called a "Hemorr-rod" (teehee). It will keep you from falling and hurting your butt (teehee).


  3. LDB, that's the funniest comment we've had in a looong time!

  4. I laughed, but not quite that hard.