Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A useful discovery

19th January 2009

There are times when you learned something new that you wonder why you didn’t find it before. My discovery is that I have in my possession a part of boots that take crampons, even if their maker recommends emergency use. The boots in question are the Scarpa ZG10’s that have featured on here a few times already; I think that I may be beginning to get a handle and making them fit me better, so long as laces don’t loosen, that is. Apparently, they are rated B0/B1 and that means that they can take flexible crampons like Grivel‘s G10 New Classic (classified as C1). The result of that revelation is that any barrier to a greater enjoyment of those ephemeral episodes when white wonderlands greet us has lowered just a little for me. For my tentative steps forward, it looks as if the Scarpas have a little more to offer, and I intend to treat the possibilities in a manner to acquiring a first SLR camera: there are advanced functions that allow you to grow and advance, but a spot of learning is in order first. I suppose that I need to watch that recently acquired BMC winter skills DVD before proceeding any further. I may not need new boots, but I need to know what I am doing with crampons before attempting to use them to avoid doing anything daft, overly adventurous or unsafe. A journey continues…


  • Martin Rye says:

    I must confess I am one of those bad lads who use crampons with boots not meant for them. No problems so far. Saying that it has been a while since my feet touched down on a hill side, let alone a snow clad one.

    • John says:

      Nice to know that breaking the conventions can work. All that it takes is being able to discern what works and what doesn’t in a place of relative safety. I reckon that I am a bit away from being to do that with boots and crampons at this point in time.

      Yes, you have good reasons to away from hill country. I have to say that I was reminded of you when an aunt of mine needed hospitalisation recently.

  • Alistair says:

    Give them a try in deep snow too. The problem with rigid crampons on bendy boots is the boots bend and the crampons, well, don’t!. This means the crampon straps eventually loosen and the boots start to rattle around in them and snow builds up in the gap at the front of the boot and eventually forces the crampons off. You can mitigate it to a certain extent by getting crampons with straps instead of the newmatic binding but straps are a real pain. Winter is all about confident and accurate footwork. Get that right and you’ll open up a whole new world – good luck! I’d thoroughly recommend getting some instruction if you’ve never used crampons before.

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