After much consideration, I decided to buy a pair of Black Diamond Sabertooth Pro step-in crampons last week that require front and toe boot welts, rather than strap-on ones that can be used with a wider variety of boots. The fact is, I really only intend to use them when I am wearing plastic mountaineering boots that are quite rigid and I want a crampon system that is easy and fast to take on and off.
I got to field test my new Sabertooths today and they fit very well with my Scarpa Omega Plastic Mountaineering Boots. In today’s test, I mainly used them to walk on packed snow, but got to practice some front-pointing and french technique walking up and down icy slopes. After 7 miles, my feet started to hurt a wee bit, but nothing major.
The Sabertooth Pro is a hinged, steel, 14-point crampon designed for use on snow, glaciers, and technical climbing. The hinge (orange connector between front and rear) gives them a little more flex, making them easier to walk on snow, while the heel clip and toe-bail step-in attachment system reduces torsional rotation.
The 12 point crampon system includes serrated teeth on the sides for increased traction and 2 horizontal additional fixed front points. Anti-balling (anti-bot) plates are also provided to prevent the build-up of snow under the crampons which would otherwise reduce their effectiveness and is dangerous.
The Sabertooths come with a safety strap that is connected to the rear adjustable clip and wraps around your ankle. When you put it on, it threads though a ring that is attached to a thin piece of metal (watch the sharp edges) that curls up and over the front of your boot. The webbing strap is a little long out of the box and needs to be trimmed and then flame sealed to prevent fraying.
Weight wise, the Sabertooths are 1.48 lbs, each and will add a noticeable clump to your step. A crampon holder is not included, but you’ll want one because they are sharp, sharp and with slice up anything they come in contact with.
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