Sounds like a plan.

Depart: Pegasus Ice Runway, Antarctica ~ February 25, 2006
Arrive: Boulder, Colorado - May 27, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Busy busy busy

Back into that kind of busy where you look back a week or two and nothing has changed. Of course not everything is the same, just feeling like my life is settling back into something like normalacy. Been moving more through time and less through space for a change. Still spending a fair amount of time working up at the outfitter and either hiking or working on electronics stuff the rest of the time. Have laid out some plans for the next month or so, made arrangements for a rides to get where I need to go, and finished up with my ordering toys from various gear companies. At this point, I've basically acquired enough new stuff that I've now got a full winter mountaineering setup to cover pretty much anything up to technical ice climbing. Yay! Hopefully will be able to get out into the mountains a bunch this coming year or so to use some of it. The list of new, big, items at this point looks like:

Western Mountaineering Puma SDL sleeping bag
La Sportiva Makalu boots
Black Diamond Sabretooth clip in crampons (more later)
Exped Sirius tent
Exped Down Mat 7 pad
Outdoor Research hats, gloves, etc.
Small stuff that'll get use year round like a snazzy compass, silk liner bag, fresh closed cell foam pad, casual clothes, etc.

So, regarding those Black Diamond Sabretooth clip-in crampons... Short version - I'm not too impressed, get the Grivel G12 instead. I've used the "New Classic" version of the G12s and liked them, and the "New Matic" version that's comparable to the Sabretooth clip has a better (IMHO) clip arrangement than the Sabretooth (see below.) Nevertheless, I can't get Grivel, but can get Black Diamond stuff through pro deals or wholesale at the moment, so that's what I've got.

Longer version would be that the Black Diamond crampons don't seem all that solid to me. The main thing that I don't like is that the little clip arrangement in the back is attached such that if it breaks at all, the crampon isn't held onto your foot. As illustrated in the picture, the strap is sewn onto the plastic clip at two different points individually, but it's not attached to itself. What this means is that if either of those little ears breaks off, and that doesn't seem all that unlikely to me given that it's plastic and it's on the very back of your heel, the strap will effectively not loop around your foot and the clip will be free to unbuckle. In that situation, the main attaching mechanism is obviously open, and the safety strap that would otherwise hold the crampon to your boot isn't there to help either. Whoopsie! So, as also illustrated in the picture, I tied a little loop of kevlar thread in as a backup in case it ever does break. Nice to have that stuff lying around, it's nearly as neat as ducktape :) My little fix is something that I'd not want to rely on, but it doesn't interfere with normal operation and hopefully I'm worrying about nothing in the first place so it won't matter. Other main complaint about the sabretooths (and much of Black Diamond's gear for that matter) is that their designers seem obsessed with sticking their logo everywhere possible. I find that annoying. Their diamond logo is present (as in stamped/molded in) 8 times on each of the crampons themselves, not counting the strap where it's dyed into the webbing (everyone seems to do that, so I'm not counting it,) and the words "Black Diamond" are both silkscreened onto each crampon once, and are on a silly little rubber tag that's sewn into the straps. So, again not counting the webbing, that's 20 instances of a Black Diamond logo/insignia per pair, not counting the optional ABS plates which I have on backorder. The logos can't do anything to help the performance of their products, and definitely add cost, so what's the point? Why is 20 times better than say 4? It's obviously just about the looks, but I personally think it just looks stupid.

The bug(fix):

So, I suppose that's enough for one post. I'll probably be posting a bunch more crap on here later since I'm finally getting around to organizing pictures from the last 8 months...


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