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Michael S.

Michael S.

Denver, CO

Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on December 8, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

TL;DR: The second best ice climbing crampon I've ever owned, ever so slightly behind the blade runner, but I like certain features of this better.

I purchased this crampon when it first came out, and have used it for about a season now, in terrain up to WI4+, but not on any real mixed terrain.

My review is based on my comparison against the other crampons I have owned/worn:
Grivel G22
Black Diamond Cyborg
Petzl Lynx
Camp Blade runner

The Good:
This crampon borrows a lot of the features of the blade runner, and improved on some of them.

Unlike most crampons on the market, the Alpinist Pro is a constructed of only two pieces - a front part (front points, secondaries etc - painted orange) and a combined heel-linking bar part (painted black). It's two piece construction is stiffer than any 3 piece crampon I have ever tried, which helps in steep terrain.

It fits asymmetric modern boots very well, without the front points being aligned - "toed in" which I have found with other crampons (Lynx), so when you kick the ice - both front points penetrate consistently and evenly.

The heel-linking bar part is not flat like most manufactures , but has a lip and engages the heel tread of the boot, helping to drive the crampon into the ice. Additionally, the heal-linking bar part also has small tabs turned upward on the side (like almost all other crampons) which was lacking on the blade runner, and keeps the heel of the boot in place with greater consistency than the blade runner.

The linking system is a real pleasure to use, and makes adjustment very easy and can be used with gloves - this is a big improvement over the blade runner, which was difficult to adjust with gloves.

Camp has also redone the heal bail clamp of this crampon, getting rid the screw adjuster that is universal in almost every other crampon, and opting instead for 3 bail locations, low, mid, and high. While you lose some of the micro adjust-ability, when combined with the linking system, you can still achieve excellent fit and confidence inspiring attachment.

The anti-balling plates are about as functional as any anti-balling plates it seems. They work well 90% of the time, but under just the right conditions, you'll be stuck knocking snow off of your crampons.

The Alpinist line of crampons has modularity - the Alpinist Auto is more of your classic mountaineering crampon (horizontal front points). If you purchase the Alpinist Auto - and get the Alpinist Pro front part, you now have two crampons for the cost of 1.5 crampons - similar to following Petzl in this regard. However - you cannot (to my knowledge) buy just the Alpinist Auto front part - which is a bit of a drag.

Less than Good:

The price point is expensive for a crampon that you cannot convert to monopoint, and some of the reason that I like it less than the blade runner.

Also the while the secondary points are very well placed on this crampon, they are not quite as good as the blade runner.

These are a little heavy to be sure - at 2.2 lbs - there are lighter crampons on the market.

For these last three reasons the Alpinist Pro loses a half star.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on November 19, 2018

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: medium

This fit, texture, and material are excellent - exactly what you would expect from Smartwool. These fit very snug - and will not add hardly any bulk, and you can easily layer with them. I would stop short of calling this a true heavyweight base layer. I've taken this out twice now, both times ice climbing in temperatures from 0F-10F, with fierce winds, and spindrift raining down on us. While climbing it felt wonderful and I stayed warm. Belaying was another story, my legs began to get cold, despite wearing a massive parka. Overall I think this is a great baselayer, but you will want to stay moving or pair this with a second baselayer if it's going to be cold, and you expect to be stationary.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on December 12, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Great little fast and light leaders pack. Great tool attachment system - should accommodate both more traditional tools as well - and the side straps hold a set of crampons well. If you pack carefully you can fit a full days worth of gear for those long approaches climbs where you don't want to leave a pack sitting at the base of the route, or want to go as light as you can.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on December 11, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Everything you have read about the harness being light, comfortable, barely there, fantastic gear loop dividers etc - are all true. However this harness survived just a few days of ice climbing before the clipper slots started tearing - much to my severe disappointment. Also the slots are poorly located, being inside the gear loops, instead of the being between the gear loops - similar to almost any other harness on the market. I have spoken to others who have trashed the harness chimney climbing in a single day - the material the harness (besides tie in points) is mostly constructed of is just thin ripstop. I am going to attempt to get a warranty claim for the harness, but I am unsure if I will keep it even then.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on July 1, 2016

1 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 9.5

I had a pair of 5.10 spires (which I love) that I sent off to be resoled and purchased these as a replacement. As of yesterday I pitched these in the trash, now that they are in need of being resoled.

Somehow I found these to be a combination of the worst possible fit imaginable after I broke them in, crumpled toes and a loose heal. Several times on slabby rock, while on lead, I had to figure out some way to maneuver myself into some stable position to crank down the velco strap to some unimaginable tightness just to avoid my heel slipping out. This is more or less the last thing you really want to do 10 feet above the last bolt. On more vertical routes, this was not much of an issue, but my toes remained just crumpled instead.

At the gym these shoes are insufferable. I had to swap out to my street shoes to belay even if only for a minute to end the torture. Instead of enjoying some nice mellow plastic jug hauls, all I could think about is how badly I didn't want to put my shoes back on. Aside from that the C4 rubber is good and I don't climb hard enough stuff to say it's anything otherwise. If these manage to fit you well they could be decent, but I cannot in good faith recommend them to anyone.

I am a 9.5 length and C width for foot size, my previously mentioned 5.10 Spires were sized at a 9. I got these sized at 9.5, the 10s were too loose.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on July 1, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 10.5

I am a 9.5 length and a C width according to those foot scales, I wear size 10 - 10.33 mountaineering boots (Salewa Pro Guides, Scarpa Rebels) and have worn either size 9 or 9.5 rock shoes (5.10 Spires, 5.10 Rogue) but I ended up in 10.5 in these! I had to order 3 separate pairs. Will update after I get a bit more experience in these....

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on May 17, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have a hard time believing there is a better crampon on the market currently, no matter what your pursuit is. You have up to 5 positions you can install the front points on, giving you tremendous freedom when setting the crampon up for any objective. Also because the front points are interchangeable, you can have a single crampon to do everything: snow, ice, or mixed. This feature alone will likely eliminate 2 pairs of crampons for most people (it has for me). Every detail of these crampons were well thought out and include features few other crampons come with. The integral heel piece and center bar make a considerably stiffer crampon than standard three piece construction. Additionally this integral piece and has two small points for providing purchase on bulges of ice which would "high center" on other crampons. The location of the secondary points is outstanding, and they consistently engage the ice providing you with a bomber platform to stand on. If you are used to 3 piece crampon construction this 2 piece will take a little getting use to, as you generally have to completely separate the 2 pieces to fit them in crampon bags, however the added rigidity makes up for this shortfall. I would consider carrying a small allen key with these crampons to keep the front points snug. While they are fitted with locking washers, it's nice to be able to snug them down at the end of the day or before you start. The only thing I would say needs improvement is the heel welt locking lever, it has functioned fine but has a cheap feel to it. Overall an outstanding crampon and incredibly versatile.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on May 17, 2015

Solid, but room for improvement
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 10.33

I've used these for ice climbing, snow climbs, scrambling, and hiking. From the moment you try these on you will immediately notice that these are very low volume boots. The fit snugly along the length of the foot and heal but have an adequate toe box. The lacing system works reasonably well and allows you to tighten the boot in separate zones - both over the bridge of the foot, and near the ankle. These boots are considerably more flexible than other boots which feature a front toe bail and are a joy to hike in as a result. They also provide more feedback when scrambling about than stiffer boots. For ice climbing you'll miss some of the stiffness, however, with a rigid technical crampon this is a great performer... provided it's about 20 to 25 degrees outside.

To make the boot so light, flexible, and nimble, some sacrifices with respect to insulation were made, and when it is cold you are better opting for another boot. This boot lacks an integral gaiter or ankle cuff - which on long approaches mean you'll likely be bringing flotation or gaiters. I skipped the gaiters on a mid February ice climb in RMNP with a long approach, and when I made it back to the car I was wringing out my socks and pouring water out of my boots.

The sole of the boot is very asymmetric and the front toe welt is actually very small and almost pointy. This makes mating the boot to a pair of crampons a bit of a challenge honestly. Almost any pair fits well in the living room, however the crampons would tend to slide towards the inside of the boot when actually climbed on. I attempted to remedy this with an asymmetrical center bar only to now have the front points kind of pigeon toed in. I ultimately went with a pair of Camp Bladerunners which are ok in terms of fit. Certainly not the holy grail of fit to be sure. I feel this is probably my biggest gripe with the boot. A more generous front toe welt is needed to open up your options for crampon pairing.

My other gripe is probably the tongue of the boot, which is basically terrible. It slides from side to side, never stays in place, and requires constant fiddling. This is a pretty minor issue, but it can be annoying at times.

Overall an excellent boot that represents a bit of trade offs, however, what you get - low volume, lightweight, flexibility and nimbleness on rock make up for it's drawbacks -lack or warmth, awkward shaped front toe welt, and annoying tongue. This is certainly not the end all be all of mountain boots, but I think you'l be happy with it provided you know this going into the purchase.

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Michael S.

Michael S.wrote a review of on January 2, 2015

Overall a pretty good mountain boot
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I am a 9.5 actual ordered a 10, which fits great. I would recommend ordering whatever size you wear for sneakers. I've worn them on multiple mountaineering routes as well as days spent ice cragging in Ouray and they have been great for both activities. I found that on less demanding activities such as approaches on snowshoes the built in gaiter has more or less eliminated the need to carry additional gaiters that go on over my boots and pants.

The ability to adjust the stiffness of the sole is pretty sweet, when released these boots really do walk much better. Many have complained about stripping out the hole that the allen key goes. I feel this is fairly easy to avoid if you clean any debris out of the slot before you turn the key. I bring a spare paperclip along for this purpose and dig any gunk out before using the allen key on the boot. 90% of the time I just set the boot on the setting I need ahead of time. I feel this has largely mitigated any problem with the allen key slot on the boot. Also the boot is plenty comfortable and I've not had any blisters even walking for miles in climb mode with it.

These boots perform best when the temperature is cold as they are really well insulated. Towards the tail end of the spring mountaineering season they were a little too warm to be comfortable to be honest. I would give them 4.5 stars

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