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Reviews > Snow Gear > Crampons > Stubai Light Combi Crampons > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Stubai Light Combi Crampons
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW
November 24, 2006

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Stubai
Web site: www.stubai-bergsport.com
Product: Light Combi Crampon
Year manufactured: 2003/4
MSRP: N/A
Stated weight (each) : 12.1 oz (343 g)
Length longest possible stated: 14.5 in (36.8 cm)
Length shortest possible stated: 9.0 in (22.9 cm)
Width (at widest point) stated: 3.5 in (8.9 cm)

Crampons

Product Description

The Stubai Light Combi (hereafter called Stubai or crampon) is a light weight 10 point crampon constructed primarily of aluminum. A steel center plate attaches the two crampon sections. A steel spring plate is affixed at the back of the heel piece and has a steel peg that goes into the hole of my choice on the center bar locking it at the length I need.

A plastic cradle (sometimes called a “scottish-toe”) is mounted on two risers at the front of the crampon. The front of my boot slides into this cradle. At the back of the crampon is a steel bail with a plastic heel lever at the very back. A set-screw comes off allowing the heel lever to be adjusted for height.

A nylon webbing strap runs through the heel lever and through a hole on the cradle and then into a spring-loaded steel closure.

To put the crampon on my boots I slip the toe of my boot into the cradle. The bottom edge of the heel lever goes into the crampon groove at the back of my boot heels. Then I lift the lever up and push it into the boot. It cams forward and snaps into place against my boot. I then tighten the strap by pulling on it. This causes the strap to easily slide across a steel roller on the closure. Once I stop pulling small teeth on the closure bite into the strap holding it firmly in place. Loosening the strap requires lifting the closure gate away from the boot from the inside. It is difficult to do and impossible to do by accident. It is one of the best straps I have ever encountered.

On boots


While this combi attachment is made for pneumatic compatible boots it can be used with boots that have an extended welt contruction. (Goodyear welt, etc.) Modern boots with glued on soles and no crampon groove can not be used with these crampons. A universal attachment system (strap-on) must be used in those cases. Stubai does make this crampon with such a configuration.

Each section of the crampons has four 1.5 in (3.8 cm) downward spikes along with two more front-pointing spikes on the front sections. The front sections have the left and right identified for ease in applying.

Field Conditions

In the three seasons I have owned these crampons they have been with me on fourteen multi-day trips. Five of these have been in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, four in the White Mountains and vicinity, three at Mount San Jacinto, once on Mount San Gorgonio and one trip to Mount Shasta. (All are in the state of California.) Temperatures have ranged from 9 F to 50 F (-12 to 10 C). Elevations have ranged from 7000’ to 13200’ (2100 to 4000 m) Snow depths have ranged from 4’ (1.3 m) to God-only-knows. Snow conditions have run the gamut from hard packed snow, iced over snow and glacier ice.

Observations

I bought these crampons for two reasons. The very good crampons I had been using to that point were fully automatic crampons, meaning once adjusted to my boot I can just click them on, affix a safety strap and I am good to go. The problem with them is they are made only for plastic-double climbing boots. I had some LaSportiva Makalu boots that were supposed to accept autos but found that they did not hold securely on them. I had them pop off twice on a climb of San Jacinto, the front bail being the culprit, and decided I better remedy this problem before I find myself in a world of hurt. Hence the change to the Scottish-toed Stubai.

The other reason was for weight reduction. My old crampons are wickedly sharp steel 12 pointers suitable for any mountaineering or ice climbing pursuit. As most of my use does not need this kind of strength, and I rarely am on mixed terrain where I will have to be on a lot of exposed rock I decided to go with the lighter aluminum crampons.

It was a decision that worked very well for me. These have been great crampons. They pack down to a very small package which fits nicely into my lower-volume-is-better philosophy when backpacking. They are almost half the weight of my old crampons.

They are very easy to put on my boots. The cradle-toe design does not add much time to installing them over my autos. Once on they stay on. I have never had them release on me.

They are not as sharp as my steel crampons. This is because the aluminum, while it can be filed to a sharp point, will just bend over due to its soft nature. But the rounded tips have been fine for the type of use I put it to. When climbing Mount Shasta we took off at 3:00 AM in 12 F (-11 C) temps. As the day before the snow had started thawing it was frozen hard with an ice layer on the top when we took off. I had no problem getting a secure bite with the Stubais. As we got to the Red banks (one of the steepest areas on that route) I had no difficulty kicking steps and front-pointing straight up the mountain. Here is a picture of them at Misery Hill.

On Shasta


We got clobbered by a storm near the summit and watched a white-out rushing at us. We turned around and went down as fast as we could to stay ahead of it. I did not want to glissade at the steepest parts of the descent but did practically run plunge-stepping back down towards Helen Lake. The Stubais performed flawlessly.

I like these so much that I have used my steel crampons only once since buying the Stubais. I look forward to many more trips with them holding me to the side of a mountain.

Pros: Light weight, fits a lot of boots, fast application

Cons: not as sharp or strong as steel crampons

Cruising

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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