Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampon
Editor: Cory McLaughlin
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Just the Facts:
From moderate local ice flows to classic mountaineering routes and technical alpine faces, the Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampon is our best all-around crampon for the spectrum of frozen objectives. The Sabretooth’s redesigned stainless steel construction incorporates a strong, yet light design with durable horizontal front points and increased rocker in the front rail to accommodate modern mountain boots. The dual secondary points are optimized for technical precision, while still maintaining a balanced, stable platform on descents and lower angle terrain.
- Redesigned stainless steel construction is durable, resists snowballing and won’t rust > Versatile horizontal frontpoints and technical secondary points
- Low-profile micro-adjust heel bail offers precision fit
- Pro version accommodates boots with a toe welt
- Clip version features flexible toe strap for boots without a toe welt
- For use on a ski boot, you will want to order wide toe bails sold separately
- Includes front and rear dual-density ABS
Weight Per Pair : [Clip] 910 g (2 lb)
[Pro] 890 g (1 lb 15 oz)
Materials : Stainless steel
To say that I am a very experienced mountaineer would be a lie. While I do have extensive experience hiking some of the coolest country the West can offer I just do not have much technical experience with huge snow fields and steep frozen mountainsides. Luckily there is always time to learn and that starts with having the right gear. When thinking about climbing a local mountain I knew that Black Diamond was going to be the first place I looked for the gear I was going to need.
Mt. Adams towers 12,276 feet above sea level and I have spent my entire life looking at it’s summit and wishing that I could get up there. Life is always pulling us one way or the other and because of this struggle I was never able to put that dream into action, not until this year. I was invited on a trip to climb the mountain and as luck would have it I was free and more importantly I was super willing and excited at the challenge. I knew that I would be needed some gear for the trip and I was lucky enough to be on my way to the Summer OR show in Denver.
After meeting with a Black Diamond rep I was able to arrange for some gear that I desperately needed to be sent. I settled on the Raven ice axe and the Sabretooth (Clip) Crampons. When the box arrived I was like a kid in a candy store. My wife looked at me like I was crazy as I was way too excited about this awesome gear. I even put the crampons on my feet and got a solid one step on the carpet before she yelled at me to “use your head” LOL I guess I was just too excited to think about what I was doing wearing huge spikes on our floor.
We hit the trailhead at midnight and it was our plan to make the summit and back in just one day. This was a little ambitious but nowhere close to impossible. When we hit the snowfield I knew instantly why I needed the crampons. It was slippery for sure but it was more about never give the mountain back any step you have taken from it. This hike is not a simple walk in the park and you do not want to walk 5 steps only to slide back down and have to repeat them.
The hike between the camping area known as the Lunch Counter and the false summit called Pikers Peak was easily the hardest part of the hike. The steep terrain presents a real challenge as it is entirely frozen. At this point it is walking on a glacier and that glacier is littered with sun cups which, in my opinion, make climbing a bit more difficult. We used this area to put on our crampons for what was to come. The bottom line here is that you DO NOT want to lose a step and you certainly do not want to slip and slide down the mountain. By this point your legs are properly smoked and having the ability to strap a tool on your feet that gives you the proper traction is not something that you will take lightly.
I slugged through the climb each step seeming to be ten times more laborious than the last. The hypnotic sound of steel spikes grinding and crunching through the ice was somewhat relaxing and I found myself very happy with how well my Sabretooth Crampons were handling this hike. When I made to top of Pikers Peak I was ecstatic!
We only had one last push to the summit and I was ready for it. The last hill was littered with patches of open sand and rock and small snow patches. It was a good place to take off the crampons. The rest of the hike was done without the use of crampons and the decent was mostly a glacade so again we did not need crampons.
I made the summit and got my picture standing on the top of the world well, until I looked to the north. Mt. Rainier stands a couple thousand feet taller than Adams and until I stood at the top of Adams I had never really thought about climbing Rainier. Now that I have tasted that sweet summit air I want more and have already begun to plan hikes for next year. I plan to get all 5 of the volcanoes in Washington and who knows what will come after that! I credit this new found love to having great gear and a large part of that goes to Black Diamond and their amazing line of mountaineering and climbing equipment. You would be hard pressed to hit a mountain and not see the BD logo in the hands or on the feet of another climber. Good on you Black Diamond! I gladly sing your praises and recommend you to any that ask!
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What can be done better?
Nothing that I can see at this point. Would be nice if they cam with a little carrying bag though. That said I cannot see anything that would change at this point.