Sweet design, poor material
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I am enjoying these crampons. Some pros, some cons. Here are my two cents:
In snow/firm snow/neve mountaineering conditions, there's no difference from a traditional 12-point horizontal crampon (I've had the Grivel G12). In ice up to grade 3, I have experienced little difference as well. The BIG difference is on rock. I'm significantly more comfortable on rock in the Snaggletooth because of it's mono design. Be it 4th class or M5, these crampons perform a lot better. One point of contact with rock features = more secure than dealing with two like the G12.
These have a shorter front section than the Sabretooth or G12...probably done to shave weight. Same amount of points on each side under the forefoot, but over less of an area. This reduces security in 'french technique' on low-angle firm snow or ice. Not as bad as, but headed more towards the Petzl Dartwin and BD Stinger in this regard. I have had feet skate or shimmy a little in some terrain where I believe the G12 would have held.
The Con? Say what you will, but stainless steel is a bogus material for crampons, period. I am not worried about catastrophic failure, but simply rapid wear from climbing rock. Use these two times a year on snow on Rainier, and they'll never wear. Use them on a lot of alpine rock (which you should, you bought them for their rock performance) and you'll see heavy wear pretty quick. After maybe 10 proper days in the mountains with a decent amount of scrambling and climbing on rock, the main frontpoint has been chewed back a good bit. I have used Grivel G12, a different steel, in similar conditions and experienced maybe...20% of the wear? See for yourself...get a pair of BD stainless crampons next to another pair of regular chromolly steel ones. Find a rock with a sharp tip and try to etch your name into the metal of both. See what you find. Shame on BD for favoring a shinny, sexy appearance over function.
So? When these wear out, which they will soon, will I buy another? Maybe, because I really like how they work. Hopefully someone will come out with a similar design but use a proper material, so I won't have to.