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Strap in and step out.
Designed with competitive ski mountaineering in mind, the CAMP USA Race 290 crampons work with any tech-binding-compatible AT boots. No longer do you have to wrap several feet of webbing around your boots. CAMP went with aluminum construction and even a Dyneema strap for a center bar to cut weight as far as possible.
- Dyneema linking strap adds strength while reducing overall weight
- Lightweight and durable 7075 T6 aluminum provides the durability of a burlier design without adding unnecessary grams
- Included carry bag makes transport a breeze
- Q & A
Pretty darn close to advertised weight. Weighs in at 5.17oz for a single crampon - 10.24 for the pair.
Outstanding Design -- with some mods...
Even lighter weight than CAMP's other all-alu models? Check!
Folds away to a trivial size in your pack, with the points partially protected? Check!
Fit? With some modifications, very good on a TLT5, but loses a star because such modifications are necessary.
So, set up as-is with the Dyneema connectors (I didnt bother testing the metal bars), the fit is rather loose for general ski mountaineering use (although they always stayed on during my short practice sessions), and probably more well-suited to very straightforward boot ladders at races. (The relatively loose fit is a function of both the maximum achievable tightness of the Dyneema, and the way the rear heel nubbin fits up against the back of the ski boot sole.)
But with just several minutes of work (learned from several hours of testing & sleuthing ), dremmel off the heels rear nubbin/stopper, dremmel off ~4mm of the heel pins (plus round off the sharp ends a bit), fiddle with dialing in the correct length of the Dyneema, and the fit is very secure. (This tight fit is a function of both the additional tightness thereby achieved of the Dyneema, and the way the heel "throw" is cradled up against the end of the boot sole.)
I know that taking a dremmel to crampons sounds scary, but the modifications do not affect the crampon's structural integrity, and the fit is far more secure with them.
Brilliant idea, immature product
The lateral security of the toe piece was pretty questionable when using the dyneema strap regardless of how much they were tightened. Stability improved with the aluminum center bar, but the tech fitting heel attachment wasn't as stiff as a traditional cam clamp. With the dyneema they couldn't pass the carpet test without a lateral blowout, so they aren't going to mountains with me. Front pointing would probably be ok, but french technique type forces didn't work. They basically need lateral retainer posts on the toe piece similar to a typical heel retainer tab, as the strap can't resist torsion like a traditional metal center bar.
In their defense, I was attempting to pair them to a dynafit TLT5 boot which tends to be a very difficult boot to properly fit a crampon. They might match up better to a boot with a wider sole block like an F1. Because of the clever design I had to try these out firsthand, and maybe the next generation will solve the issue. They sure did pack down small, and the thinking behind them is in the right place.