Is that a crampon in your pocket, or you’re just glad to see me? Bulky ski crampons = storage dilemma. Kind of like those tire chains you hardly ever use… but there’s way more storage in your Subaru than your rucksack.
Enter the Skeat, a ski crampon that indeed fits in your pocket. Clearly, these little guys won’t do what a “blade” crampon does on a softer skin track, but it’s obvious they’ll act as ice cleats. I could have used these about a thousand times in Europe over the past decade, and on occasion in the “powder” mountains of Colorado. Apparently inventor Patrick Gasparro came up with the idea during icy approaches in the Tetons. He and friends have been using various versions for a few years, now going mainstream.
If you’ve ever strapped a chunk of rope (or moose antler you picked up in Garnet Canyon) to your skis as a traction device, you know the concept is valid. You probably also know the issue of such devices tending to slide forward and backwards on your ski; quite disconcerting. I found a way to mount a Skeat with a Dynafit binding that nicely stabilizes it, beyond that you’d want to really grinch the straps down while locating at the narrowest part of your sidecut or perhaps just behind your binding toe. Using with skins instead of slippery Ptex probably helps as well. We’ll test this coming winter, but I see no reason why Skeats wouldn’t work for their obvious purpose. That being icy conditions while climbing on skis.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.