We’ve always liked ski crampons around here. When the snow is too soft for boot travel but glazed with ice, ski crampons can change a nightmare to a stroll. Or just slap ’em on for any steep climb and you’ll be loving life. We like ski crampons that don’t lift up with the boot as it pivots in the binding. We like them fixed to the ski. While this type of ski crampon is counter intuitive, I’m here to tell you that they work, and work well. Thus I was elated to see that Voile’s new ski crampon was the type that fixes to your ski and does not pivot up.
|Voile backcountry ski crampon.
The Voile crampon comes in two widths, one fits up to 92 mm, the other goes to 112. It fixes to your ski using a simple rotating catch attached to a small plate you screw to the top of ski. The catch is 14 mm high, and easily works with Dynafit or Silvretta Pure, is a tight fit but probably workable with Fritschi Freeride, and Naxo, but is probably too thick to fit under a Fritschi Explore. Not to worry, we discovered a long time ago that ski crampons mounted in front of the binding work nearly as well as those directly under foot — so it could be mounted that way with the Explore. Weight of catch is 1.1 ounce, 30 grams. The 92 mm crampon weighs 3.6 oz., 102 grams each.
Mounting is made easy by using a nice little paper jig that’s on the hang tag. Align, tape, center punch and drill — you’ll have the catch installed on both skis in fifteen minutes. With Dynafit TLT bindings you need to keep the mount behind the ball of the foot, but far enough forward to mount optional ski brakes. (Be sure to check clearance with boot in binding before you drill, and you may need to trim a bit of sole rubber with shorter boots.) Dynafit Comfort holds the boot high enough off the ski to allow more choice in location. What’s not to love? None of our wrenches fit the recessed area containing the pivot nut, so I had to buy a nut driver that fit. Hey, I get to own another tool, what’s not to love about that?
Over the years Voile has been delightfully consistent in taking gear concepts to reality — their new ski crampons are an excellent example of this. Which brings me to another thought: We of course would like to see these things made out of titanium. If anyone could do that it’s Voile. Thumbs up for their new ski crampons.
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.