October within the Bow Valley often brings a minimal collection of ice routes to get pleasure from and never sufficient snow for good snowboarding. Like different eager climbers throughout shoulder season, common Gripped photographer, Tim Banfield, appears to seek out himself drytooling throughout this time of 12 months.
For these not within the know, drytooling requires aggressive ice instruments and leather-based boots with crampons – however not the identical kind of crampons that you simply’d use for mountain climbing. As a substitute, climbers use a lighter model of a crampon that truly bolts on to a selected kind of boot referred to as a comp boot.
On his first time out this season, Banfield visited the favored Playground, a crag nestled excessive on Grotto Mountain identified for its deep choose holes and well-bolted traces. On that day, he was carrying comp boot-style crampons designed extra for combined climbing fairly than drytooling. On his second time out, Banfield visited Alcatraz with seasoned drytooler Greg Barrett, a crag with a large roof and tough traces – additionally discovered excessive on Grotto Mountain. Banfield swapped his combined crampons out for the CAMP T-Dry, a drytool-specific crampon that excels on steep rock.
Banfield mentioned in depth the variations between drytool-specific and combined crampons with Barrett, after he belayed him on his route Kabukimono D12+. “Greg began the most effective gear overview I had heard,” mentioned Banfield, “so I shortly grabbed my cellphone and videoed the dialog.”
Right here’s what Barrett, one of many high Rockies drytool climbers, needed to say: Camp T-Dry crampons are the most effective bolt-on crampons on the market for steep drytooling and combined climbing. Final season I used them to FA this new D12+, referred to as Kabukimono. It’s at the moment tied for the fifth hardest route within the space. Like on many steep and horizontal routes, it was important to toe into tiny pockets from a entrance lever place whereas on the route, and no crampon does that higher than T-Dry.
The 2 most vital facets I really like about these crampons will not be having secondary factors and having an aggressively downturned and serrated entrance level. The pump feels a bit extra manageable understanding that the entrance level will stick and received’t get rocked out by secondaries as you progress facet to facet. The load financial savings of not having that additional metallic doesn’t damage both.
Most bolt-on crampons at this time have secondary factors, and in case you’re climbing onerous ice, it’s definitely one thing you need. Nevertheless, most dry and combined routes fall into certainly one of two classes: Both they aren’t overhung sufficient to warrant utilizing combined boots within the first place, or the ice element of the route isn’t onerous sufficient to make secondary factors essential. For the reason that rock efficiency would be the figuring out think about whether or not or not you ship, you would possibly as nicely stack the chances in your favor! I’ve seen loads of holds with the telltale scratches of secondary factors getting in the way in which and seen loads of climbers left dangling by their arms after their entrance factors didn’t fairly stick.
The entrance factors on the T-Dry’s hook down extra aggressively than many different fashions. On lower than vertical terrain, this added top can cut back stability. However on steep and overhanging terrain, it’s an enormous asset. It implies that your crampon bites more durable for a similar toe-pointing and physique stress as in comparison with different fashions. This interprets into extra safety and fewer exertion.
The raking factors on the T-Dry’s are additionally well-designed. They’re splayed and pointed again simply the correct quantity to hook into small pockets. However they aren’t so splayed and hooked that they get caught up on the rope throughout rock footwork or in Determine 4s and 9s. The one tooth on these factors all the time finds a house on cabinets or in pockets.
We agree with high drytooler Barrett that if you wish to climb onerous drytool traces, look no additional than the T-Dry. If having secondary factors is essential, then contemplate the Dry choice, which embrace a heel piece.