Review of ruta locura "instep crampons"

Discussion in 'Reviews & Previews' started by tom, May 30, 2018.

  1. tom

    tom Section Hiker

    Somebody posted a link here (thanks :thumbsup:) and ruta locura had the crampons on sale which compensated a bit for inflated US international postage costs and the UK "processing" scam.

    I used them 7 days in a row with speedcross 4 trail runners in the Maritime alps, including one day wearing them for several hours non-stop. I quickly decided that the strap worked best by folding the tongue of the shoe back and placing the strap behind the tongue. In this way, they can be fitted (and taken of) in mere seconds with one hand while holding onto a rock or balancing with a treking pole with the other. Just slip them on, tighten gently, put the foot down to let the points grip and settle, and then tighten fully. I didn't need to re-tighten even once and nothing ever shifted in any of the snow/ice conditions I encountered. Snow conditions varied greatly from hard deep snow (1 to 2 meter) to ice and soft melting snow, avalanche debries, as well as postholing and hidden cavities (but no glacier grossings).
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    I don't like making generalising comparisons between snow/ice tools since snow and conditions are so variable but I've been positively impressed. Having only 4 points in the centre of the shoe seemed a bit counterintuitive at first but the points are quite substantial and their 20mm depth makes them IMO at least as effective as the various types of 10mm micro spikes (I have used vargo cleats regularly for the last 3 years). On hard ice, they perform as well as micro spikes.
    On softer snow surfaces, they reduce sliding about almost as well as full 10 point crampons (on such surfaces microspices/cleats have hardly any traction at all).
    The in-step points have an added advantage - I've got the front and heel to step onto rocks rather than with crampon steel points (which happens commonly on trails in my experience.
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    I carried them on my hipbelt for quick access in a pouch and 3mm closed cell foam pocket - 137g in all.
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    After getting used to them for few days, my confidence grew and I started using them as "crampons lite". Happy to recommend them for "non-technical" use...
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    Flamister, Arne L., el manana and 4 others like this.
  2. shetland_breeder

    shetland_breeder Trail Blazer

    When were you there @tom? I'm going out on Sunday to do the GR52A/GR52 circuit and i'm wondering what the snow will be like on the passes in the first bit of the GR52 from St Dalmas.
  3. tom

    tom Section Hiker

    @shetland_breeder - all of last week in the St Martin-Vesubie area (pics on pic of the day thread). Snow (from 1600m upward) is melting steadily but there was still substantial amounts at many locations at 2100-2200m (sometimes 1m +) depending on orientation. On south facing slopes, I reached 2 summits just under 2600m. But anything steep and North facing above 2000m might require a detour... Snow shoes would have been useful on some routes but I only brought the ruta locura and my 10 point steel crampons (and ice axe).
  4. shetland_breeder

    shetland_breeder Trail Blazer

    Thanks @tom. May have to make some detours as you say - another 10 days before I start heading south again so hopefully things will have improved a bit. Maybe I should take my Apex200 quilt instead of the 133 though!
  5. alex_roddie

    alex_roddie Summit Camper

    This looks really interesting. I currently have Microspikes for this usage niche, but have been less than happy with their performance on late-afternoon summer snow (and also harder ice above a certain angle – they're fine until they're suddenly not).
    tom likes this.

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