Click for Mount Washington, New Hampshire Forecast

Mt. Washington Temp.
Click pic for forecast.

...More Topics...

 

 

Get Firefox!

Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

Made with CSS

Validated by W3C

       
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:08 pm



Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
 Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro 
Author Message
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I'm considering picking up a pair of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Pros I hear so much about lately. I like the regular Hillsound for mixed, nor very steep terrain and soft ice but sometimes you need a little more grip. These seem like that's what they are for as well as added stability from the better binding system.

For those who have used both, or at least the Hillsounds Pro, what are the differences between those and a basic 10 point glacier crampon like the Petzl Irvis I carry with me now for very icy conditions on a regular boot? http://www.backcountry.com/petzl-irvis-fl-walking-crampon The crampon spikes may be a bit longer but only the tips go in so I don't see that as a major difference other than it might be easier to walk in slightly shorter spikes. I also have the step in Grivel G12s but their use is limited to trails I know ahead of time may require aggressive traction because I have to have the step in boot with mine and don't particularly enjoy hiking in those boots and the crampons are like walking on stilts.

Thoughts on all this?


Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:21 pm
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
The spikes are about 2/3-3/4 the length of a full crampon spike, like the Black Diamond Contacts I own (10-point strap ons). The front points are far less aggressive (OK by me). They also fit on my new winter boots (barely), while the Black Diamonds, well, I'm not happy with how they fit. They flex better too. I've only used them a few times, but I seem to carry them a couple times a year when I'm not sure about conditions but don't expect to need the full boat. I'll take a side-by-side picture of the 2 and put it here tonight.

_________________
NH 4K x6 || NH W4K || NE4K || NEHH || WNE4K 64/67 || 52WAV 19/52

My Trip Reports: http://mattshikes.blogspot.com/


Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:42 pm
Profile
Peak Bagger
Peak Bagger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:40 pm
Posts: 184
Location: Brutasaur on Franconia Ridge
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I use both flavors of Hillsounds on a regular basis, although the flavor of the basic microspike I use is the Hillsound Ultras. They use the same dark blue neoprene and velcro instep strap, but rather than two chrome moly plates, they use individual points like the Kahtoolas. I switched to the Ultras because the chrome moly plates are nearly impossible to repair. Other than that, the two seem to have the same gripping capability.

The Hillsound Pros seem ideal for the winter we're having this year. They have about 1/2 the spike length of the Petzel's you mention, and they may be lighter to carry as well. Yesterday a friend and I did the Falling Waters/OBP loop, he with the microspikes and I with the Pros. It was pretty sketchy for him, particularly in that one section prone to sheet ice coming off Lafayette, and again on the last Agony of OBP. I had to use great care as well, but not much as he did.

Besides being lighter in weight than a 10pt general alpine crampon (which means you're more likely to actually carry it in those "just in case" hikes) but it's also cheaper - $79. The binding goes on quickly, and usually stays without adjustment. Occasionally the release clip gets snagged and one of the 4 straps loosens, but not often. They do supply orange clips for this, but I've never bothered with them. They also come with built-in antibots.

Do carry the Allen wrench they provide. Yesterday one them loosened and I needed to do a field adjustment on top of Lafayette. It's the first time that's happened in 3 years.

Not only are they a great value, but IMO they're the only crampon you need for the Whites. On days when microspikes are just the ticket, I still carry the Pros if I suspect some of the steeper pitches will be more ice floes than packed snow.


Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:42 pm
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
Posts: 2752
Location: south of the notches
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I have the Hillsound Pro. Also the Kahtoola microspikes. You know where I hike. 90% of the time the spikes do the trick for me. Yesterday was in the 10% category on Osceola when I spiked up but used the hillsounds down. Other than learning to trust them and keep the foot placed facing down, they work well and provide that extra measure of comfort and safety for me. This winter I have carried them most of the time. In winters past with more snow cover the spikes have worked well - or snowshoes.

Well worth the extra $ and my husband - a rock and ice climber - tells me crampons are not for "hiking" but "climbing". Again, you know where I hike. 8)

_________________
Life is a trip ~ pack accordingly


Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:21 pm
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
Some comparison pictures for you. Black Diamond Contact Strap-on Crampons (10-pt) vs. Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro. On looking at the two in-person, the second set of teeth (first ignoring the front points) are 75%+ the length of the Black Diamonds. The other 6 points are about 50-60% of the length of the Black Diamonds. Also, the same second set of teeth I mention above are lacking the extra serration that the Black Diamonds have.

Image
Image
Image

_________________
NH 4K x6 || NH W4K || NE4K || NEHH || WNE4K 64/67 || 52WAV 19/52

My Trip Reports: http://mattshikes.blogspot.com/


Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:53 pm
Profile
Mountain Maestro
Mountain Maestro

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 485
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I have them and like them, but Hillsound themselves seem like a bunch of hacks. The "alpine stoppers" are an after thought added after the first release when they found out that snow can build up under the buckles could release them. This should have been actually fixed but hasn't been. The fact that length adjustment screw requires a tool and also is an internal hex drive is really dumb for something that is constantly in contact with the ground and getting snow and iced up. External hex makes a lot more sense. I've never heard anything good about their customer service either.

But the worst problem is that both of these sentences appear on Hillsound's webpage for the product: http://hillsound.com/hillsound-product/ ... ampon-pro/

Quote:
Utilizing simple ratchet buckle bindings, these crampons can be fastened effortlessly to most hiking footwear.


Quote:
Only stiff soled, full shank hiking or mountaineering boots should be used with the Trail Crampon Pro.


What in the actual. . .?

There is a workaround, you can pull the linking bar out of the front plate(tight squeeze) and rethread it though just the rear loop, and it creates a hinge at the ball of the foot allowing more flexible footwear to be used.

Image
I'm using trail runners year round and without this modification they would be unusable for me. No idea how safe it it though.


Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:06 pm
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I guess they should make up their mind as to what type of boot they are for, although, they may not be wrong in saying that. Just because it can be attatched to most hiking footwear doesn't necessarily mean it should be. Technicalities aside I had never heard they were only recommended for that type of boot but it's food for thought.

Kathy wrote:
I have the Hillsound Pro. Also the Kahtoola microspikes. You know where I hike. 90% of the time the spikes do the trick for me. Yesterday was in the 10% category on Osceola when I spiked up but used the hillsounds down. Other than learning to trust them and keep the foot placed facing down, they work well and provide that extra measure of comfort and safety for me. This winter I have carried them most of the time. In winters past with more snow cover the spikes have worked well - or snowshoes.

Well worth the extra $ and my husband - a rock and ice climber - tells me crampons are not for "hiking" but "climbing". Again, you know where I hike. 8)


So when you say in your reports you are using the Hounds you mean the Pro and not their regular trail crampon? They really need better names for these things.

I agree with your husband but I think there's a middle ground in winter where certain trails, or certain conditions, turn hiking into low level mountaineering I guess you might call it. When I started out (and it wasn't that long ago) I don't think spikes existed. Maybe someone knows better than I when they came onto the scene, but if they had them 20 years ago I didn't know about them. If you needed traction it was either instep 4 point crampons, walking glacier/alpine crampons like the Petzel Irvis 10pt, or more serious stuff for mixed climbing. Now, yeah, I can see where crampons are not for everyday hiking because of these new things, but crossing even the Franconia Ridge after a few good freeze/thaw cycles and I'm not interested in using basic spikes myself. Still wouldn't call it climbing, so I'll go with "mountaineering" but for now I use the 10 pts for those conditions. That's where I think these Hillsound Pro's would come in handy like Kevin mentioned. That's exactly the situation I was thinking of.

So thanks all for the info and pics. I think this is definitely something I'll be adding to my collection of traction.


Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:20 pm
Profile
Peak Bagger
Peak Bagger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:40 pm
Posts: 184
Location: Brutasaur on Franconia Ridge
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
Walrus - the adjustment you make in the connector bar is one that Grivel users have been using for years in order to reduce the stress, and therefore the failure rate, of the connector bar. As for Hillsounds use of hex nut - personally I don't think it's a poor solution. Grivel solves the adjustment isssue by punching holes at regular intervals in the bar, which some might argue weakens it. I guess if I found the Hillsounds requiring frequent tightening I'd use some Lock-Tite, but it hasn't been an issue thus far.

GraniteGuy - I think microspikes appeared on the scene sometime in the 2005-2007 area, depending upon Kahtoolas marketing. Am reasonably certain they were the first, or at least the best, at marketing their microspikes. Hillsound came out with a slightly better product, but Kahtoola made an adjustment in their heel spikes, and now they seem to have nearly identical traction. I still think the velcro strap is needed, but not everyone agrees.

What gets me steamed up is are Yaktrax. They're not even safe to cross a parking lot. Anyone caught selling them for hiking should see jail time... :D


Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:08 am
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 1329
Location: Somersworth NH
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I'd stay away. In my experience after you buy these you won't even have a chance to get out on a trail at all.

Of course that may not translate to anybody else.

And it's only been like a week and a half.

(But still, better safe than sorry, right? I mean I think that applies here!)


Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:07 am
Profile
Master Mountaineer
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:04 am
Posts: 914
Location: Worcester, MA
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
GG - You are a mind reader of the creepiest sort. I was literally going to start this thread today.
I was out on Kearsarge this weekend with a pair of Kahtoolas that I knew were pushing it. I had barely any grip at all, and decided it was time to get a new pair.

I have the Hillshound Microspikes as well (the ones with the plate). They have always gripped better than the Kahtoolas, but that bottom plate tends to slide on me sometimes.

I was thinking about going with the Hillshound Trail Crampon (or whatever the one is that's a step up from microspikes and a step lower than full on crampons). Due to the icy conditions this winter, I've carried my Black Diamond ten pointers on my pack each hike this year, but haven't had need to use them. There have been several instances, however, where the microspikes weren't cutting it and the crampons would've been way overkill. So I was heavily leaning toward getting those mid-level Hillshounds - something more aggressive than what I have now, but not a full on crampon.

Good thread, and timely.

_________________
Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop,
and an illustrated book about birds.
You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
Who needs actions when you got words?


Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:27 am
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I guess it's that kind of winter where we are all on the same page. these things look like they'll be fantastic for current conditions and the usual icy early spring hiking. I'm thinking use these when there's considerable ice to keep them sharp, the spikes on mixed rock and flattish ice and replace as needed, and that should cover 95% of the traction needs for me.

Kevin Rooney wrote:
I think microspikes appeared on the scene sometime in the 2005-2007 area, depending upon Kahtoolas marketing. Am reasonably certain they were the first, or at least the best, at marketing their microspikes. Hillsound came out with a slightly better product, but Kahtoola made an adjustment in their heel spikes, and now they seem to have nearly identical traction. I still think the velcro strap is needed, but not everyone agrees.

What gets me steamed up is are Yaktrax. They're not even safe to cross a parking lot. Anyone caught selling them for hiking should see jail time... :D


That sounds right on all fronts. Prior to that I remember using the instep crampons and stabilizers for light traction. Yaktrax are pretty much useless on the trails but I saw their "Pro" model which looked similar to microspikes only with and anti-balling plate. I haven't heard much good about them either however, and their website says they are not intended for mountaineering. Maybe regular hiking would be fine, since they look a little aggressive to use shoveling the driveway.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:14 am
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
Sizing question. The chart on the website reccomends the regular model for up to size 12 and the XL for 12-15. I have a size 12 boot and Matt said his barely fit his winter boot (I don't know what size he has) but I have one pair of regular Keen Revel II's and another leather mountaineering boot that is considerably bulkier. Any recommendations on a size I should try? I'm thinking XL but if anyone has has a better idea I'm all ears. Maybe I should just take the boots to the store if they have the XL in stock.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:33 am
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:21 am
Posts: 1820
Location: Lynn MA
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
I think you answered your own question. I would just bring the boots in and see how they fit. It's the only way to really be sure.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:45 am
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
Well, that's assuming they have both sizes in stock somewhere. But if Matt or anyone else has a pretty standard size 11 boot and they are a tough fit I'd definitely lean towards the XL if I can't find them to try out.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:52 am
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
Reply with quote
 Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
Granite Guy wrote:
Well, that's assuming they have both sizes in stock somewhere. But if Matt or anyone else has a pretty standard size 11 boot and they are a tough fit I'd definitely lean towards the XL if I can't find them to try out.


They easily fit in my size 10 Garmont Snow Momentums, with plenty of length to spare. But my new boots (10.5 Vasque Snowburban) are apparently much longer/bulkier than the Garmonts, as I had to extend the bar just about to its end to fit. But they fit, and while I've not gotten to use them on said boots yet, I have no doubt they'll be fine. The same boots both fit OK (Garmont) and not really at all (Vasque) with my Black Diamond crampons. I suspect your size 12 will need the XL, especially with the large Keen toe box.

As an aside, I was surprised how much bulkier the 1/2-size larger Vasques were than the Garmonts, especially since the summer boot I have from Vasque (Breeze) is not a bulky boot. Must be something about the insulation, they are warm!

Even if they only have the regular size in store, if it doesn't fit, you know you need the XL and can order from said store online ;) Yes, it is a potentially "wasted" trip. But my bet is on the XL being your need.

_________________
NH 4K x6 || NH W4K || NE4K || NEHH || WNE4K 64/67 || 52WAV 19/52

My Trip Reports: http://mattshikes.blogspot.com/


Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:25 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Hike-NH.com based on STSoftware.