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Hike-NH.com :: View topic - Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
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Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9068
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Author:  Granite Guy [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  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? 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?

Author:  madmattd [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  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.

Author:  Kevin Rooney [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  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.

Author:  Kathy [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  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)

Author:  madmattd [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  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.




Author:  Walrus [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro


Author:  Granite Guy [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro


Author:  Kevin Rooney [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:08 am ]
Post subject:  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

Author:  Grindboy [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  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!)

Author:  iagreewithjamie [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  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.

Author:  Granite Guy [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro


Author:  Granite Guy [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  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.

Author:  thegibba [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  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.

Author:  Granite Guy [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  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.

Author:  madmattd [ Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts on Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro


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