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Thread: stabilicers vs. crampons

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jason Berard's Avatar
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    stabilicers vs. crampons

    I am relatively new to winter hiking,especially above treeline. During the past couple of years, I have been using crampons when necessary on icy terrain.
    While They are extremely effective, they are somewhat difficult to pack safely. The point cover thing they came with lasted one season and disintegrated, so now I worry about shredding something with these suckers. I am going to get some stabilicers to relieve this concern, plus I think the crampons are a little bit overkill much of the time.
    So my question is : Are the stabilicers sufficient for most of the conditions I am likely to encounter in the Northeast? Since I just wrote the word "northeast" I wonder if this belongs in that forum. If so can someone move it?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member NH_Mtn_Hiker's Avatar
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    Stabilicers will do the job very well on most terrain except steep hard ice. This is where you need the crampons.

    In addition to Stabilicers working very well on icy trails, they're also great for stream crossings. They give you some extra grip on wet, slimey, or icy rocks. I use them a great deal on well packed trails, just the right amount of traction ascending and descending. Sometimes, especially later in the year, I carry both.

    ...And, since the Stabilicer's Vibram sole strapped to the bottom of your boot is about 3/8" thick, that's that much more insulation under your boot.

    Stabilicers can also be used for emergency signaling. Just light them on fire. Rubber burns very hot and puts out a lot of smoke.
    Warning: Cut the nylon straps off first as the fumes from burning nylon are lethal.

  3. #3
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Above treeline - crampons
    Steep trails where a fall could be dangerous - crampons
    Relatively flat trails without hard water ice - Stabil-icers, Yak-traks

    That would be my choice.

    You can get a tough crampon bag that won't rip, makes carrying them much easier.

    -dave-

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I've used the crampon bag for a number of years without incident, the bag is strapped to the bottom of my pack so the couple of holes now coming up but they are far away from me. If you are hiking behind me you don;t want to hug my pack but since the axe & snowshoes are attached to the pack too, that's not really a concern.

    The only traction device I carry are crampons (heck I don't even than 10's I have 12's which I'll admit is more than you need)

    If I was going to shop for another thing to strap on my feet for traction I'd probably look at Kahtoola's, very flexible almost crampons that are made for very flexibel boots (like the Columbia, EMS & Merrell insulated winter shoes/boots.)
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  5. #5
    Senior Member roadtripper's Avatar
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    Hi Jason,

    I asked this question last year and received many great responses:

    stabilicers vs crampons

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    For me the Stabilicers work very well when the ice is really thin, as was the case a couple weeks ago. They're much better at sticking to ice than Yak Traks, according to those who've tried both.

    For the steeps and above treeline, there's no substitute for crampons. The Stabilicers just aren't deep (long?) enough to get a good grip on serious ice that may have some snow cover. They don't have front points, either.

    Oh, and like Metsky said on the crampon bag. Mine's an OR, works great.
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

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    Senior Member skidoc22's Avatar
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    Stabilicers have served me quite well during this time of year in the ADKs where the ice is not terribly hard or thick. I agree crampons are overkill on the thin rime ice and softer stuff we have during the "shoulder season." When winter comes full force and you are on thicker ice the crampons will be more secure. I have used the stabilicers on above treeline peaks such as Algonquin during November and have made out fine. Sometimes you have to stomp them down a bit if the ice is harder but I hate scraping along rock with my crampons.
    Do what you love, love what you do

  8. #8
    Senior Member yardsale's Avatar
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    I expect delivery on a pair of stabilicers for Pat tomorrow. We will hike somewhere this weekend using stabilicers and crampons on the same terrain. Pat is lighter than I am by 50 llbs but the comparison may still prove interesting. Will report later.

  9. #9
    dvbl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Berard
    While They are extremely effective, they are somewhat difficult to pack safely. The point cover thing they came with lasted one season and disintegrated, so now I worry about shredding something with these suckers.
    You can get some 1/2 inch or 1 inch thick semi-hard foam (think of a sleeping pad, but thicker). You might have some lying around your house that was used to pack something you bought. If not, you can get it at any hardware store for cheap. Cut out a piece a little bigger than your foot. Stick one crampon into one side of it, and the other crampon into the other side of it. So, the points are not only stuck in foam, but they're also facing each other. Safe for packing, and also for lashing to the outside of your pack. I do this for snowshoes, too.
    Last edited by dvbl; 11-03-2006 at 07:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    first off to switch from crampons to stabilizers because the crampons points are sharp did make me smile, but to the point. Buy a crampon bag, mine is from ragged MTN equipment and is at least 15 yrs old, never had an issue and it straps right to the outside of my pack. Dave M. said it best before me. To only carry stabizes on any of the more serious terrain in NH is asking for trouble period. I have seen stabilizers used alot on the lower reaches of some trails with alot of success but that is where they should stay, down in the woods.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jason Berard's Avatar
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    Thank you all for such great responses! I had no idea there was such a thing as a crampon bag! I really like the crampon/ foam sandwich idea! My wife came home with the stabilicers tonight, so it seems that my feet will be well prepared this winter. I especially like the fact that the stabilicers can act as a rescue aid. Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom, I definitely saw plenty a burn pile started with some nasty old tires! The extra insulation factor is also something I wouldn't have considered. Thanks again everyone! I will definitely go out and get a crampon bag

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jim lombard's Avatar
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    I haven't tried the Stabilicers yet. My Charlot Moser 6-point crampons work great for most terrain and I can't seem to wear them out (6 winters now.) When they wear out, I may switch over.
    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.

    http://www.onchristspath.com/4Kpage.html

  13. #13
    Senior Member KenG's Avatar
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    What exactly is a stabilizer? A four point mid-crampon, maybe?

  14. #14
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Stabilicers

    -dave-

  15. #15
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    As for carrying crampons, I just aim mine in towards each other in the bag they came in, which is just regular nylon.
    Tom Rankin
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO

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