I ordered a pair of the Hillsound Trail Crampons to use in less technical scenarios in order to save wear and tear on my aluminum mountaineering crampons. I have put them through their paces on several challenging ascents and have been pleased with their performance, even when I took them into more traditional mountaineering situations (which they are not designed for).
The Trail Crampons are designed for just that...trails. They lack aggressive front points which are necessary for icy, steep terrain. I did ascend Mt. Hood with them and despite the very tenuous grip, I was able to make it up and down the icy Pearly Gates chute in them. Definitely not recommended, but a good demonstration of how these crampons exceeded expectation.
|Summit of Mt. Hood, Oregon|
What I love:
The built in anti-balling plates.
The ratcheting harness system.
What could be better:
Aluminum rather than steel (weight savings)
Having had anti-balling plates fall off of other crampons I like the fact that these are built in. The ratcheting harness system means I can put these on and off in seconds and I haven't experienced slippage which I often do with a traditional webbing harness. This is essential for me in my fast and light endeavors. The harness is also comfortable on trail runners as well as boots, which is not the case with webbing designs.
The steel points grip exceptionally well for being shorter spikes. As I said, I've taken these on steep terrain and felt like they were adequate even though I was stretching them beyond their design. As a flat terrain crampon they are bomber. I would recommend them for early season thru-hikers dealing with consolidated snow as well as winter hiking.
If Hillsound ever took this harness design and made an aluminum as well as a steel 12 point mountaineering crampon I think they would dominate the crampon world. I would certainly use them. In short, these are the most comfortable and versatile crampon I've used.
From the Hillsound Website:
– Spike Material: Heat-treated Carbon Steel
– Chain Material- Stainless steel
– Harness Material: Elastomer
– Spike Height: 1.5cm / 2/3″
– Spike Number: 11
– Weight (per pair): 414g (XS), 440g (S), 462g (M), 502g (L), 518g (XL)