It’s now the end of the long winter season, and though the weather wasn’t conducive, the hiking gear got occasional use and should be cared for now that you are in hibernation.
Begin to speculate on how to store your equipment, especially the crampons, to minimize the risk of mold, mildew, varmints, rust, and several other unseen casualties.
Crampons are the foolproof method to traverse slippery, hard snow and ice – as long as you know how to use them. This article is all about crampon care, so let’s delve into how to take care of your crampons.
Crampon Care: How to Clean the Crampons
Before you plan to go on a trip, first check your crampons. You should ensure that they are in excellent condition, working accordingly, and ready for the adventure. So, if they have dirt and grime, clean those crampons!
- Detach the crampons from the boots. It’s recommended never to store them on the footwear as it makes the rubber too dry and snaps, or instead, the steel could end up rusting.
- Take a clean and damp washcloth and wipe off any excess grime.
- Rinse the gear in lukewarm water and lay them dry.
- Once the crampons dry, do the folding and ensure that the spikes face inwards and store in the crampon bag.
- Ensure they are stored in a relaxed, dry environment.
- For extra care, you can apply natural or synthetic oil to those steel chains. It assists in warding off any rusting.
- After that, you can eyeball the screws on your crampons to ensure they are secure and tight. Suppose they look tattered or worn out; you could replace them with new ones.
- Also, ensure the boot welts on the heels and toes are adequate to ensure they fit tightly on the crampons.
Generally, the crampon components should be in working order to avoid nasty surprises while hiking on the snow or ice.
Dial-in the Work Area
While working with any technical gear or tools, setting up a well-lit, comfortable, and safe environment is advisable. Note that sharpening leads to metal cravings; therefore, sharpen your crampons in a simple-to-sweep place.
Sharpening your Crampons
As you continue to use your crampons, their ‘bite’ inevitably becomes dull. As a result of the metal warping nature, it’s good to sharpen by hand using a file and not a grinder. It would be best if you only sharpened it when the point tips get significantly rounded over.
You begin by dusting off and rinsing the dirt on the crampon and wiping them dry completely. Based on your design, you might be in a position to detach the heel from the toe part-if it’s possible, you should do it.
Some people opt to put the crampons in vice versa to sharpen them, and that is fine! But ensure not to make the metal bend. Also, you can opt to hold your crampon but have your gloves on for protection purposes. Using your coarse file, you should start filing the points and side of the crampon spikes as you follow the initial forge.
While filing, you should make sure to strike a line from your crampon’s frame to the tip; it should appear straight. And avoid using a grinding wheel; it generates heat that weakens the metal by alternating the temper of your steel. It would be best to straighten the bent areas as much as possible; you can use a hammer or a file to feed the direction.
When it comes to mountaineering crampons, ensure the sharpness is equivalent to a sneak knife, and for the vertical or technical crampons, the sharper it is, the better. For a more detailed step-by-step article, follow our guide on how to sharpen crampons.
Coddle the Crampons
After sharpening your crampons, take a clean rag to wash and wipe them. You should carefully inspect them and look out for burrs, chips, or warped edges.
Evaluate the points to see if they are oddly shaped, getting thin, or noticeably shorter, and it might signify time for a replacement.
Flex Bar Flipping
Due to under-pronation or over-pronation, one side of the gear point might wear down quicker than the other side. After prolonged use, the right and left flex bars can be interchanged to square up the erosions of the points of your crampons, hence boosting their lifespan.
So, as you pack for an adventure, check the crampons for wiggly screws, loose rivets, worn-out buckles, and straps; you can either adjust or replace them as required.
Also, the toe and heel section should be in excellent working order to fit the boots snugly. Pack a repair kit that includes a baling wire, multi-tool, and spare parts such as straps, extra center bars, and bails for lengthy trips.
Protection from the Crampons
The spiky points on the crampon can hurt you; therefore, it’s best if you protect your gear and yourself. There are padded crampon cases that are readily available in the market, and they make it easy to store and pack the crampons.
However, there is a cheaper option; you can purchase the rubber point cases that slide onto the points providing a less bulky and more protection option.
A crampon storage sleeve or bag is an essential item to invest in. The sleeve shields the crampons themselves and the other gears such as harnesses or ropes protected from crampons’ sharp points if thrown in one bag altogether.
You can further offer protection using the crampon crown; it’s a lightweight ring of rubber or plastic coverings that ensure the sharp points aren’t in contact with items while in storage or transit.
Finally, they should be entirely dry before storage; sitting with moisture will only make the metal rust. For long-term storage, clean and dry the crampons, then applying a light coating adds a layer of protection that goes a long way.
It would be best to store away from direct sun to avoid the harmful UV rays that damage the non-metallic components like toe cradles and heel throws.
Final Thoughts on How to Care for Crampons
During winter, the gear and crampons get wet and then dry, and this continues for a longer time throughout the season. The more active you are through the season, the more paramount it is to take good care of your gear since it takes great care of you.
Though this guide does not have all answers for crampon care to extend its lifespan, it would be best to start with the mentioned habits. For gaining further knowledge about crampons, learn how to choose crampons from the mentioned guide.
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