Welcome to another installment of Editor’s Review from FREESKIER. Each week our editorial and contributors staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear they’re testing on a weekly basis. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains as possible. Read up on Pro Guiding’s Tech 250 Crampon, below, then visit us again tomorrow for more awesome gear coverage.
Tech 250 Crampon, by Pro Guiding
I walked into Pro Ski & Mountain Service in North Bend, Washington this spring looking for a light boot crampon for an upcoming trip to Mount Baker. Knowing it would be a long trip, I was looking to minimize the weight in my pack any way I could. Cumbersome, heavy—and not to mention extremely detrimental to my softshell pants—boot crampons are often the first thing I ditch at the trailhead.
Basically a half-crampon, the Tech 250 is designed specifically for ski mountaineering. Cut from a single piece of steel, the crampon has five points instead of the normal ten, and screws into the tech inserts of your boots. As the name suggests, a set of Tech 250 Crampons weighs in at just 250 gram per pair. To put things in perspective, a set of the lightest full skimo crampons you can buy weigh at least double.
It’s not just the light weight that makes a difference. The volume that a set of the Tech 250s takes up in a pack is miniscule compared to that of a full set of crampons: Wrapped up, the Tech 205s are about the size of a softball.
Washers are included for custom adjustment to your own tech boot before heading out into the field. Once you’re at the bottom of a boney, crampon-worthy pitch, simply line them up to your tech inserts and tighten the nut on either side. This can be done easily with a quarter or a multi-tool, which I always carry on backcountry adventures.
I first put these tiny pieces of steel to use booting up the Roman Wall, a steep 900-foot pitch approaching the crater rim of Mount Baker. They allowed me enough purchase to confidently ascend relatively firm snow, and they were quick and easy to screw into my boots.
While a pair of the Tech 250s is perfect for ascending a hairy couloir or a single steep pitch, Martin Volken, owner of Pro Ski & Mountain Service, UIAGM certified Swiss Mountain Guide and developer of this revolutionary piece of equipment, recommends them for fairly light-duty use, or for those with enough experience to make up for the fact that there isn’t a heel piece. There is definitely something to be said about the fatiguing aspect of only being able to front point, and it can certainly wreak havoc on your calves. Still, I’ve been perfectly happy with the Tech 250s for various day missions—and especially happy about the absence of full boot crampons in my pack.