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Harpoon
Trango
$139.95

Trango sent me out a set of their latest Harpoon crampons for test right after the White Mountain Ice Festival. They had caught my eye for a couple of reasons: 1) they ship capable of being set up for dual or mono-point at no extra cost and 2) the mono-point can be set up over your big toe rather than in the center of the crampon. I hoped that they would live up to my expectations.

When they arrived they were configured as dual-points, but even without instructions (they were demo units after all) the set up was dead-on easy. 30 minutes after I opened the box, and 2 beers later, I had them installed on my Koflach Expe's. I decided there was no reason not to use them the next day on my weekly outing to Frankenstein.

Standard Route seemed like the thing to do since the ice was in excellent shape and there was no one else around. On the initial easy 70 degree ice up to the cave I was busy getting used to a new set of ice tools and wasn't paying much attention to the crampons. Moving left out of the cave onto vertical ice I was concerned about the hooking placements with the new axes, and didn't have time to think about the crampons. When I got to the last pitch the tools felt so good that I took the steep line up on the right, and as I hooked my way up the 15 foot vertical curtain, I never thought about the crampons. As I usually do when I get to the top of a nice climb, I sat down & enjoyed the view and ate a snack. That's when I looked down at my feet, and I noticed the crampons. They weren't my trusty Moser Grade 8's, but I hadn't even noticed. I kicked, they stuck - I stepped, they held. Hey, what more could you ask for?

A couple of niggling points that I'm sure Trango knows about: 1) the ankle strap on the ones I got didn't have a keeper loop on it and the tail flops around unless you tuck it in somewhere, 2) snow really balls up on these babies. A lot more than on my spare Grade 8's without the anti-bot plates. Of course you could just wrap duct tape around them, but that is so declasse. , 3) tightening the nut on one of the front point bolts, I stripped it. Having a spare nut & bolt around might be a good idea if you are going to change between mono and dual setups frequently.

Conclusion:  These are excellent crampons for waterfall ice at a most excellent price, $139.95 list. Just a couple of small things keep them from getting a higher grade. Still, I have no problem recommending them.

Details: comes ready for mono or dual point

Al Hospers
March 2001

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