Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rånkeipen and some unsolicited advice on ski crampons

I've had a little unplanned hiatus from the blogosphere on account of being busy with other stuff and not having much to report on. We're entering the prime season here in Norway though so I think its about time I pulled my finger out and started posting again.

Today invovled a sterling outing on Rånkeipen with Markus, Magnus and Axxa. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Suffice to say it was very fun.

Once we cleared the dense birch trees the views over Ofotfjorden were totally OK

Axxa has a red speed suit. She is also one of the most enthusiastic and speediest touring partners I've ever had.

Looking South

Looking North

Magnus and Axxa approaching the summit of Rånkeipen

Axxa covered about 2x the vert that the rest of us did.

As usual the summit pitch was rimed up and kind of wind jacked. And as usual the views were pretty decent.

The skiing was mostly dust on crust. But this is better than simply crust

Magnus and Axxa on the cruisy lower section

Markus and Ofotfjorden

Markus and Rånkeipen

And now for some unsolicted advice on ski crampons
One of the fantastic things about all the wind jacked snow in northern Norway is the great value for money we get for our ski crampons. Despite how regularly I feel like I use them I am constantly surprised by the number of people who don’t own a pair or don’t know how to fit them to their skis effectively. So I decided to share a little unsolicited instructional rant.

First off, get some. If you ever bring an ice axe and crampons on your outings in the alpine, then you will also benefit from having some ski crampons.

I have seen some weird techniques for fitting/removing ski crampons. Some people even go so far as to remove their boot from the binding to fit the ski-crampon, this is unnecessary and just as ridiculous as taking your ski off to rip your skins.

Like any decision in ski mountaineering, the choice to fit or remove your ski crampons is all about anticipation. Look ahead, think about the snow surface and slope angle. It’ll be much easier to fit on a small ledge in softer snow than on some steep boiler plate.

If I’m expecting to use ski crampons I have them hanging on a small toy carabiner from my pack somewhere easily accessible, not inside my pack. They make a nice jangling noise like chimes and mean you can put them on in a jiffy without having to take your pack off.

Step 1) Unclip your ski crampons one at a time.

Step 2) If you are fitting the ski crampon to your left ski, hold the ski crampon in your right hand and 
plant your left pole solidly in the snow/ice to help balance.

Step 3) Stand on your right ski and lift your left ski up, swing it around behind your right leg.

Step 4) Bend over and slot the ski crampon into position.

Step 5) Repeat the process for the other ski.

Below is a little demonstrational  video

Ski Crampons- how to put them on better from Kaj Sønnichsen on Vimeo.

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