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Crampons for orizaba? Alumnum or steel?


Original Post
akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

Title says it all. Doing orizaba in a couple weeks and I've heard of this "bulletproof ice" and was wondering from people who've been up there whether aluminum pons would be ok. I plan on taking kahtoolas for lower mixed section when scrambling through rocks. But when I'm on the glacier itself-are aluminum crampons going to be sufficient?

Thanks !

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

What do you currently own? If a descent pair of steel crampons I would take them. If a descent pair of aluminum crampons I would take them. I.e. not worth buying a set one way or the other.

akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

Own some stubai aluminum pons and way to many steel pons-sabretooth, g12, g14, g20 etc. stubai are sufficient?

pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

If it were me and I had no beta at all, I'd bring steel ones -- mainly for the Labyrinth section though, which can be iced over in the early mornings or have hard snow. Aluminium could be less secure moving in that mixed terrain (and wear out quickly).

Regarding upper slopes: there are occasions where the ice on the upper slopes is hard. But it's more expected to be softer than bulletproof ice -- the latter is more an exception. For the majority of cases Al crampons should be fine there; the slopes are not very steep, though they are sustained.

You could ask guide agencies or ask for beta as the trip approaches, to see if conditions warrant steel ones.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

"Bulletproof" = you want steel.

Jace Mullen · · Oceanside, Ca · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 10

When I did it in Dec 2012 I was really happy to have frontpoints. The upper glacier was pretty soft but there was an ~200 foot section of steep bullethard blue ice towards the top of the labyrinth/just below the col with the start of the glacier. Could someone have gotten up without frontpoints? Maybe if their french technique was killer but would have been slower/sketchier. I appreciated them a lot on the descent through the same as well.

Another thought is that you're really only carrying your crampons for maybe a few hours before you slap 'em on. If you were hiking up from town, sure maybe aluminum would be nice. But if you're staying at the hut and doing it in a day, the chance that you might like to have frontpoints might outweigh carrying the extra weight for a few hours at most.

You'll have a blast either way, it's an awesome mountain.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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