CAMP Corsa & Nanotech, Kahtoola Crampons and Icebug Speed updates. But more importantly, a stunning day out.

Three of us were out and took advantage of the stunning conditions on the 12th. Between us we had two sets of aluminium Kahtoolas and one steel set, two CAMP Corsa and one Corsa Nanotech ice axes, a set of Icebug Speeds and a set of Icebug GGFly’s.

We climbed Beinn Dorain and had a bit of a play around while doing it as well. There was a lot of snow, from 400m up it was plastered and by 600m it was crampon compatible. Amazingly we had a whole variety of snow types, from windslab over powder, to neve to a weight bearing icy crust fantastic. The sunshine helped of course and although bittery cold it was windless, on the move all I had on all day on the top half was an Icebreaker Oasis Crew and a Haglöfs Gemini Polartec microfleece hoody. Warm and comfy, for messing about and rest stops I pulled on a Rab Neutrino Endurance (well, I needed something to pad out my OMM Jirishanca 35RL MSC) and was warm.

We meandered all over the hill, eventually getting to the summit. The studded Icebugs made a laughing stock of all other footwear on the walk in. I’ve never known grip like it. Flexible, responsive, superlight on your feet. I love these boots. When it came time to don the crampons it was at the first steep pull on the path up Coire an Dothaidh and here the ally Kahtoolas stiffen up the boot but allowed enough flex for the front points to dig into the steep snow. The steels were on a pair of regular boots and the other aluminiums were on the GGFly’s. The Kahtoolas remained on our feet until we were past the same point on the walk out. No issues, it turns out the clue was in the name “Crampons” they said. And they were right. The Snow Release Skins work fine as well, the whole Kahtoola thing went on the feet and was forgotten for the rest of the day. A sign that something is right on the money. Wear on the aluminiums was light as well, despite us picking “difficult” stuff to do like iced rock and crags above Leacann Beinn Dorain (to see what happened…).

All this time we were carrying and using the CAMP axes as well. Again they did what normal axes do. Very well in fact. They’re not as cold to hold either. We used the picks on the crags and they penetrate ice okay, and don’t blunt either. The Nanotech is very good for this of course. We did some avalanche tests and the adzes were fine for digging the trench once you had done a couple of strokes and got a handle on how they cut the snow. I didn’t notice a big difference to a regular style adze. The open ended shaft does get a plug of ice in it quite quickly and the anodizing is a little worn here as suspected from plunging through the snow.

We also all tried increasingly fast and hairy self arrests with them and ended up on some really quite solidly iced snow. The biggest incedent was the los of some paint from the pick one of the Corsas. My softshell pants are now looking the worse for wear however. I initially thought the Corsa was much more slight than it is. In use it’s proving itelf as a fine lightweight tool.

The kit was great, we even tried the Adventure Medical Kits emergency bivvy, but the photos went weird so that’s for another day.

But the day itself was better. We watched the sun rise and paint the hills of the Black Mount pink, then yellow, then blinding white. By the time we reached the ridge on Beinn Dorain the sun had come up over the tops and bathed what seemed like the whole snow covered country in a warm, pure, clear light. We could see from the Southern Uplands to Ben Nevis and beyond, from Ben More on Mull to Shiehallion and the Grampians beyond.

Stunning, absolutely stunning. The sky remained unblemished blue for a long time before the high wispy clouds crept across, diffusing the light and softening the atmosphere, to the North the hills darkened, but we were still in the brightness, sunglasses on. The sea to the West and the lowlands to the South were a blanket of inverted clouds boiling and shifting as if they weren’t sure if they were allowed to venture any further. They did eventually but by that time we were in the Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum and I was tucking into a half a roast chicken. There were even paragliders jumping off the summit. Brilliant.

We were on the hill for way more hours that necessary to climb it and it flew by. The weather, the hill itself and good friends have made it a special day that’ll always be remembered.

We nearly never went. The night before, it wasn’t looking likely.

Carpe Diem. Get out of that chair.

15 thoughts on “CAMP Corsa & Nanotech, Kahtoola Crampons and Icebug Speed updates. But more importantly, a stunning day out.”

  1. These Icebug thingies: I had a look at the website. They look quite low on the ankle. How do they perform on the approach, or whenever you get to walk over boggy ground. I do not doubt the grip and the like, but I’m just wondering what they feel like when you sink down the ankle level. My bl*^dy heavy Scarpas never get wet, and I’m sincerely curious about these Icebugs. They sound quite attractive, and I’d love to hear about this aspect.

    Moreover, where can you buy them in Scotland??


    And of course, I’m really glad you had such a great day on the hills.
    (Btw, I’ve got an Akto and I was looking for a lighter option for summer use. You convinced me to go for a Laser Competition as opposed to a Tarptent!)

  2. Great stuff. A proper winter day, nae less :o)

    Typically, my car is still at the garage so I missed it. The Gods never tire of toying with me.

  3. I’m drooling… just drooling.

    Very glad indeed to hear the gear performed as advertised.

    As soon as I’ve sorted out some things that I’d rather not be doing, but must, I’ll get myself out of this chair and out there.

    Of course since one of the things I must do is find a new contract that might make it trickier – but it will be done…

    Inspiring words and pictures as ever *ptc. Really inspiring.

  4. Kev it’s karma, you had snow the last time you were out. It’s our turn now :o) Winter’s here with a mean look in it’s eye though, there will be more days like it.

    Hey foxie.
    The ankle height is what I’m used to, I tend to wear lightweight mids most of the time, then often trail shoes and rarely boots. I find a low height and flexibility improves your mobility, dexterity and you don’t get shin splints from struggling with your foot locked in position all day and straining your legs inner workings. Scrambling, walking on any terrain any weather, it’s easier once you’re used to the difference you’ll find from regular style boots.

    They’re waterproof, with a membrane of some sort. Breathable too, my socks have been pretty fresh and dry at the end of the day. I’ve had them in mud a lot and I’ve been fine. they take a gaiter to keep the crap out of your ankle. The soft shell pants I wore yesterday have the wee intergral gaiter and they kept the snow out fine.

    They’re winter boots in Sweden, where they have proper winters, so I don’t see why they can’t be winter boots here in our driech mudfest :o)

    I know after we’d used them at first and liked them my mate a fastandlight was looking to get some in (link on the right). Up here Icebug are looked after by the same folk as Haglofs and Optimus, so if your local gear shop has those brands they might have them or be able to get them?

    Good choice on the Lasercomp :o)

  5. RedYeti, you’ll be out there soon enough.

    The days will be there.

    That’s a thing about blogs I read, you see that there is always somebody has caught a bit of blue sky, a rainbow, a sunset, that fresh un trodden snow.
    It means that a good day is never really a missed opportunity. And I like that.

  6. Lucky bastard! Looks like you have some perfect winter hill conditions up there,we have still to see any of the white stuff down here.I have managed to get myself out for a few mountainous strolls though…and have been thoroughly rained on every single time!
    Nice to see you using the Rab jacket,got a Rab glacier myself,plenty warm and comfy it is too.

  7. [IMG][/IMG]


    proof that we do get some decent weather down here,taken last year at Llyn y fan fawr.

  8. I won’t beat about the bush. Grivel Spiders are shite.
    Instep crampons are for walking about iced pavements in Alpine shopping centres, not for the outdoors.
    You walk on the front of your foot, especially uphill. The Icebugs have the studs in the right place for that. The Spiders don’t.
    The Icebugs work everywhere as well, the studs have a threshold where they’ll stay out and dig in and then retract at a certain point. It means you can walk on just about any surface and you don’t really notice, it’s just dead grippy all the time.
    The aluminium Kahtoolas are another fine option of course, they’re so light and bendy.


    The horror…the horror…. :o)

  9. Got you, so you`re not always walking on the metal points, I thought they`d be like walking on marbles when you got to hard surfaces.
    I saw some snow yesterday, not quite enough for crampons (or even a snowman) but it`s nice to see we must still get it occasionally!

  10. There’s more snow coming. The weekend looks wild.

    Another point about the Spiders is that you can tell how you walk by the way soles of your shoes wear. It’s always the toes and heel, so that’s where you want the grip.

    Unless you’re a winter tightrope walker of course…:oD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.