I think we can reduce your hardware load, Mark.
For crampons, I'd ditch the heavy stuff right now and go with something lighter. Not a "traction aid," but a true light crampon. An ideal model is Grivel's G10 ($98; www.grivel.com). These are ten-point crampons with relatively relaxed teeth angles and sharpness. They fit a wide variety of shoes, from trail runners to boots, go on easily, and offer enough grip for most moderate ice slopes. And, they're pretty lightabout 26 ounces for a pair. As for a self-arrest device, I would favor an ice ax over pole ends because of the ax's heft and versatility. Certainly, a lightweight ice ax is more than adequate for most people. You don't even necessarily sacrifice strength. Case in point: Grivel's Air Tech Racing Axe ($119), which is rugged enough for serious alpine use but weighs a mere 14 ounces, or about half your current model. Black Diamond's Raven Pro ($100; www.bdel.com) weighs even lessabout 13 ounces (in the 60-centimeter length).
Black Diamond's Whippet is an interesting gadget. It's basically an ice head that fits to the handle of Black Diamond trekking poles. I'm sure it works as advertised, but I should think it would take some practice to learn to self-arrest with a long trekking pole. I'd stick with one if you do favor this option. In case of a slip, having two pointy things flailing around may cause more problems than it solves. Moreover, the cost is $78 for one of these heads, and it weds you to BD polesnot necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit your options.
Lead Photo: courtesy, Grivel
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