The night before we set off we’d booked a Bed and Breakfast in Fort William, just to make sure we had a good start the following morning. We’d both brought along Kahtoola KTS Crampons as well as Hillsound Trail Crampons – leaving the choice of which to take to the last minute when we could look up and see how much snow was on the tops.
Although we dithered a bit the choice was clear – it would have to be true crampons because of the uncertainty of the weather over the next few days – and the fact that there were already great patches of snow on the slopes we could see.
This was the right choice – so the effort expended in the room fitting the cramppns to our boots was well worthwhile. The ‘secret’ of KTS crampons is the leaf spring that runs down the centre, joining the front section to the rear, it’s very springy without suffering damage, this means the crampons can flex with the boots you’re wearing without running the risk of them ‘springing’ off.
Fitting them to my boots was fiddly, a spring locking mechanism allows you to set the length according to your size of boot – then the rest of the task is about adjusting the straps through congested buckles until they were a good snug fit round your particular boot. Thankfully, with relatively stiff boots (Scarpa Marmolada Trek) this could be completed with the boots in your hands rather than on your feet.
I have to admit to dreading having to put them on as the initial sizing had been fiddly – however I needn’t have worried – when the time can they went on like a dream no messing and no wasted time.
Once in place they’re solid, we wore them for about three hours straight; on the final ascent to the summit of Ben Nevis then, during a white out, on the descent through broken and rough ground because the path had been obliterated by snow and was impossible to find.
During this time and wearing them for the ascent of Carn Dearg two days later my foot placements always felt positive and secure, KTS crampons have full size points so the bite is as good as any walking crampon. They gave us confidence and allowed a confident climb up and down relatively serious snow slopes that we couldn’t have tackled without them.
The choice of KTS Crampons or Hillsound Trail crampons was also vindicated as the Trail crampons would have been swamped by the fresh powder.
Taking the KTS’s off was even easier than putting them on and we were glad of the ‘Tote Sack’ which is a nylon bag sized for the KTS Crampons with a belt loop and durable net base for good drainage. I used the belt loop to secure the crampons to my rucksack which turned out to be a really convenient way to carry them. Sized correctly for the KTS crampons – the Tote is easy to use without being unnecessarily large.
The crampons weigh 628g and the Tote sack weighs 56g, less than most, probably all currently available. KTS Crampons and Tote sack – highly recommended.