Progression with crampons / heel risers


As a result of the larger ski width and a lack of consistency of the boot-binding set, give poor support during edging in diagonal traverses and hard snow areas. This has the potential to create a tremendous lack of confidence, in which splitboard crampons can be useful.
Crampons are a very important element in the backcountry, becoming a necessity for many splitboarding routes. Made of resistant aluminum alloy, their weight should not exceed 200g per piece. They are available in different shapes and attachment to the binding in various ways, depending on the brand that manufactures them, but all should meet certain minimum requirements to be deemed useful and reliable. The function of these “ski crampons”, is to aid in progression when skinning in hard snow and moderate slope (not exceeding 40 º), but should never be used on ice.

“Some features you should consider when buying splitboard crampons are, points”

Splitboard crampons do not replace boot crampons, which should always be next to the ice axe in the rucksack. A quick way to decide on spot if we use splitboard crampons or boot crampons, is to use a ski pole: if the pole´s tip digs into the hard snow with a small push on the handle, the splitboard crampons will be effective and safe, however, if you are unable to penetrate the hard snow and need more than a small push, it’s best to remove the skis, secure them to your backpack and continue with the boot crampons.

“Splitboard crampons do not replace boot crampons, which should always be next to the ice axe in the rucksack”

The crampon spikes must penetrate the snow at all times when using the active ski. This depth will vary depending on the height of the heel lift used, but you should always have some extent of grip in order to maintain stability. Ease of installation: Different brands bring different innovations to this area. For example, “On-the-fly install”, or in other words, the possibility to place the crampons without removing the binding, is an essential added value.
crampons spark
Spark system, no need to remove the binding.

crampons voile
Voile system, it is necessary to remove the pin and binding

hell risers splitboard
hell risers splitboard
There are many ways to put on and remove heels, some of them are using the poles or using a ski

Heel Risers

Last generation bindings feature two heel rise heights, between 5 and 7 centimeters , commonly called higher rise and half way. Help us balance the slope gradient and allow the ankle and leg to rest on steep slopes. The progression on heel risers moves our center of gravity forward. It is important for proper transfer of power, a good support on the poles to make stride, and using the heels for support by extending the back leg. There is not an exact inclination to start using the risers, but from a 15 ° slope the half way rise can be effective to conserve energy.

“Help us balance the slope gradient and allow the ankle and leg to rest on steep slopes.”

Placement of heel risers:
We can use the tip or the handle of the pole for this action, but the layout of the riser on the split is not often so practical. I use a more rudimentary but more effective way; Through a big step we markedly advance a foot and by flexing it should be possible to reach the handle of the riser and put it in an upright position locking it into place.

Removal of heel risers:
Two useful ways for this fast action; Lean forward on the bindings and hit the lever with an accurate pole hit (can be complicated).
Lean forward on the foot in which we want to remove the heel riser, use poles for support and with the other ski in scissors mode, we are able to swing and click the heel riser down to lower it quickly (fast and effective).

Finally, to avoid uncomfortable and dangerous situations, it is important to use the risers and the splitboard crampons during the necessary times, we must learn to read the terrain to anticipate difficulties.

David Pujol ( Guia UIAGM / ).
Víctor Perisé / Heather Taterka