PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Stinger crampon
Innovation is what drives everything here at Black Diamond. If we're not making gear better, stronger, lighter, faster, more durable and easier to use, then we're not doing our job. In this ongoing series of monthly posts, we'll be giving you an inside look at some of our most innovative products through one-on-one interviews with our team of industry-leading product designers and category directors.
This month we sat down with Climbing Hardgoods Category Director Bill Belcourt to talk about our all-new Stinger crampon, a highly technical monopoint crampon designed for high-end mixed and ice climbing.
For more information or to grab yourself a pair, click here.
What was the design goal in creating the Stinger?
We wanted a crampon that climbed ice like a sticky rubber rock shoe climbs rock. This meant a monopoint crampon that was as stable as a dual, and had traction no matter where you stepped on it.
What kinds of climbing is the Stinger designed for? Why the monopoint?
Hard ice climbing and mixed climbing of all kinds. The Stinger has been developed and tested by our global climbing team on serious new routes all over the world, including a first ascent on Hispar Sar in Pakistan. Mono points allow you to follow your tool placements with your front points (tracking). Monos are also lighter and better for climbing rock because they fit in cracks and on small holds.
What are the main features that set the Stinger apart from other monopoint crampons on the market?
Using stainless steel is the biggest thing; it wears better, sheds snow better, and doesn't rust when compared with CrMo steels typically used in crampons. The stainless steel we use is also 3 times more expensive, but it is worth it. The Stinger has a front point that easy to replace and inexpensive, and this is a big advantage considering how quickly the front point wears compared with the rest of the crampon. We also positioned the secondary points closer to the front points providing much more stability, and we added a massive amount of point serrations giving traction in all sorts of situations where a normally configured crampon would leave you slipping.
What design features have been incorporated to accommodate modern mountain boots?
A new, narrower toe and heel bail have been designed with modern boots specifically in mind. We will still stock our older wide bails for those with older boots that still have plenty of life left in them.
Were there any unique challenges encountered by the design team when building the Stinger?
The biggest thing is the spectrum of boot models and boot sizes that crampons need to fit today are as broad as ever and it just gets bigger every year. It is a real challenge. The second is creating a light and strong crampon with a full ABS system that does not compromise on climbing performance. It is too easy these days to sacrifice real performance to save a little weight and we don't want to fall into that trap; performance has to be king.