This site is like the toilet in Mousetrap, you pop a marble in at the top and you have no idea when and where it’s going to come out.
It’s July and it’s 26 degrees outside, time to talk crampons.
The Edelrid shark is a crampon that’s designed to do it all. It’s convertible from full-auto to semi-auto, to strap-on. The idea is that it’s one crampon for all your footwear needs regardless if they are B1, B2 or B3. If you change boots, you just change the crampon configuration to match. Pretty clever. They’re made from steel, have built in anti-ball plates, a smart buckle system and weigh in at around 860g.
Switching out the attachments is pretty easy, there’s a L-shaped key in the bar that you slot in, all you have to do is set the length, choose the right hole to suit your boot and slot it in. The soft straps mould well to your boots and the fit is snug. The auto clip has an adjustable tension bar at the back and to convert to full auto you just remove the front straps and plastics to leave the bail. It takes a few minutes practice to get proficient at swapping the configuration around without jabbing yourself in the hand. Those spikes are sharp.
As usual, we have to ask the big question: how does it all work out in the real world? Well, the Shark is a good all-rounder. It’ll work well for walking and general mountaineering in icy conditions. The buckle system is good, it’s easy to release even when caked in ice, but it won’t slip when you’re wearing them. Once it gets steeper, there’s good support and the 3d shaping on the front points makes them pretty bitey. Support is good enough for low to mid grade ice climbing. If you’re looking to tackle more technical ground you’ll want a more specialised set of spikes but that’s the whole point, these are do-it-all crampons. The number of people who climb to a high standard in winter is relatively low. Most people don’t need screw-in monopoints or suitability for drytooling. For the vast majority of punters who just plod up munros and maybe dabble in a bit of low grade gully ice bashing, the Shark makes for a cost-effective flexible solution.
If like me you have a wide range of footwear in your winter wardrobe, then the Shark makes a fine answer to the age old problem of which boots with which crampons. I’ve used them exclusively over the last winter and got on really well with them on everything from stiffened boots to soft mids and the weight is low enough for it not to be a drag on those days when they live in your pack.
It’s a fine time of year to go and pick some up in the sales too.