Author:
Martina Wengenmeir

Light and compact on ski tours and classic mountaineering

ISPO Award 2022 Winner: Blue Ice Harfang Crampons

Lighter and more compact in pack size - this has been the trend in crampons over the last few years. Blue Ice is now pulling a trump card out of its sleeve with its Harfang crampons. They are extremely lightweight, folded not much larger than the size of a palm, and yet extremely robust. As a trusty companion at icy heights, the innovative crampons won an ISPO AWARD 2022.

 

Crampons are a key piece of equipment on ski or mountaineering tours. When it comes to hiking on an icy ridge or traversing an icy flank across the mountain, they provide safety and grip. In recent years, crampons have undergone constant development. Above all, they must be secure, lightweight, and easy to stow. In addition, they should be quick to put on and adjust, as well as be sturdy. Blue Ice Harfang crampons meet all these requirements with flying colors.

New crampons with patented design

"When Manu Ibarra, our own mad scientist for research and development, put his first rusty sheet metal prototype on the table a little over 2 years ago, we didn't really know what to make of it," says Blue Ice Technical Director Maxime Turgeon. This was the starting point for the development of a new type of crampon. 

Paul Oddou, Hardgoods Engineer, describes the then following development process at Blue Ice as follows: "Since this was our first crampon, we had no limits in terms of adapting to an existing platform or reusing parts from previous designs. Everything on this crampon now serves a purpose and contributes to its performance, durability, and fit. Most of all, and unique to Blue Ice Harfangs, the ability to fold up small enough to fit in the palm of a hand."

Meanwhile, the industry standard sheet metal strap, used to connect the front and back of the crampons, has been replaced with a wide textile strap. This is somewhat reminiscent of the sling from your travel bag and is similarly easy to adjust to the wearer's sole length. From EU shoe size 35 to 47, the Harfang crampons can be adjusted. The 40-mm-wide main strap is made of UHMWPE and HTPE - which are very abrasion-resistant and durable polymer fiber materials. At the same time, the textile strap can be folded, allowing the crampons to be stored much smaller than their counterparts made with a rigid metal bar.

The strap of the Blue Ice Harfang crampons can be easily adjusted to the size

Lightweight crampons with small packing size

When nested, the Blue Ice Harfangs take up very little space. They can be packed in every bag and are hardly a bother when not in use, whether stowed in the backpack, attached to the belt of the pack, or on the harness like a chalk bag always at hand. With their 377 grams, they are also real lightweights, and even equipped with an anti-bot system they come just to 419 g.

"These are the lightest and most compact hybrid crampons currently on the market," says R&D expert Manu Ibarra whose brainchild the Harfangs were. This means they are even around 150 grams lighter than the nearest competitor’s product. This is also possible due to the material: The crampons are a hybrid construction and consist of steel and aluminum. For durability, the front is made of durable Chromoly steel and thus extremely robust in use. The rear and middle points are made of aluminum, making the crampons lighter.

Blue Ice Harfang Crampons: Lightweight and easy to adapt to ski touring boots

Lightness doesn't have to come at the expense of performance

The use of thin textiles as a centerpiece in crampons is no longer new. However, this part has often been replaced at the expense of durability, fit, and performance. Blue Ice has now successfully overcome this problem. Due to the wide textile strap, the Harfang crampons fit tightly to the sole of the wearer. The steel front bail  fixes the  Harfang on crampon-compatible boots or ski touring boots in the front, while the lever at the back has the ability to make micro-adjustments for the perfect fit. Depending on the shoe size, the middlepoints  can also be moved forward or backward, offering adjustment options depending on the sole length and shoe size.

Blue Ice Harfang crampons fit crampon-compatible shoes sizes 35 to 47

Blue Ice tested the crampons over two years

Over two years, designs and prototypes of the crampons were tested in a wide variety of conditions, from the Parc National des Ecrins in France to the Sierra Nevada in California. During this time, the team was repeatedly surprised by how versatile the  crampons were. That's why the patented design is now being used for other models.

"I was impressed with how solid the crampon felt, whether frontpointing, traversing, or descending," said Hardgoods Engineer Paul Oddou. "At that point, I knew not only that this would be my crampon of choice for most ski touring and alpine climbing, but also that I would no longer hesitate to carry them even if it wasn't certain I needed crampons." The ISPO jury was equally impressed with Blue Ice's Harfang crampons, naming the innovative achievement a 2022 ISPO Award Winner.

Prototypes of the Blue Ice Harfang crampons were extensively tested
Here's what the ISPO Award jury had to say about the Blue Ice Harfang crampons:
"With a total weight of 419 g including ABS, the Blue Ice Harfang crampons are the lightest crampons on the market while offering a steel front rail and anti-bot function. When held "folded," they are only the size of an apple and will fit in any backpack."
Andrea Andriani, Collaborators Club Member & Jury Member

Five reasons why Blue Ice Harfang crampons won over the ISPO Award jury:

  • extremely lightweight crampons: 377 g without and 419 g with ABS
  • tiny pack size that does not get in the way even when worn on a harness
  • numerous options for fine adjustment and precise adaptation to the boot or ski boot
  • innovative construction with textile strap
  • robust thanks to hybrid construction of Chromoly steel and aluminum

Key data:

Material: 40-mm main strap made of UHMWPE and HTPE, Chromoly steel, aluminum
Weight: 377 g without ABS, 419 g with ABS
Certifications: CE EN 893, UIAA 153
Shoe sizes: 35 EU - 46 EU
Available in stores from: September 2021
RRP: 140 €

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Author:
Martina Wengenmeir
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