You can also check out our Top 5 Favorite Crampons.
In comparison to other alpine gear, crampons are pretty straightforward. These traction devices add mobility and increase your safety on the ice. And there is no climber that would dare venture out into the mountains without a good set of crampons or, at the very least, micro spikes.
For ages, humans have relied on crampons to get more traction on snow. Whether it was for crossing snowfields, traversing glaciers, hiking, or climbing, crampons have been indispensable. As any respectable climber will tell you, frozen terrains are not to be underestimated. They are one of the most beautiful yet dangerous. If you don’t have the right winter gear, including crampons, you are putting yourself at risk.
On the one hand, it is quite unimaginable to assume that crampons can be fancy devices. Irrespective of how expensive it may be, crampons basically have the same frame. However, if you consider how many improvements these crampons have been through, it is quite impressive. Of course, some brands have been more successful than others. Nonetheless, there is an unspoken race to bring out the best crampons that will take your climbing adventures to the next level.
Crampons that break boundaries.
Every once in awhile, there comes an exceptional piece of gear that catches our eye. So while it may be hard to picture a crampon getting fancy, some of them can break the norm.
Among the many respectable companies that make alpine gear, Black Diamond is a top player. It is a relatively young company since it was established in 1989. However, they have put out some of the best alpine and outdoor gear ever produced. So it is not a total surprise for them to excel in designing the best crampons. While it may be difficult to add a lot of features to a crampon, Black Diamond crampons have broken boundaries.
One of the crampons from the brand that has been making a lot of noise is the Stinger. It is as technical and fancy as a crampon can be. The crampons from Black Diamond have fantastic designs that are matched by their stellar names.
The Stinger is one of the trinity crampons that are meant for vertical and mixed climbing. Cyborg and Snaggletooth crampons complete the lineup. These crampons are exclusively for overhanging, dry tooling, and technical ice climbing. Although these three crampons share some similarities, there are also some differences between them. The Stinger, in particular, is one of the best sellers from the brand.
So today, we are dissecting everything there is to know about the Stinger. We talk at length about the materials used to make this one of a kind crampon. We also weigh in on the crampon’s pros and cons so you can get all the information. To round it all up, we have also provided a FAQ section about crampons. Be sure to give it a look, so you get all the information you want about this crampon and crampons in general.
Black Diamond Stinger Crampon Review
Product Name: Black Diamond Stinger
Product Description: The Black Diamond Stinger has a mono front point located towards the toe. Two sub-points near the front point are also added. It has a sleek stainless steel construction with nylon straps. The centerpiece of the crampon slides to accommodate different length boots. Anti-balling plates are included as part of the crampon.
Offer price: $164.96
Among the crampons on our list, the Stinger takes the trophy for outstanding design. However, its good looks are not all. Its two-piece design and the ergonomic positioning of the mono front point make it great. These kicks are also one of the most lightweight in alpine gear. Therefore, it works perfectly for hiking, climbing as well as walking.
Ease of Use
- The mono-point is sharp, great quality, and replaceable.
- The asymmetric design facilitates an easy grip.
- Effortless to use and pack.
- Lightweight and durable materials.
- Comes with reasonable pricing.
- The sub-points are not very practical.
- Anti-balling plates are not the best.
The Stinger from BD is a favorite for professional climbers. This C3 crampon is a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality gear. A commendable thing about the Stinger is that it was developed by those who are passionate about alpine climbing. So what does this great looking crampon has to offer? Let’s find out together.
Material and design.
The Stinger’s frame consists of stainless steel. This metal lends the sturdiness of traditional steel without the extra weight. Unlike other crampons that come with plastic components, this one is almost exclusively made from metal. The metal construction keeps the crampon rustproof and sturdy. The only exception is the ankle strap, which is made of nylon. The only plastic in this crampon is the small component at the back.
It has an asymmetric design, which is quite unique in itself. You will also notice that this crampon has a low-profile and is extremely sleek in appearance. The low-profile feature has a performance advantage, as we will discuss later. The Stinger’s design is even more streamlined than the other two in its category.
One of the things about this crampon that catches your eye is the aggressive mono-point. This mono-point falls right below the toe. This feature is fantastic for two reasons. One, it makes the front point like an extension of your toe. Two, the ergonomic design gives you exceptional control. This mono-point is flanked by a couple of secondary points. The secondary points are no less sharp and pointed in design.
The Stinger is lightweight without compromising the stability, which is another bonus that comes from the stainless steel construction. Another winning point for the Stinger is the front point. Apart from its stellar design and performance, it is also replaceable. In comparison to other brands that cost more than twenty bucks to replace a single front point, this one is quite reasonable.
In terms of aesthetics, this crampon from Black Diamond has a minimal look. The only color you will see in this one is at the bottom of the frame and the plastic component towards the back. The nylon straps, of course, are black with the brand’s logo embossed in white.
The Stinger comes with anti-balling plates in the front as well as the back. The material in this one is dual-density ABS. If you are not familiar, ABS or Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a material that is used in safety gear such as MTB helmets and car bumpers, among others. This is a great material that has shock-absorbing properties. The use of this material in the construction of crampons is not common, so the brand deserves applause.
The Stinger’s mono point is among the most precise available on the market. You will find this feature indispensable while climbing technical routes. If you are someone who prefers steep terrains and mixed climbing, the Stinger’s precision on ice will wow you.
Another performance aspect of this crampon comes from the asymmetrical design. This facilitates the mono-point to turn inward quite intuitively. In climbing situations where you rely on the accuracy, this asymmetrical feature makes every step effortless. Kicking on the ice and getting a firm grip on either side becomes very easy. The gentle angle gives you unrivaled stability once you get the point on to the ice.
Despite its semi-rigid design, the Stinger is relatively flexible. You will find this flexibility very useful while strapping the crampon to the boots. B3 boots can be uncompromisingly stiff. So when this is combined with a very stiff crampon, it can be a struggle to strap the two together.
In regards to stiffness in a boot and crampon, it comes down to personal preference. In some ways, whether you like the stiffness or not depends on the type of climbing. With a stiff crampon, your legs suffer less strain. In other words, your calves will not become as stiff as the crampon’s frame after climbing a long pitch. Stiff crampons work best for climbers who engage in vertical climbs during peak season.
On the other hand, crampons that are not very stiff work best if you are on the ice for most parts of the year. However, overly flexible gear cannot be used for vertical climbing without compromising its performance.
One of the major downsides to the Stinger is the secondary points. They are just too short to be practical. Although they form a part of the stellar design, they do not engage effectively. In this regard, the crampon can do entirely well without these small points.
When it comes to the anti-balling plates, they are hit and miss. The use of ABS material contributes to absorbing shock. You would not normally see this feature in a crampon, so it is a definite plus. On the flip side, they are not regular anti-balling plates. So they do not repel snow as effectively as others like the Grivel’s G12. Since the Stinger is exclusively marketed for technical climbing, this was a bit of a letdown.
Ease of use.
In terms of usability, the Stinger does not disappoint. Strapping on the boots is effortless. It is compatible with all B3 boots and some B2 boots as well. The step-in binding system allows you to strap it on very easily.
You will also appreciate the pack-ability of this crampon. It is due to the collapsible feature that makes it a breeze. With the two-piece design, you will have no issue packing and transporting this crampon. Of course, the center bar slides to facilitate collapsing and attachment. The Stinger crampon weighs 960g, which is a sweet spot of balance versus weight.
What are the differences between the C3 crampons from Black Diamond?
Black Diamond has a good selection of C3 crampons in their inventory. For the technical and mixed climbing category, there are three crampons. They are the Stinger, Cyborg, and Snaggletooth. So it is inevitable to ask if there are any differences between them. And yes, they have some differences which we are discussing below.
- The Cyborg has a bi-point design that can be transformed into a mono-point. On the other hand, the Stinger is a straight mono-point. The Snaggletooth is also a mono-point, but it is almost horizontal.
- BD’s Cyborg comes in two versions – pro and clip. The Pro version works with boots with welt while the Clip version is compatible with boots without welts. The Stinger and the Snaggletooth do not have different versions.
Why doesn’t the Stinger crampon repel snow well?
The Stinger does repel snow as it has anti-balling plates. This feature is present both at the front of the crampon as well as the back. However, the plates are made of ABS material. ABS is fantastic at absorbing shocks. This is why it is popularly used in helmets used for mountain biking. So even in the Stinger crampon, it absorbs shocks, which is fantastic.
However, this material is essentially rubber. Therefore, it does not completely keep the snow out of your boots. While it keeps out a decent amount of snow, it is not as aggressive as some crampons. Most definitely, it will keep out wet and heavy snow. However, this should not be a problem since the Stinger is meant to be used for climbing and not walking.
Balling snow is not fun at all. So every so often, you will have to shake your boots while climbing with the Stinger. Although this may sound annoying, for us, it was not a deal-breaker. The Stinger crampon’s winning features are just too good to pass it up.
What are the best features of the Stinger crampon?
The Stinger from Black Diamond has some minor issues. However, it has been a best-seller for a good reason. The best features of the Stinger crampon are:
- The aggressive mono-point – It is undeniably the best feature about the Stinger. It is the right sharpness, design, and placement. It becomes an extension of your big toe, and this is invaluable in the snow. The mono-point is also replaceable.
- Asymmetrical design – The design of the Stinger is another plus point. It is not completely asymmetrical as other crampons; Grivel’s G20 comes to mind. On the other hand, it is not horizontal. It has just the right curve to make kicking the mono-point into the ice easy and effortless.
- Collapsibility – Stinger is not an exception when it comes to a collapsible two-design feature. However, some crampons do not fold well, which makes it a chore to store and pack them. In this regard too, the Stinger takes the trophy for its ease of packing. It fits right into the crampon case, which makes it a dream to pack and transport.