Black Diamond Cyborg Pro

, January 16, 2012

Designed and manufactured by mountaineer specialists Black Diamond, the Cyborg Pro is one mean piece of kit to get your hands on for winter climbing. Made to match mixed conditions of the mountain, this crampon has a tenacious appetite for snow and ice ascents.

As the first company to make an entire line of crampons out of stainless steel, Black Diamond has truly broken the ice with the Cyborg on the environmental side of manufacturing. The brand claims that the new choice in material is not only lighter and stronger but a greener alternative, free from toxic coatings and proxy paints normally used to prevent rusting.

Convinced by the performance and ecological credentials of the Cyborg Pro, I went to test a pair across terrain in the UK and European Alps this winter.

To start with, the facts. The Cyborg Pros are B3 compatible, fitting B3 boots with toe welt and a rigid heel. For those without a toe welt on their boots a clip version (strap on) is also available. A micro-adjust heel lever and centre strap mean that they should fit securely to most B3 boots. In accordance with Black Diamond’s promise, I found the stainless steel model to be desirably light (1.12kg). As well as being stronger, the dulls are slower than alternative materials (although, in the case of the Cyborg Pro, the front points are still made from chromoly steel).

The two agressive front points provide great purchase on ice and rock whilst the side points located right on the edges of the frame are brilliantly suited to inside and outside edging in mixed climbing situations. They fit closely to the soles of my La Sportiva Nepal Extremes, maintaining a close connection and a good level of sensitivity between the climber and the rock.  If required. the Cyborg Pros also have the advantage that they can be converted into mono points by a simple hacksaw amputation.

I would not just recommend these crampons to the experienced mixed climber, but as a sensible purchase for any mountaineer with a view of getting into ice climbing. I certainly feared that the front points would be impractical when putting in snow steps, but in fact found that the design more than sufficed in thick snow on all fronts. Snow balling was kept to a minimum, most likely due to the plates than the stainless steel material. The rear and side points providing good stability whilst the front points gave me a selective advantage when front pointing. However if you have no intention to climb, then the Black Diamond Contact or the Grivel G10 would be a better option for walking stability on ice and snow.

Strong, light and effective, the Cyborg Pro are a well-tuned pair of technical crampons. Highly recommended for mixed and ice climbers and those with an intention of getting into such disciplines from a beginner level.

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