Yesterday, Canadian climber and Outdoor Research athlete Gordon McArthur posted a link to Billy Goat Technologies on his Facebook page, asking fellow climbers what they thought about this new product. A type of snowshoe plate for your crampons that promises to ease the burden of approaches for ice climbing, skiing, or snowboarding? Color me intrigued.
The Billy Goat Ascent Plates sit between the bottom of your boot and your crampons, working like a snowshoe to prevent you from postholing during approaches. The plates work with climbing boots, ski boots, and even soft snowboard boots, while also fitting a variety of crampons.
Billy Goat Technologies was founded in 2012 by Jon Johnston and Lance Edwards. Jon made the first pair in 2004 out of a scrap of laminate flooring in order to climb the north face of Plinth Peak in the BC coast range. Since then, the Ascent Plates have undergone various iterations to where now the plates are made out of aluminum for its strength and lightweight nature, as well as adding side teeth for extra traction when your crampons can't fully engage.
The Billy Goat Ascent Plates are designed to provide just enough floatation in soft snow to take the suffering out of long climbs. By allowing the front points of your crampon to engage the snow as normal, the plates still afford a level of security on steep terrain.
The Ascent Plates themselves are not traction devices. They are meant to be used as flotation aids when kicking steps in soft snow only and removed when you hit firm snow, rock, or steep, icy terrain.
The Billy Goat Technologies Ascent Plates come in four different configurations – Small/Large for both soft boots and hard boots – and retail for $120.
I would so love to try a pair of these out this winter. Thoughts?