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Crampon Recommendations?

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  • Crampon Recommendations?

    Anyone have a specific model of crampon they recommend?

    I'm looking for something for general mountaineering and ski mountaineering. Needs to fit a plastic Koflach boot as well as an AT boot. I'd like to find something with bot plates included. Not intending to climb any vertical ice, just snowfields and glaciers. TIA.

  • #2
    Conversation just came up among my friends. Recommendations were:

    Camp XLC Nanotech or 390
    Black Diamond Neve Pro
    Grivel G20 (from my buddy who has done the most technical stuff of the group, and he uses them for everything)

    Friend ended up buying Petzl Irvis because he couldn't hack the aluminum.


    • #3
      By the way, I have Sabretooths. But I bought them when I worked at a shop and could get a good deal. And bought them as an all-purpose mountain crampon, including potential ice climbing.


      • #4
        Got the Sabertooth as well.
        16 points
        Has withstood over a decade of abuse.
        Coastal Crest Snow Patrol


        • #5
          X3 re Sabretooths. Solid, though lighter options exist. The Neve shaves roughly one lb, mostly b/c its aluminum, not s. steel. That type of crampon is what I'd go with for your purposes.


          • #6
            a few months back I did some crampon information searching because our snowpack didn't look very promising and I thought I would use them a lot if we didnt' pick up more snow.

            here's what i found:


            If you are purely a ski mountaineer, you can get aluminum crampons and call it good. (aluminum is a poor choice on verticle ice)

            If you are a climber and a ski mountaineer, and you are going to scramble over rock regularly, steel horizontal point crampons are the most popular choice. (they are a little heavier than aluminum, but don't wear down as easily on hard surfaces)

            If you are climbing ice, you need to have steel crampons with verticle front points. (they come in a few different configurations that you probably don't need to know about)

            Boot types

            If you want your crampons to fit multiple pairs of boots, most people buy the type of crampon that has a plastic toe cage. They are slower to get in and out of, but can be used on almost any boot. They come with either a heel throw or a heel cage. Obviously if you get a heel throw, you need a lip on your chosen boot for the throw lever to rest on. If you get a heel cage, they can probably be made to fit more types of boots.

            IF you want to use a "Step in" type crampon, you need to make sure your boots fit in them. The boots, whether climbing boots or ski boots need a ridge on the toe of the boot for the crampon toe wire to rest on. When I bought crampons this year, I tried my NTN boots in numerous crampons and none of the front "wires" fit my boots well without bending the wire. My buddy has Neve Pro's which he bent the toe wire on to fit his duckbill boots (and now his NTN boots too) Bending the toe wire is pretty common to fit duckbill or NTN boots.

            I like the step in crampons for ski mountaineering, because you don't want your crampons to shift around on your feet if you are on a steep, slippery surface and step in crampons can be more solidly mounted on a boot than the toe/heel cage versions. They are faster to put on and take off too.

            Some crampons now have a flexible connecting bar option too, so you get a little bit of flex out of them if your boot flexes, like a tele-boot with a bellows does.

            * I bought Grivel "Haute Route" crampons which are a step in type crampon with a toe bail wire. (which I had to bend a bit to fit my boot) They have a steel front body and steel front points, but the heel is aluminum body and points to save some weight. It has a flexible center bar so it's not rigid and it flexes a bit when I walk in tele boots. It has a single instep strap, so I put my toe in the toe bail, throw the heel lever and sinch the strap and I am in and out of them quickly. I like them, but I don't use them all that much so maybe more knowlegable ski mountaineers will have a valid critique of them that I am yet unaware of.... that's my $.02

            Last edited by tele.skier; 5 April 2014, 09:50 AM.
            the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


            • #7
              I went with the Sabretooth clip version crampons. These have a heel bail and the toe strap to fit my NTN boots and a pair of La Sportiva hiking boots with no toe weld. As for climbing vertical ice, the horizontal front points are fine. The vertical points have some advantages but mostly for steep technical climbing.

              Here's a photo from a ski/climb trip a couple of years ago.
              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                Thanks a bunch for all the awesome responses. I'm leaning towards stainless steel with the clips for the heels. All the boots I use are plastic and have a ridge to hold the clips. I guess it could be nice for them to fit a leather hiker although I've never used a crampon on a hiking boot before and a pair of YakTracks or something might be just as useful.


                • #9
                  Impressive research T.S.

                  For hiking boots, check out Microspikes. They rock for mellow winter hikes that are icy.

                  Priceonice -- looks like you were headed to something impressive.
                  Last edited by dschane; 6 April 2014, 12:48 PM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dschane View Post
                    Impressive research T.S.
                    I am a gear whore. I like to have the right $hit. After a deal fell through for a low priced pair of good used crampons, I decided to do my homework and get the right gear after the option of the "cheaply priced" gear fell through.

                    Like I said, I am not an expert on crampons, but I didn't feel that I needed heavier steel crampons for the ski mountaineering I do. (*You'll note that a lot of people buy the heavier and more durable steel crampons) My first choice would have been aluminum BD Neve Pro's, but they weren't in stock (@marmot's going out of business sale) The camp crampons seem cheaper, but they didn't include the anti balling plates in the price, so ultimately, they cost about the same as other crampons I looked at. The Grivel "Haute route" crampons were step in, and fit my boots fine (when I bent the toe wire), so I bought them because they were a combo of steel front points and a lightweight aluminum heel.

                    A story:

                    One saturday, we had a thick rain crust and I went up to the mountain anyway. I decided, after skiing one horrifying lap inbounds, to put on my crampons and walk out the alpental valley trail to see who was stupid enough to be out there trying to ski the unskiable backcountry breakable crust. As I walked, I passed numerous snowshoer's floundering on the mostly "side hill" trail. (Snowshoes BLOW on side hill BTW) Some skinners were going out the trail without ski crampons and floundering too, getting no grip with just skins. As I passed them all, walking along in my crampons, many of them looked down at my feet to see why the hell I wasn't floundering too...... Many said the same comment as we greeted each other, "Crampons look like the obvious best choice today." Eventually, I arrived out at the fan of the chair peak slope, where the snow was completely "locked up" with the breakable crust from hell, where I hung out for a while and watched skiers in survival mode attempt to ski the punchable crust down chair peak slope, cartwheeling after punching through every so often....

                    The sting of buying new crampons diminished as I watched skiers cartwheel one after another.... And they all lived happily ever after.... Me, moreso than them...
                    Last edited by tele.skier; 6 April 2014, 05:03 PM.
                    the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dschane View Post
                      Priceonice -- looks like you were headed to something impressive.
                      It was a great day of skiing and climbing. I should be checking it out now, it may be in great shape. We've had plenty of snow and the ice season has been phenomenal.


                      • #12
                        TS - you da man.

                        I think I'll go with the Haute Route by Grivel. Tired of dragging my feet and looking for "deals." Got some trips planned and need them. BTW, we're in the same neck of the woods so if you have any interest in joining in on some volcano ski missions shoot me a PM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Matt J View Post
                          Not intending to climb any vertical ice, just snowfields and glaciers.
                          Get Al alloy 'pons for that. Camps are nice but usually don't come with anti-bots. I like my Neve Pros okay but kinda heavy for a non-technical 'pon.
                          Originally posted by Matt J View Post
                          a plastic Koflach boot
                          Sorry to hear that


                          • #14
                            Out of curiosity what's wrong with Koflach boots?

                            I wore them as a snowmaker and was pretty happy with the warmth. I now use Intuitions when I wear them and they're pretty bomber. Although I rarely climb anything without the desire to ski it, I can't find anything wrong with the boots. What gives?


                            • #15
                              Yeah, a good friend is going on something like 14 years with his Koflach boots (the lime green ones that are no longer made) and other than the color, they seem to work very well. I believe he upgraded the liners once.