View Full Version : Crampons

12-03-2010, 09:38 AM
Hello everyone

I am chipping away at my winter gear list and I think I see the light at the edge of the tunnel. One of the must have things that I have not purchased as of yet is crampons. A little about myself I started hiking last year as a Way to get some exercise. I have done one true winter climb and it was mt cardigan last january. Looking back I was vastly unprepared and If anything had gone wrong I could have been In trouble. As I have progressed over this year and have now summited over 25 peaks in nh I now understand the right gear is very important. With that being said I would like to poll the forum as to which crampons everyone uses

12-03-2010, 06:14 PM
I've always used Black Diamond but that is more of a brand name that type of Crampons ( and for me I've always bought all Black Diamond gear, probably because I read & follow Will Gadd climbing ) but anyways I would recommend this one


I like them because they have the little plastic plates which really help keep the snow from building up.... Look around and you should be able to set a pair in the $80-90 range on sale

Best of luck out there this winter!

12-03-2010, 06:14 PM
p.s. One thing to consider, if you ever think about getting into ice or whatnot, you really want to get a step in crampon as opposed to strap on. They generally cost $50ish more and do require a boot that will take a step in crampon. But when you are sitting on an 70 or 80 degree slope it is good to know that your feet ( i.e. 12 points ) are physically clamped onto your boot as opposed to a little strap that loves to come loose at the wrong time

KD Talbot
12-03-2010, 07:57 PM
I find a snowshoe with aggressive cleats and televators far more useful in the mountains in winter than crampons which I use only in the iciest of conditions, but you didn't ask that. I have step ins that fit my plastic boots, but honestly, I find neither the boots nor the crampons practical for general purpose in the Whites.

With my snowshoes and my microspikes, I now carry these, and they're a cinch to put on:



12-03-2010, 08:56 PM
Good point KD!

Snowshoes seem to be much more helpful, especially when its postholing upto the waist type conditions!
on a majority of trails in the white mountains Crampons are not really needed (of course I always error on the side of caution and carry a pair just in case myself, but find more often than not that I don't need them).

So I'd agree that it is probably only worth spending the money on a good pair of crampons if you are going to be on the trails that have a lot of ice, such as the ravines.

12-03-2010, 10:44 PM
I work for REI. The opinions contained within are my own. I do not speak for REI.

Now then,
On crampons and other forms of traction.

I agree that snowshoes are most useful for general winter travel. I would say that any terrain which is snow and ice is snowshoe terrain. When you delve into the realm of rock, ice and snow and even the steep trails are where crampons simply feel secure. I have traveled the Presidential range from Rt 2 to Rt 302 in both my crampons and snowshoes. Both ways worked fine. I never felt insecure on either.

Now, What do you have for boots? If you want crampons, this is where to start. You have three basic kinds of crampons.
Strap-on, Hybrid, and step-in/automatic.

Strap-on's (BD Contact Strap-on) will work with (really) any footwear.
Hybrid's (Grivel G-12, Petzl Vasak lever-lock), (strap-on in the front, heel bail in the rear) will work with any boot that has a rigid shelf on the heel welt of the boot.
Automatic (BD Sabretooth Pro) will work with boots that have that rigid shelves in the toe welt and heel welt of the boot.
The welt is best described as the point on the boot where the sole is attached to the upper leather/plastic part of the boot.

As far as crampon designs go you generally have 10 and 12 point crampons. The points that protrude from the front of the crampon are, appropriately called, front-points. You can find downward facing (some Kahtoolas) Horizontal; these are the kind which are best for general hiking/mountaineering (Contacts, Sabretooths, G-12s, Vasaks). Then there are vertical front points, (Grivel G-14, BD Cyborg Pro, Petzl Sarkens), best for vertical ice, but not as stable on hiking trails.

If you go with snowshoes instead, I would go with one meant for mountainous terrain. The reason I say this is that they are scaleable down, meaning you can use them on any terrain steep or flat. You can use a snowshoe meant for flat terrain in the mountains, but you may be prepared to struggle a bit when things get steep, icy, you traverse or you have a long uphill hike (see any hiking trail in the Whites). The heel lifter (a metal bar that lifts to boost your heel up), helps a ton on long up-hills. They also tend to have a padded binding which if you'll have them on your feet (and you don't have plastic boots) for hours on end it helps a bit.

This is meant to give you a head start on your research, and not meant to help you make a decision.

Have fun out there, and listen to everyone. You will find whats best for you.

12-04-2010, 09:45 AM
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Let me start by saying I have snowshoes they are Msr Lighting ascent 25's. At this time I will not be looking to do any serious Ice climbing i.e huntington ravine. I am looking to have them for general winter peakbagging. I was at lahoots summit shop in lincoln the other day and I liked the Grivel G10's the gentleman at the shop said they would be good for about 90% of the trails in the whites and you can get them with a wide front for ski or snowboard boots, which is nice becasue snowboard mountaineering is something I wish to get more into. I have purchased a pair of LL bean tuckerman multisport boots for my winter travel. I have wide feet and finding proper footwear is tough. I have put 20 or so miles on them in 20-35 degree weather and my feet were dry and warm