How to Choose Crampons

How to Choose Crampons
Crampons are an amazing technology that enables mountaineers and ice climbers to reach remote peaks and scale vertical ice pitches. The design of crampons has improved over the decades, from a simple four point design to today's standard 12 point design. There are three types of crampons used today for mountaineering and ice climbing. Which kind you choose depends on what particular activities you want to use them for.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Crampon compatible boots
  • Crampon compatible boots
Step 1
Decide what you need your crampons for and what their main purpose will be. There are three main types of crampons; hinged, semi-rigid and rigid. Are you an ice climber and need crampons for vertical or mixed climbing? Do you only intend to use crampons for glacier trekking?
Step 2
Choose hinged crampons if you will be using them for light mountaineering and glacier trekking only. These are more flexible and bend with the sole of your boot easier for walking across terrain. These have horizontal front points and come in strap-on or step-in designs. Strap-on crampons can be attached over any hiking boot even if they don't have crampon grooves around the toe and heel. These will not provide optimal support for climbing.
Step 3
Choose semi-rigid crampons if you want a pair of crampons that can do a bit of everything. These are still slightly flexible so they won't kill your feet when only walking but are stiff enough for vertical ice climbing. They can have horizontal or vertical front points (vertical is usually better for climbing).
Step 4
Choose rigid crampons if you want a heavy duty, no-flex crampon for climbing only. These do not have a hinge system and so do not bend at all. These are heavier but offer the best support for vertical climbing. These should only be worn with the stiffest soled boots or plastic boots.
Step 5
Look for crampons that have adjustable front points, meaning you can take one point off and create mono-point crampons if you wish. Also look for crampons equipped with the antibot abs system which prevents wet snow from balling up underneath your crampons. Black Diamond, Petzl and Grivel are trusted brands for crampons.

Tips & Warnings

If you have a small shoe size such as a women's size 7 or smaller then make sure you don't buy an extra large pair of crampons. Even regular sized ones can be a bit too long for smaller boots but can be fit to size by trimming down the center bar plate.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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