|Crampons help climbers ascend by allowing them to kick into the ice. The use of the crampon determines what materials it is made from. Lighter weight crampons often used in ski touring are made from aluminum and though they are not nearly as strong as steel crampons, they do save weight. Steel crampons are heavier, but more reliable and they are used for general mountaineering and ice climbing.|
When you are buying crampons make sure that its features are well suited to the boot you will be using. If you decide you want a step-in crampon, you're going to require a boot that has front and rear welts. Their are many crampons on the market that have been designed for specific climbing styles, so you may require a few different pairs to do all the activities you want.
Number of Points
Crampons have many different arrangements of points. The first crampons had 10 points, but these required the climber to step cut as front pointing requires front points, which are not present on these crampons. Presently a few models of 10 point crampons exist, but their use is in decline. If you are looking for a crampon for easy glacial walking 10 point crampons should do the trick.
Twelve point crampons were designed next and this allowed climbers to begin to front point and more easily ascend tougher terrain. Some crampons come with more points and these include spurs. For general mountain climbing, the 12 point crampon is the most used.
Rigid vs. Hinged
Crampons can be divided into two main divisions: rigid and hinged. Rigid crampons do not bend or flex, making them uncomfortable to walk in. This rigidity is useful when climbing steep ice because it allows the climber's legs to fatigue slower since the climber is able to keep their heal lower. Rigid crampons are really only useful for climbing steep ice. They are often heavier than hinged crampons.
Hinged crampons are a more versatile crampon; they allow flex when walking and because of this they are used for mountaineering. They will also perform well ice climbing, but must be used with a pair of stiff soled boots
to make sure there is not too much flex. If you are thinking about getting your first pair of crampons and going to use them for a mix of climbing styles, you will benefit most from a hinged crampon.
Crampon Attachment Types
There are three main types of attachment systems for crampons. These include Step-in bindings,
and Strap bindings.
Step-in crampons are convenient for some people as they do not require you to thread any straps to keep them on. They often have a strap that runs from the rear clip to the front bail or a strap running from the rear clip around the ankle, that helps to keep the rear lever locked in if anything pushes down onto it. These crampons require boots
with front and rear welts to be able to attach to your boots.
have a rear bail with a lever and flexible front strap. This style will require your boot
to have a rear welt, but does not require a front welt. Some climbers prefer this because their boots
are able to edge better in the toes due to no front welt.
The last attachment type is strap bindings.
This binding style can attach to many boot
styles because strap bindings
don`t require a front or rear welt on the boots.
They can be attached to mountaineering boots,
heavy duty hikers and sometimes even light weight hikers.
Mono vs. Dual Points
Crampons designed for technical ice climbing may have an option for their front points. These are the points that stick out from the front of the crampon and contact the ice first. These points can be configured in one of two ways. You can have dual front points, which means you have two points in the front. Or you may have mono point crampons, which have only one single point that can be centered or offset to either side of the crampon. Many climbers prefer a single front point as they may feel it easier to kick into the ice. This is not the choice of all climbers or for all situations so many crampons are modular, allowing you switch between mono and dual front points.
Over the last few years, ice climbing competitions have spurred new specialty crampons, including bolt-on crampons. These crampons can come bolted onto boots
(often known as Fruitboots) or you can purchase just the crampons and choose your own boots
to put them onto. These crampons are highly specific and users will most often carry the boots
until they reach the ice fall where they will then put them on for the climb.
Some crampons for technical ice climbing have a spur mounted on the back of them. This spur allows the climber to dig their heels into the ice; this is used in moves such as hooking onto pillars. These points make the crampons very unsuited for general use in the mountains as they tend to catch on everything.
Anti-Balling plates are rubber or plastic pieces that fit underneath the crampons to stop snow from balling up under your crampon.