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Types of Crampons

As with any piece of equipment, it is important to select the correct tool for the job.  Crampons are no exception, so it is essential to know which crampon types are suitable for your intended purpose.  There are 3 crampon types:

  • Walking Crampons
  • Mountaineering Crampons
  • Ice Crampons

 

These three types can be loosely categorised as Flexible (C1), Semi-Rigid (C2), and Rigid (C3).  The table below shows this rating system – devised by Mountain Guide Brian Hall – and the intended use and features of each crampon type.  As with any system, there is scope for some cross-categorisation.  In other words, not all rigid crampons are suitable for tackling vertical walls of ice.  Nevertheless, by broadly categorising crampon types we can more readily match up a crampon to a suitable boot to provide the sure footing required for the climbing task at hand.

 

Crampon Type Key Features
C1: Flexible
  • Flexible design to fit most walking boots
  • Forward and rear units linked via a flexible bar
  • Usually Strap-In or Hybrid binding system
  • Typically 8-12 points
  • Suitable for snow walking and light mountaineering
C2: Semi-Rigid
  • Semi-rigid design
  • Forward and rear units linked via a more rigid metal bar
  • Typically available with all 3 binding systems
  • Typically 10-12 points with twin front points
  • Suitable for general purpose mountaineering
C3: Rigid
  • Rigid design with solid links between front and rear components
  • Usually Step-in or Hybrid binding system
  • Typically 12 points or more
  • Front points often interchangeable between dual and mono-points
  • Technical crampons for climbing steep or vertical ice

 

Your climbing needs will dictate the type of crampon you require.  If you do not have a suitable boot for your crampons, you should upgrade your boots as opposed to settling for a crampon that is not up to the task required of it. If your new crampons do dictate new boots, then both Mountain Warehouse and Millet Sports offer a wide range of mountaineering boots and equipment at competitive prices. For more information on boot/crampon compatibility see Crampon Attachment.

 

3 types of crampons

 

Walking Crampons

Walking crampons usually have 8-10-points that are typically shorter than mountaineering crampons.  Walking crampons are flexible or semi-rigid and weigh less than mountaineering or ice crampons.

 

Mountaineering Crampons

Mountaineering crampons are generally heavier and more robust than walking crampons.  Typically, they have 10-12 points that are sharper, deeper and stronger.  Mountaineering crampons are usually semi-rigid and are an all-purpose crampon that can tackle the tougher stuff and difficult ice climbs.

 

Ice Crampons

The name Ice Crampons can be a little misleading, as it somewhat suggests that these are the only crampons suitable for tackling ice climbs.  This is not so, a good semi-rigid mountaineering crampon is often more than anyone needs.  Ice crampons are heavier still, with 12-14+ heavy duty points and a semi-rigid or rigid design.  They are designed for users that regularly tackle more serious ice climbs and come with dual or mono-points (or interchangeable).  Mono-point designs allow a footing in thin cracks that dual-points cannot access.  However, many climbers prefer the stability of dual-points.

Feature Products

Approx: £100 Salewa Alunal 2.0 Antiboot Crampon

The Salewa Alunal 2.0 antiboot is the perfect lightweight crampon to pack when you are unsure of the conditions. It has 12-points and a hybrid binding system, yet weighs just 720g. The crampons come complete with anti-balling plates and are suitable for tackling anything you weren’t expecting. The Alunal is a flexible C1 crampon that is suited to B1-B3 boots.

 

Approx: £120 Grivel G12 Crampon

The Grivel G12 is a 12 point fully adjustable chromolly steel semi-rigid crampon. It weighs 950g and comes complete with anti-balling plates and a strap in binding system. This crampon is a more rigid and rugged version of the G10 and best suited to technical alpinism and steep ice falls. The rear points of the G12 feature serrated edges to better grip the ice. The Grivel G12 is a C2 rated crampon designed for B2 and B3 boots.

 

Approx: £185 Grivel Rambo Evolution 4 Crampon

The Grivel Rambo Evolution 4 Crampon is Grivel’s most technical fully rigid crampon. This is a full step-in crampon for the serious enthusiast and it comes complete with anti-balling plates, an ankle strap, and single screw adjustments. The Grivel Rambo has aggressive serrated points to grip the ice and weighs in at around 1075g depending on final set up. This is a C3 technical steep-ice climbing crampon that will only fit B3 boots from sizes 38-48.