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Ice Climbing Crampons


Original Post
Kevin Adams · · Auburn, WA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

I'm considering getting a pair of crampons purely for ice climbing.  I've been into mountaineering for a few years now, and go ice climbing a few times a year.  I have a pair of G12s that I've been using for ice climbing (as well as mountaineering) and I'm trying to decide if it's worth getting some with vertical front points.  They seem like they'd be more stable and efficient, though from what I've read, people seem to be 50/50 split on whether horizontal or vertical front points are better for ice climbing.  They would be used almost exclusively for waterfall ice, maybe some mixed.  I live in Washington and climb up near Mt. Rainier, along with some in Utah, possibly some trips to Whistler/Banff in the future.  

Along with all the major brands (G14, Cyborg, Lynx, etc.), I'm also looking at the Edelrid Beast Lite (super light) or the Singing Rock Lucifer II (can get for $135).  

What do you guys say?  Is it worth the money?


will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 270

Do your G12s have a toe strap or toe bail? In my experience that will make a much difference for climbing ice than switching to vertical front points. Can you switch out the front portion of the crampon on grivel's crampons?

I've got 2 pairs of BD crampons, one with horizontal frontpoints that I probably favor on pure ice climbs and a pair of vertical front point crampons which can be both mono or dual point. I always keep them configured as monos and I prefer them for anything beyond very easy mixed or thinner ice. I never felt that the dual vertical frontpoints climbed all that much better than horizontals on fat ice. If you're climbing pure ice horizontal frontpoints will probably be adequate. 

Kevin Adams · · Auburn, WA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Toe Bail.  Grivel does sell front sections of the G12, I thought of looking for a G14 front section, but they don't sell those individually.  

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800

Vertical mono >> horizontal points for pure water ice.  Try it, you'll be hooked.

Somewhere lost in the For Sale forum are my G14 monos, EXC condition, $120. PM me if you want to see all the photos.

AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255

I've got a pair of Petzl Lynx for sale.  One season of use on ice, no mixed climbing.  $165 shipped in the lower 48.  Shoot me an email, please if you're interested.

Iceline574 (at) gmail dot com

Bryan · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 346

Hope I can piggyback off this thread, otherwise let me know and I'll delete it. Any recommendations on a pair of crampons that would be good for glacier travel and moderate waterfall ice? Is there a set that's works well enough for both? I was looking at BD saber tooth I believe? They have a couple similar models.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800
BryanE wrote:

Hope I can piggyback off this thread, otherwise let me know and I'll delete it. Any recommendations on a pair of crampons that would be good for glacier travel and moderate waterfall ice? Is there a set that's works well enough for both? I was looking at BD saber tooth I believe? They have a couple similar models.

Saberteeths are probably the best for that sort of thing. They have more underfoot points than similar models (BD Contact, Grivel G10 etc). Keep the front points crazy sharp and they will be "okay" on waterfall ice.

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20
BryanE wrote:

Any recommendations on a pair of crampons that would be good for glacier travel and moderate waterfall ice?

Any crampons that have front points, i.e. anything sharper than YakTrax, will do just fine.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 5

To the original question. Vertical front points are far and away better than horizontal. Yes, you can climb vertical ice with horizontal, but it's not nearly as good. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sound like a tough guy. The main difference is that vertical usually gets you a good stick first kick, horizontal often require multiple kicks because they shatter out more surface ice. 

To the second question, yes BD Sabertooth are good for glacier travel and handle vertical ice OK. The Snaggletooth is also a decent option. 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 481

If it's fat, less featured ice horizontal vs vertical doesn't make a difference imo. 

You get on some chandeliered steep ice though and vertical front points make a huge difference. You can aim between features of the ice (horizontals you'll be kicking off tons of shit to stick). You can also use the teeth on the bottom of vertical points to stand up on features of ice.

For steeper pure ice (wi4/5) make sure that when you get your boot on the pon that the secondary points are even with the front of the boot.  Being able to get those secondary points engaged to the ice lets you relax your calves and really feel secure. This can leave your front point long for mixed though.

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 121
Ryan Hamilton wrote:

To the original question. Vertical front points are far and away better than horizontal. Yes, you can climb vertical ice with horizontal, but it's not nearly as good. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sound like a tough guy. The main difference is that vertical usually gets you a good stick first kick, horizontal often require multiple kicks because they shatter out more surface ice. 

This is patently false. If you have to bash away ice with horizontal points, you're doing it wrong.  Don't take my word for it, take Will Gadd's. He has probably climbed more vertical feet of ice than anyone in history. And he also prefers horizontal front points.

The noteworthy exceptions to this are if you're expecting significant amounts of mixed climbing (take monopoints) or if it's REALLY cold (say -5F/-20C or colder) when the slightly smaller profile of vertical points does lead to less shattering.

Kevin Mcbride · · Canmore AB · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160
Jon H wrote:

This is patently false. If you have to bash away ice with horizontal points, you're doing it wrong.  Don't take my word for it, take Will Gadd's. He has probably climbed more vertical feet of ice than anyone in history. And he also prefers horizontal front points.

The noteworthy exceptions to this are if you're expecting significant amounts of mixed climbing (take monopoints) or if it's REALLY cold (say -5F/-20C or colder) when the slightly smaller profile of vertical points does lead to less shattering.

THIS is patently false, last time I checked gadd had consumed the monopoint kool-aid, like years ago.

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 121
Kevin Mcbride wrote:

THIS is patently false, last time I checked gadd had consumed the monopoint kool-aid, like years ago.

For mixed climbing. Not for pure ice.

JonasMR · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 6

Vertical front points are definitely better for WI.  But if you're only going a few days a year, don't get new crampons.  Cost aside, when you're back on the mountain the horizontal front points will feel sketchier than they actually are.  Use those rare water ice days to learn more tricks in your mountain crampons. 

Kevin Mcbride · · Canmore AB · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160
Jon H wrote:

For mixed climbing. Not for pure ice.

His social media includes only photo of him climbing both mixed and ice in bd stingers, he also made a post about how much he likes them, I even witnessed Mr. Gadd climbing in stingers on pure ice last year. There is also a video of him climbing ice with stingers https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155744966755030&id=44155870029

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 270
Kevin Mcbride wrote:

His social media includes only photo of him climbing both mixed and ice in bd stingers, he also made a post about how much he likes them, I even witnessed Mr. Gadd climbing in stingers on pure ice last year. There is also a video of him climbing ice with stingers https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155744966755030&id=44155870029

I've heard rumors that Will Gadd probably has 2 or maybe even 3 pairs of crampons. I recall several blog posts by him discussing the pros and cons of each in different situations. A little dated, but here's an excerpt from his book on ice and mixed climbing.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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