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Grivel Air Tech vs Black Diamond Sabretooth


Original Post
shadowfire · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

It's time to change crampons and I've been narrowing the results down to a comparasion of these two. 

I have read that a few had problems with the less durability of the stainless steel (disadvantage for the sabers), however majority of the users seem to be happy with the sabretooths. If it would have been a main issue, people would have complained a lot. However, a cracked crampon is the last you wanna have close to the summit... 

The air techs are slightly wider on two points, where the sabretooth is actually a 14 point crampon. The points are equally high (or low, compared to the G12).

I've tried the air techs before and been satisfied with the grip, antiballing etc. Do you think I should stick to them or is the extra two points given by the sabretooth worth considering? 

alpinejason · · Minneapolis · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 175

recommendation based purely on material: Air Tech. 

The stainless is soft. Even if they've resolved their cracking issue durability still pales in comparison to chromolly.

shadowfire · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
alpinejason wrote:

recommendation based purely on material: Air Tech. 

The stainless is soft. Even if they've resolved their cracking issue durability still pales in comparison to chromolly.

Yeah, I mean for "only" glacier travelling with low risk terrain, maybe it's not an issue with stainless steel, but on a steep slope pushing for the summit maybe it feels more secure with chromolly. 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476

Two very different pons. 

Air tech is good for traditional mountaineering walk ups (DC route on Rainier), but would not be my choice if it's more than a glacier stroll. The secondary points on that pon are way far back, it makes for a nice walking gait on low angle terrain. However once you get above 50 degrees on hard snow/ice they don't engage, so you have far less support. I find it far easier to balance on something with more aggressive secondary points in more technical terrain. 

The sabertooth is a far better choice for more technical terrain, the secondary points are far closer to the front of the boot. Much more stable on more technical terrain. Unless you're putting on tons of mileage on waterfall ice I wouldn't be concerned about the stainless at all. 


If you want something along the sabertooth design, but not stainless, the grivel G12 is a very good option. I think that's actually a better pon than the BD. Antibot plates are the best design, heel tabs fit the narrow soles boots are using now very well. I do not like the "curly cue" toe bail on the G12/14, but that's can be swapped out with another make.

Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

Petzl irvis hybrid, I have climbed wi3+ in them and they wiegh less then the grivel and the bd

shadowfire · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
Greg Shea wrote:

Petzl irvis hybrid, I have climbed wi3+ in them and they wiegh less then the grivel and the bd

why does? pros/cons?

shadowfire · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
Nick Drake wrote:

Two very different pons. 

Air tech is good for traditional mountaineering walk ups (DC route on Rainier), but would not be my choice if it's more than a glacier stroll. The secondary points on that pon are way far back, it makes for a nice walking gait on low angle terrain. However once you get above 50 degrees on hard snow/ice they don't engage, so you have far less support. I find it far easier to balance on something with more aggressive secondary points in more technical terrain. 

The sabertooth is a far better choice for more technical terrain, the secondary points are far closer to the front of the boot. Much more stable on more technical terrain. Unless you're putting on tons of mileage on waterfall ice I wouldn't be concerned about the stainless at all. 


If you want something along the sabertooth design, but not stainless, the grivel G12 is a very good option. I think that's actually a better pon than the BD. Antibot plates are the best design, heel tabs fit the narrow soles boots are using now very well. I do not like the "curly cue" toe bail on the G12/14, but that's can be swapped out with another make.

cheers mate, i've used the air techs fine, so far no "omg what is this" experience. Yet they worked like a charm on acon, elbrus and glacier training in norway.

the sabers are as you say putting 2 more points in the ice. you think it matters?

The G12 I think are awesome for tech/ice but less good for long walks/approaches. walking on rocks the air tech and sabres are better. 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476
shadowfire wrote:


the sabers are as you say putting 2 more points in the ice. you think it matters?

The G12 I think are awesome for tech/ice but less good for long walks/approaches. walking on rocks the air tech and sabres are better. 

Not the additional points, just matters that the points are further toward the toe of the boot. What I would want depends on the route and how sustained it is though. For examples I know, DC route of Rainier I would like the air tech. Liberty Ridge of Rainier I would opt for the sabertooth or G12.

I really don't think the G12 are *that* technical, they make a poor waterfall ice pon over WI3 IMO. Then again so do the G14.

my personal quiver:
Air Tech Light, ski mountaineering, glacier walks, getting through steep snow/ice in approach shoes (bugaboos)
Petzl vasak, summer mountaineering or steeper routes (sustained 50 degrees or more), easy ice WI3 and below
G20, technical water ice

jg fox · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

I recommend the crampon that fits your boot the best.  It may seem obvious saying that but I have observed a lot of people not doing so.  Black Diamond crampons fit La Sportiva boots very well, hence my preference towards their line up.

Concerning the stainless steel durability, BD took care of the reliability issues years ago. 

Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

Aluminum heel piece, no linking bar. That's why they are light.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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