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Help picking first pair of crampons
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Dec 29, 2009
I'm trying to pick out some crampons but am at a loss as to which ones to go with. Any advice would be appreciated.

-they will mostly be used for summer alpine climbing in the sierra, wind river range and possibly the bugaboos where most of the approach is on dry ground except for the last part.

-I don't have step-in compatible boots right now but I plan buying some in the near future.

-I don't see myself using these for waterfall ice

-I'd also like the ability to do longer snow routes

So it seems to me that because the crampons will spend most of their time in my pack it would be best to get aluminum ones. How do these hold up over time? Are there alternatives to aluminum that are still fairly light but more durable? Having never even worn the step in ones make a big difference over the strap on crampons? I don't want to be replacing them as soon as I get better boots.


PS- if anybody is looking to sell a pair I may be interested
Tyson Anderson
From SLC, UT
Joined May 14, 2007
139 points
Dec 30, 2009
BD Contact Strap is a good all around choice for steel crampons, will fit most shoes/boots, durable, not too heavy, and reasonably easy/quick to put on. Get the ones with anti-bot plates included.

The biggest difference between strap, step in, newmatic is how quickly they go on your boots. After a lot of years of using step-in flexible crampons I'm real happy with the Contacts since now I just toss them on my pack and go without having to worry about my boots, I've used them on light hiking boots and heavier boots. Did the Kautz on Rainier this past spring and they did fairly well on the steeper bullet hard glacial ice.

Aluminum crampons will be a bit lighter but you need to be careful to not use them on rock. Be prepared to take them on and off if the route covers mixed ground. I'm not flush enough to own 3 pairs of crampons so for me it's steel for the durability and the Contacts aren't really that much heavier than some aluminum crampons.

Vertical Ice and mixed will require as stiffer pair of crampons, and generally a more expensive pair.
Ralph Kolva
From Evergreen, CO
Joined Jun 5, 2006
268 points
Dec 30, 2009
Check out Kathoola Microspikes. Relatively inexpensive, very light, go on any footwear from trail runners to mountaineering boots, and have real live steel spikes.

I (heart) my Kathoolas.

Lee Smith
Joined Sep 5, 2003
1,685 points
Jan 5, 2010
As far as aluminum/aluminum alloy crampons go, I like my Grivel Air Tech Lights. They're about the lightest thing around and climb moderate snow really well. But if you want to do alpine routes (with bullet snow), I'd go with the Grivel G12 or something like that. I don't own them, but having rented them I think they work great.

As far as clip versus strap crampons...I don't think there's much difference, at least if you're only climbing snow. Sure, if you buy welted boots, you should get clip crampons; but having heavier boots will negate any weight savings you make with the crampons.
From concord, MA
Joined Sep 11, 2009
0 points
Jan 5, 2010
Like Lee Smith said, the Kathoola MicroSpikes are excellent. A pair of MicroSpikes now and a pair of step-in crampons later when you invest in some welted boots would be a good combo.

Step-in crampons are a lot more convenient to put on and take off than strap on models, I was awfully happy when I replaced my strap-on crampons with step-ins.
mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Joined Jul 30, 2005
66 points

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