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BLOG | TIPS | 12 April 2017

How to choose your crampons 2017

In this article we explain all types of crampons, their use, and we show you the full range that you can find on our website this season.

ANATOMY OF A CRAMPON

PARTS

Every crampon frame has two parts:

  • Back, for the heel.
  • Front, for the metatarsal region and toe.
They are attached by a center (linking) bar or other regulation system.

The points are located on the bottom of the crampon, usually following the shape of the boot and organized in more or less symmetrical pairs (except the varying lengths of the front points). These are attached to some type of anti-bot system.

Bindings (which can be “straps”, “automatic” or “semi-automatic”) at the heel and toe keep the crampon attached to the boot.

TYPES OF CRAMPONS

TYPES OF FRONT POINTS

Crampons can be categorized according to their front points:

  • Technical or climbing crampon, with vertical front points
  • “Walking” crampons with horizontal front points
It is a functionally successful categorization: when walking, the vertical points catch in the ground and are more uncomfortable. Moreover, except for some T-shaped points, they have poorer grip when walking on the snow.

In contrast, using a vertical monopoint instead of a horizontal front point provides a number of advantages when ice climbing.

In general:

  • Use short points for rock climbing and mixed terrain.
  • Use long points for snow and ice.


HORIZONTAL DUAL-POINT

These are the classic front points with a horizontal section and downward curving points.

New wraparound systems that improve the crampon’s grip in the snow are starting to hit the market.

In general, horizontal front points end in a sharp point to provide a solid grip on the ice (something that’s always a possibility on the high mountain), but wider points shaped like a screwdriver are also available and provide better grip on uneven snow.

HORIZONTAL DUAL-POINT
VERTICAL DUAL-POINT

It all started when the front points were added to crampons: suddenly, the myths of unclimbable terrain became a thing of the past.

If simply adding front points managed to do all that…what happens when those points are shaped like the tip of ice ax? The grip on ice becomes incredibly solid and reliable.

Various combinations, such as secondary or T-shaped points, counteract the grip on the snow that is lost when changing direction.

VERTICAL MONOPOINT

It didn’t stop there. A single point instead of two makes climbing with unprecedented precision and making moves that were traditionally impossible with dual-points, like pivoting laterally, possible.

Monopoint crampons are used when it comes to technical climbing. Many users buy modular crampons and use the dual-point design until they try out the monopoint; the wide range of technical possibilities with the monopoint compensates for the stronger grip of the dual-point.

As for stability, a second pair of points come into play to compensate.

Tip: Long, sharp point for ice; short point with a 90-degree edge for rock and mixed terrain.

VERTICAL MONOPOINT
While categorizing crampons by their front points is the most practical, they can also be differentiated by other criteria that provide interesting nuances.

TYPES OF BINDINGS

Binding systems include:

  • STRAPS

    This is the classic binding system. A strap attaches the front and back of the crampon to the foot.

    This system is the most basic and the least solid; however, it is also the most universal and versatile and can fit almost any boot, even snowboarding boots.

  • AUTOMATIC

    These bindings comprise a steel wire bail that fits the toe of rigid boots (works with most rigid and ski boots) and a bail or lever that fits the heel.

    When the bail is lifted and the crampon is properly adjusted to the boot, this automatic step-in binding attaches firmly with a characteristic “click”. An additional strap on the heel keeps the boot from accidentally slipping out of the crampon.

    This automatic step-in system provides several advantages:
    • Secure fit
    • Lightweight
    • Adjustment options (the boot can be moved forward or backward on the crampon for use on rocks or ice, for example)
    Some brands offer adapters to make the crampons semi-automatic, but these only fit rigid boots.

  • SEMI-AUTOMATIC

    This is a hybrid of classic straps and an automatic step-in binding that combines a toe strap with a step-in heel and can be used with any rigid boot on the market along with a wide range of semi-rigid or summer boots. The back bail used with step-in bindings make these semi-automatic models much more comfortable for snow walking.

    These are versatile bindings that can be used with both winter and summer boots. They are the most comfortable to wear, so they are very popular for use in extreme cold (eight-thousanders, polar expeditions) where the use of thick gloves makes it harder to handle crampons.

    Disadvantages: While designed for technical climbing, the boot cannot move forward or backwards with semi-automatic bindings and are less precise and more bulky.

  • MULTIPLE

    Edelrid was the first with its Shark model: a modular model that features all three binding systems in one crampon. Petzl came out with its model last year, improving the design and applying the system to its entire crampon range.


TYPE OF ACTIVITY

CLASSIC (horizontal front points):

  • Snow walking
  • Classic and multipurpose climbing
  • Mixed terrain
  • Ultra-lightweight


TECHNICAL (vertical front points):

  • Technical mountain climbing
  • Rock climbing


SKI MOUTAINEERING

BARRABES 2017 CLASSIC CRAMPONES COLLECTION

CLASSIC (horizontal front points):

GRIVEL

  • G10 is a walking crampon. The wider WIDE version is ideal for snowboarding or other wide boots.

G10
  • G12 Features a total of 12 points. Versatile crampon that can be used from everything from snow walking to vertical climbs. Its long points deliver outstanding grip. Infallible.

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