What is the point of using touring ski crampons?
Every tourer knows the problem. You start the day in freshly fallen and fluffy powder, but the closest you get to the summit, the roughest the conditions. Winds have blown powder away and all you have to ski on is ice or rock hard snow. That is when you are happy to have your crampons, they provide traction on hard snow and increase safety. If you plan to tour this season, you must have a pair of crampons with you!
Buyer’s guide for touring ski crampons
This little accessory may seem useless and you may carry them most of the time without using them, but when you need them and take them out, they can save your day (and more). When the skins tend to grip less, just put them under the ski binding, they’ll bite the snow and provide added traction, making sure you reach the top safely.
How do ski touring crampons work?
Ski touring crampons are made of aluminium which is a material well known for its lightweight and its durability. They feature some claws that grip on snow surface like nothing else, ensuring optimal traction through difficult sections of your tour.
Every manufacturer has developped their own models, each having particular specifications.
Originally, crampons were directly attached to the ski, they were fixed meaning that you had to lift the ski for every step. It was more walking than gliding.
Then, Dynafit released the half-mobile crampons that you could use just when you need them. They are attached to the ski, just like the previous models, but there is a hinge allowing the crampons to pivot when the ski glides forward. No need to lift the ski anymore. It feels more natural and it is less tiring.
With Diamir, we have the mobile crampons. Take them out when traction gets sketchy with only skins on. They are attached under the tip of the boot and follow your motion. On every step, the crampons dig into the snow and grip hard. Diamir even improved this technology and designed the Axion crampons, suited for everyone including beginners. You can keep them mounted all day long as they have two positions. Active, with the ‘claws’ pointing downwards, or inactive with the crampons upside down. You can switch from one to the other in seconds meaning you’re always ready when the terrain gets rough.
When do you need to put the crampons on the skis?
In all cases, ski touring crampons help climbing when it is steep and they are needed when skins tend to skid. It is designed to provide traction on icy terrains or hard snow but this doesn’t mean you can face a vertical slope made of ice! You will need more high alpine crampons and icepicks, and it becomes another sport.
What type of crampons should you buy?
Each manufacturer has crampons that work with bindings from the same brand. This makes the choice pretty easy, just pick the crampons adapted to your ski width.