Ski touring crampon buying guide :
What type of crampons should I choose according to my activity?
Crampons are increasingly specialized by activity. Ultra-light models are designed for everyday winter walking in the snow. As for the more traditional mountaineering crampons, they are dedicated to expeditions on glacier or rock. These crampons are recognized by their ultra-resistant steel tips for an irreproachable grip while offering great resistance to abrasion. While the aluminum crampons are ideal for ski touring approaches. Their low weight makes them better for uphill riding but they wear much faster than steel if used on rocky terrain or sharp ice. Aluminum crampons are the lightest, but by saving weight you lose durability and strength. Aluminium is therefore a good choice as long as you avoid rock and blue ice. There are even crampons with a hybrid spike like Petlz's with aluminum spikes in the rear and steel spikes in the front. They offer good grip on ice while keeping a lightweight construction. An excellent compromise between weight and efficiency.
Most crampons have 10 or 12 spikes. The 10-point models, whether steel or aluminium, are primarily designed to save weight. A ski touring boot crampon with 10 steel spikes is ideal for glacier expeditions but shows some limitations when the slope rises. Whereas a 12-point steel crampon is more specific for technical mountaineering and allows you to go over all terrains. For walking on snow, a 10-point aluminium crampon is more than enough.
Are my shoes compatible with my mountaineering crampons?
Knowing the compatibility of the boots with your crampons is essential for performance and safety. First determine the type of boot you have. Does your boot have a front or rear overhang? Is the sole rigid or not? What activity do you plan to do? For example, ultralight crampons with straps work with most ski touring boots, snow boots or other soft footwear. At Petzl, crampons with the Flexlock system feature a Black Flex binding on the back for full compatibility. With hard-soled mountaineering boots with double edging, you can opt for automatic crampons with a metal bar at the front and an ultra-quick locking system at the back that can even be put in the slope with one hand. The most common choice is the semi-rigid shoes with rear overhang, which are suitable for semi-automatic crampons. Thanks to a front strap and a rear quick release fastener at the rear, the shoe is easy to install. In case of doubt, here is a summary table to help you choose the right crampon for your shoe.
|Types de crampons||Strap||Semi-automatic||Automatic|
|Ski touring boots||✔||✔||✔|
|Rigid mountaineering boot with rear/front overhang||✔||✔||✔|
|Semi-rigid mountaineering boot with rear overhang||✔||✔||✘|
|Soft shoe (snowboard boots)||✔||✘||✘|