CRAMPONS

It’s essential that crampons are fitted only to stiffened boots (often referred to as B1, B2 or B3 following a ratings system devised by the mountaineer Brian Hall). Fitting stiff crampons onto flexible boots could lead to the crampons falling off and disastrous consequences.

For ice climbing, choose a pair with vertical front points.  An ideal set-up would be a pair of B3 rated mountain boots together with C3 technical crampons.  The more aggressive front points give extra bite.  These styles can also often be adapted to a mono-point set up for even better penetration and precision on hard ice.  Attachment is usually by a metal front bar and rear heel lever which will only work on a B3 boot.

When mountaineering – perhaps doing the easier Scottish winter gullies or alpine routes – a C2 crampon will be technical enough for the climbing while still being relatively low-profile.  The attachment system will be a rear heel lever and front toe cage, strapped together on a B2 or B3 boot.

For snowy walking, such as winter Munro bagging or on the easiest routes on Mont Blanc, a C1 crampon will be ideal.  These styles strap on and flex with B1 rated boots, though they can also be fitted to stiffer B2 or B3 boots.  They have low-profile points which give excellent grip on snow and neve but are also easy to walk in.

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