Crampons is a metal plate with spikes fixed to a boot to improve traction and secured mobility for walking on ice, rock climbing, ascending snow slopes, etc. There are currently 10-14 points that include the forward angled spikes. It is attached to footwear such as ski boots, with a binding system. Crampons are graded as C1, C2 and C3 where C1 is relatively flexible, C2 is versatile for walking and mountaineering, and C3 is for technical mountaineering. The crampons made of aluminum or steel can be used for snow walking, but for other purposes such as mountaineering, waterfall ice and mixed climbing, crampons made of steel are used. The snow walking crampons are flexible, with strap-on bindings and 8-10 points.
There are mainly 3 types of crampons
Step-in Crampons: It is expensive and used for extreme activities such as mountaineering, alpinism, ice climbing, and dry tooling. They are expensive, heavy and not compatible with all types of boots. In order to use in extreme activities, it has to be tightly fit with the boots. It is tightly attached with rubber belts to the boots and metal bars fitted into the rubber welts which can dig into the groove for traction.
Hybrid Crampons: It is almost as tightly fit as and heavy as step-in crampons. It is more flexible than step-in crampons and compatible with a wider range of boots. It has a toe strap that is pulled in place, instead of the metal strap. Even though it has many features similar to step-in crampons, it does not have as much technical specialization as step-in crampons. They can be used on moderate slopes but not on steep slopes. So they are mainly used in glacier travel and non-technical mountaineering.
Step-on Crampons: It has spikes which are just 1/4th size of step-in crampons and provide extra traction to the boots. They are lightweight, cheaper and fit with almost all varieties of boots. They don’t have metal straps or rubber welts, but are attached using straps and elastic features. Even though they cannot be used for extreme activities, they are popularly used for hiking, scrambling and moderate glacier travels. They are easier to maintain and can be used for casual activities.
What are Ski- Crampons?
Ski crampons are the most significant equipment that offers the best traction and thereby increases your safety in frozen or icy snow conditions. It is commonly used when ski skins do not offer enough resistance/traction on the surface. It has claws and sharp points on the sides, which acts as a grip on the snowy surface. They are usually made of aluminum and are used with ski-touring bindings. Choose a ski-crampon which is neither too wide nor too narrow compared with the width of the ski waist. It may slip back and forth if it is too wide and it may not fit if it is too narrow.
Ski crampons should be mounted prior to ascending on the steep surface. On the toe piece of the crampon slot, the ski-crampons should be pushed in the vertical position. Before being folded down flat, lock the crampon, such that it is in the middle of the ski. Use the ski crampons on the snow, and do not use them on rocks or mixed terrains.
For non-steep terrain, ski-crampons are not necessary, you can safely and easily reach the hill top using a T-Bar ski Lift.