Crampons for vertical WI ice climbing

  • 12/26/2018 3:47 PM
    Message # 6972936

    My mountaineering (Sportiva Trango) boots have "round toes" and can not interface with a front bail crampon. Looks like most of the crampons with vertical frontpoints have bails, especially used gear at the Gear Exchange in Bishop for example.  (even had some old one-piece crampons with vert frontpoints)

    Reading up vertical v. horizontal front points, sounds like most prefer the single point vertical front points, but I can just use my regular horizontal frontpoint crampons for trying out ice climbing on a single pitch or MAA intro class. It's "currently" not a goal to become a ice climber. 


    1. Do you agree horizontal frontpoints from say my 12 point Grivels are fine for a beginner vertical WI climb?

    2. If not, would my Alpine Touring (BC) ski boots work for a short climb with some used crampons with front and rear bails and vertical frontpoints?  



  • 01/06/2019 7:55 PM
    Reply # 6986507 on 6972936

    I'm a relative beginner in ice climbing as well, but since nobody else has chimed in I'll go...

    I've climbed up to WI4 with horizontal front points and have managed okay, especially on popular crags that are often well travelled and thus have pretty good feet already kicked. I've also used vertical front points and they definitely work better, but for intro classes horizontal should be fine.  The bigger issue with your LS Trango's may be the 3/4 shank.  Without a full shank they are more flexible than you want for ice climbing.  I've never tried to ice climb without a full shank so they may work okay, but something to think about or look into. 

    I've also climbed just fine in my AT boots (Dynafit Neo PX).  Again, not as good as mountaineering boots but definitely usable.  Given the choice between a boot with a flexible sole and my AT boots I'd probably choose my AT boots. One thing to watch out for is I had "hybrid" crampons with a toe strap instead of toe bail and the way they fit on my AT boots the insert for tech bindings in the toe rubbed directly on the rivet that held the strap on and eventually caused it to fail.  They also didn't fit very well and came off a time or two. BD said it was a common failure mode (tech inserts causing the toe strap rivet to fail) and replaced them with the fully automatic version with a toe bail which have worked well. So if you use your AT boots I'd suggest going with fully automatic crampons (I had to get the wider toe bail from BD to make them fit). 

  • 01/07/2019 9:35 AM
    Reply # 6987583 on 6972936

    Thanks John, really helpful!  

    Sounds like the AT boots are the way to go for now.  Then invest in proper equipment later if I add this activity to my long list of hobbies... 

    Not sure what you mean by "fully automatic version" other than bails on front and rear maybe?  

    Sounds like due to toe size I should take my AT boots with me to the gear exchange to make sure they fit.  

  • 01/07/2019 10:07 AM
    Reply # 6987619 on 6972936

    Yes, by fully automatic I mean uses both toe and heel welts (not sure why "automatic"? just a term I've seen used).

    And yes, it's good to make sure crampons will fit whatever boots you are going to use them on before buying.  From what I've read most crampon/boot combos will work okay, but there can be combos that don't work. These are what I had to get for my AT boots: and those might work with other brand's crampons as well.

  • 02/20/2019 2:13 PM
    Reply # 7175650 on 6972936


    FYI to close out the conversation...  

    I used my Scarpa AT boots with some vert front pointing used crampons with toe and heel bails (from the gear exchange), and they worked great.  We did a couple climbs at Lee Vining. 

    Very light weight set up.  Not sure I want to use them long term of course, but they were stiff, warm, light, effective.  

    Thanks for the detailed and helpful responses! 


  • 02/21/2019 1:23 PM
    Reply # 7177569 on 6972936
    Glad things worked out well for you!  I got my first dose of ice at Lee Vining in AT boots as well and now I've got real ice climbing boots, my own tools, and am always looking for the next opportunity to get out! (which isn't much this season unfortunately. :()

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