Judy Armstrong tests a pair of steel mountaineering crampons offering good fit and plenty of adjustment.
This review is part of our crampons gear guide, and was first published in the February 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.
First things first: these 12-point crampons do not have a heel harness, which can fit any boot, but a plastic clip (also called a heel throw or bail). So, you need boots with a heel ledge (or welt) for the clip to nest in. A small plastic dial embedded in the clip assists in making it a tight fit, to prevent it being kicked off. The boot will also need to be stiffer so the sole and crampon flex less. In this case, the heel clip is teamed with a thermoplastic toe harness, and linked by fairly stiff nylon strapping. This threads neatly and tightens through large, glove-friendly rings with a pull tag.
Instructions for these crampons are clear and easy to follow, and a bolt kit is included so once the central bar has been adjusted, the sizing is properly secure. The large front plate makes them more suited to medium to large boots; on my size 37s the plates were almost joined. Front and heel plates are wide enough for virtually all boot types, with two short stubs to locate and secure the heel. The central bar is lightly curved to match modern sole shapes, but less aggressive than the Petzl Irvis.
Despite the weight on the scales, they feel very light on the feet. The points are relatively long (we measured them at approx 5mm longer than the other crampons tested) and bite positively into snow and ice. Blue plastic anti-ball plates are effective, with no snow accumulation even on sticky, wet stuff. The whole sensation is of dexterity, and the crampons are as easy to remove as they are to put on.
Rugged materials and an easy to use design, with long points and ample foot platforms make these top crampons for the ambitious walker moving into climbing. No bag is provided: what a shame.