Crampons come in many styles and flavors. The changes in manufacturing techniques and design have made modern crampons unbelievable platforms for defying gravity with. The vertical front point and the step in binding are probably the most significant advances over the years.
On the left are a handmade pair Swiss 8 point crampons. In the era these were manufactured crampons were usually fashioned by blacksmiths. The center photo is of an early Grivel 10 point design. These actually incorporated front points. The S.M.C. "strap ons" on the right were the basic standard in crampons for many years.
Above are a couple of pair of run of the mill glacier crampons. Notice the horizontal front points. Horizontal front points seem to work better on snow and and the flexible design does not collect as much snow on the bottom as rigid crampons do.
These Black Diamond "Scissors" work wonderfully for front pointing on steep ice but do not work very well for French technique or flat footing little bulges. The biggest problem with them is how narrow they are through the center, also the two points in this area are not very aggressive. They tend to rock and feel unstable for less than vertical work.
The crampons on the left have a long history. The only original parts are the bails now. Everything else has been replaced at least once. They were purchased originally in 1983 as a pair of dual front point Lowe "light-fangs". In 1992 I converted them to mono points and had to custom cut and add the red "foot- fang" snow plates. In 2000 I replaced the side rails due to extreme wear and added a new mono point kit. These are still my crampons of choice 9 out of 10 days. The crampons shown center and right are a pair of dual front point "super fangs". These are fitted to my plastic mountaineering boots and climb equally as well on soft glaciers or steep, brittle waterfall ice. When I have some spare change I'll probably replace the old mono's with a pair of "super-fang" mono's.
more to come
ice climbing by state
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