Grivel Air Tech New Matic (2014)

For tackling more challenging terrain, the Grivel Air Tech New Matic provides 10 points to give grip on level ground, plus two front points for steeper slopes. There are eight downward-facing points that are 3cm long and two downward-facing points that are 2.5cm long. In addition, four of the spikes are rotated through 90 degrees to give a better grip when descending slopes, while two are set wider apart across the base to provide a more stable placement on each step. This all adds up to a superior level of grip on a wider variety of terrain than most crampons can offer. There are anti-balling plates fitted that pop out when compressed to spring the snow away from the sole before it has time to stick, so it’s extremely unlikely that these crampons will ball up with snow. Length adjustment can be achieved without tools, and the crampon is fitted to the boot with a toe cradle and heel clip (New Matic binding). It is, however, also available with other forms of binding, to allow it to be used with a wide variety of boots. This crampon is highly recommended for more challenging terrain and is ideal for use on 4-season boots for general mountaineering, alpinism, mixed snow and ice-climbing.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 36-47cm
Weight 940g (pair size regular with anti-balling plates)
Website www.grivelgb.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Grivel Air Tech New Matic was voted the crampon that was best for mountaineering in this test.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2014

 


Grivel Nepal SA (2013)

The Grivel Nepal SA has been popular for some years now and it remains a great option for general hillwalking. There is a slight curve to the shaft, which makes it a little easier to plant when walking up slopes. There is a rubber grip on the shaft for better handling when cutting steps, and there is a good leash that comes supplied and is included in the weight. The head has a gentle curve with a good adze for clearing ice and a good pick for biting into it, thanks to its good set of teeth. In the hand the head is comfortable to hold too. In use the balance of this axe is great and it’s easy to use for walking and easier mountaineering. Nice touches include the leash, which features a rubber protector to slip over the point. The axe comes in three good lengths for walkers too and the shorter length would be okay for easier mountaineering. But it is not the lightest option if weight is your priority, and you can spend less too if cash is short. But if you choose it the Grivel Nepal SA will provide long and reliable service to the hillwalker.

Classification basic
Materials hot forged head, carbon steel shaft
Sizes 58, 66, 74cm
Weight 558g (66cm)
Website
www.grivelgb.co.uk

 

Verdict
The Grivel Nepal SA was the best general hillwalking ice axe in our test.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Grivel Air Tech New Matic Heel Clip 12 Point (2013)

Grivel has a long history of making great crampons, and the Air Tech New Matic Heel Clip 12 Point has been popular for several years and a frequent winner of ‘Best in Test’ in Trail. It is a 12 point design, which gives it extra grip on more varied terrain and specifically in mountaineering situations where you may not have all the spikes in contact with the snow or ice so you need everything you can get! The 12 spikes have a mix of lengths from 2cm to 3cm along with serrated edges to provide extra grip on mixed ground of snow, ice and rock, which is so typical of the British hills in winter as well as many mountaineering situations. Four points are rotated through 90 degrees for better grip on snow when descending. There are anti-balling plates fitted that pop out when compressed to spring the snow away from the sole before it has time to stick. Length adjustment can helpfully be achieved without tools, and the crampon is fitted to the boot via a toe cradle and heel clip, so it requires boots with a rear lip. The Grivel Air Tech New Matic Heel Clip 12 Point is C2-rated for use on stiffer 4-season boots. This crampon is ideal for general mountaineering, alpinism, mixed snow and ice climbing.

Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 36-47cm
Weight 940g (pair, including anti-balling plates)
Website
www.grivelgb.co.uk

 

Verdict
The Grivel Air Tech New Matic Heel Clip 12 Point crampons are the best option for mountaineering in this test.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Grivel Spider (2012)

The instep crampon has been the traditional solution to walking on frozen ground without using full crampons, and the Grivel Spider has been available for many years. It comes in one size and fits most footwear due to its simple frame, which is strapped to the instep of the shoe. Screwed into the frame are 10 spikes that are 1cm long and very sharp, so they are great for biting into hard ice as well as frozen ground. The toe and forefoot of the boot’s outsole remains exposed and this can be useful if there is not too much ice around; however you do need to take care that you walk with a stamping action when you need the spikes, as a ‘toe to heel’ walking action does not give the spikes an opportunity to bite into the ground very effectively. Best used when small areas of snow or ice need to be crossed.

 

Materials polyamide frame and steel spikes

Sizes one size

Weight 164g (pair)

Stockist details www.grivelgb.com

 

Verdict

The Grivel Spider is best for tracks with small areas of snow or ice.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine February 2012

 


Grivel Nepal SA 2012

The Grivel Nepal SA is a beautifully constructed traditional-style walking ice axe with a slightly bent shaft. The cast head is a work of art and is armed with a decent-sized welded adze that will cut steps with ease, and a pick with a full set of aggressive teeth. The shaft is gently curved with a recessed rubber grip and is tipped by a well-shaped ferrule. In action the balance is nice, giving a positive kick when swung, and the shaft plunges easily into snow. This set-up is great for walking but the token bend in the shaft does not give enough clearance to offer any real protection to your knuckles when front pointing. It comes supplied with a well-thought-out leash, with a slider and a rubber loop expander, which aids getting your hand in and out of the loop. The leash is also tipped with a built-in ferrule protector. The Grivel Nepal SA is a beautifully made axe that will give many years’ service and is most suited to walking, trekking or easier glacier tours.

Classification basic
Materials hot forged head, carbon steel
Sizes 58, 66, 74cm
Weight 506g (66cm)
Website www.grivelgb.co.uk

 

The Grivel Nepal SA is the best traditional axe we looked at.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2012


Grivel Air Tech New Matic – Heel Clip 12 Point 2012

The Grivel Air Tech New Matic – Heel Clip 12 Point is a well-thought-out and very capable crampon. The 12 point spike arrangement has a mix of long and short spikes with serrated back edges. This spike set-up is perfect for both snow and ice, but will also cope with prolonged movement over the rock and mixed ground that is so typical of British mountains. 3D relief stamping boosts structural strength without compromising weight. The crampons are supplied with Grivel’s nifty Antibott anti-balling plates, which pop out the snow before it has a chance to ball up. All adjustments to crampons and plates can be made without tools, which is a useful feature. The binding system comprises of a heel clip and toe strap, which makes fitting extremely fast. A good set of instructions with diagrams ensures fitting is easy too. The Grivel Air Tech New Matic – Heel Clip 12 Point is a superb crampon for mountaineering, alpinism and climbing. They will happily cope with winter Munro-bagging, 4000m-plus peaks and high-end climbs.

Materials NiCroMo steel
Classification C2
Sizes one size fits 36-47cm
Weight 940g (pair including anti-balling plates)
Website www.grivelgb.co.uk

 

The Grivel Air Tech New Matic – Heel Clip 12 Point is best for mountaineering.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2012


Grivel G10 New Classic Lux 2011

The very flexible plate and substantial thermoplastic cradles make the Grivel G10 New Classic Lux an ideal crampon for winter hill-walking. The 10 spikes are arrayed well to deal with moderately angled snow and the odd venture onto ice. There’s 3D relief stamping throughout for extra strength too. The crampons are supplied with Grivel’s nifty AntiBott anti-balling plates, which pop out the snow before it has a chance to ball up under you. These plates can also be replaced without the need for tools, which is an asset. The binding system involves two thermoplastic cradles fastened with a  strap, which makes fitting simple, as do a good set of instructions with diagrams. But the Grivel G10 New Classic Lux is an out-and-out walking crampon that is a little too flexible for steeper terrain.

Classification C1
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 36-47
Weight 835g (pair, including anti-balling plates)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK 50

The Grivel G10 New Classic Lux is a crampon that’s perfect for winter hill walking, glacier travel and high-altitude trekking.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Grivel Air Tech New Matic 2011

The Grivel Air Tech New Matic is a well-thought-out and very capable crampon. The 12 point spike arrangement has a mix of long and short spikes with serrated back edges. This spike set-up is perfect for both snow and ice, but will also cope with prolonged movement over rock and mixed ground. There’s 3D relief stamping throughout for extra strength too. The crampons are supplied with Grivel’s nifty AntiBott anti-balling plates, these pop out the snow before it has a chance to ball up under you. These plates can also be replaced without the need for tools, which is useful. The binding system comprises of a heel clip and toe strap, which makes fitting extremely fast. A good set of instructions including diagrams ensures fitting is easy. For mountaineering, alpinism and winter climbing. But the Grivel Air Tech New Matic is definitely the crampon for those aspiring to the steeper stuff, so if you want a walking crampon then you would be better looking at some of the others.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size to fit 36-47
Weight 940g (pair, including anti-balling plates)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK 36

The Grivel Air Tech New Matic is a superb crampon for mountaineering, alpinism and climbing, and with relatively short spikes it is particularly suited to British winters’ thin snow and ice cover. It was adjudged the best mountaineering crampon in our test.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Grivel Brenva 2011

The Grivel Brenva is a beautifully constructed general ice axe. The cast head is a work of art and is armed with a sculpted adze that will cut steps with ease, and a pick that has a full set of aggressive teeth. The shaft has a shallow clearance bend, a recessed rubber grip and is tipped by a well-shaped ferrule. The curved shaft is designed for improved self-arrest. In action the balance is excellent, giving a positive kick when swung, and the shaft plunges easily into snow. This setup is great if you dabble in a bit of the steeper stuff but mostly use it for walking. This axe is well-made so it will give many years of service. But the slight shaft bend clearance is too much of a compromise to offer any real protection to your knuckles when front pointing.

Classification technical
Materials hot forged head, carbon steel
Sizes 48, 53, 58, 66, 74cm
Weight 555g (with leash and spike protector)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK 12

The Grivel Brenva is a beautifully made axe most suited to walking, trekking or easier Alpine peaks.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Grivel Nepal Steel Munro 2011

The Grivel Nepal Steel Munro is a basic, no-nonsense walking axe that, as the name suggests, would be good for tackling winter Munros. It’s very much a traditional axe with a straight shaft, full-size adze and an alpine pick with moderately aggressive teeth. It will plunge into snow, cut steps and do the odd bit of front pointing without too much fuss. There is an equal balance between head and shaft, which is nice to walk with but will not sustain too much front pointing. It comes with an excellent leash and ferrule guard. But the shaft lacks grip, meaning you will need to use the leash while front pointing. Those who like to use their axe leashless might find this a bit off-putting.

Classification basic
Materials hot forged head, carbon steel
Sizes 58, 66, 74cm
Weight 470g (with leash and spike protector)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK 35

The Grivel Nepal Steel Munro is a quality tool that will provide a lifetime’s service as a walking axe.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Grivel Air Tech New Matic 2009

The Grivel Air Tech New Matic is a well-thought-out and very capable crampon. The 12-point arrangement has a mix of long and short spikes with serrated back edges. This spike set-up is perfect for both snow and ice, but will also cope with prolonged movement over rock and mixed ground. There’s 3D relief stamping throughout for extra strength too. The crampons are supplied with nifty Grivel AntiBott anti-balling plates, which pop out the snow before it has a chance to ball up under you. These plates can also be replaced without the need for tools, which is useful for travellers through the mountains. The binding system comprises of a heel clip and toe strap, which makes fitting extremely fast. A good set of instructions with diagrams ensures fitting is easy. For winter mountaineering, Alpinism and winter climbing. But the Grivel Air Tech New Matic is definitely the crampon for those aspiring to the steeper stuff – for a walking crampon you would be better off with Grivel’s 10-point option, the New Classic.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo Steel
Sizes one size to fit 36-47
Weight 980g pair with anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details tel. (0191) 296 0212, www.mountainboot.co.uk
Verdict
The Grivel Air Tech New Matic is a superb crampon for winter mountaineering, Alpinism and climbing.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

Grivel G10 New Classic 2009

The very flexible plate and the substantial thermoplastic cradles make the Grivel G10 New Classic an ideal crampon for winter hill-walking. The 10 spikes are arrayed well to deal with moderately angled snow and the odd venture onto ice. There’s 3D relief stamping throughout for extra strength too. The crampons are supplied with nifty Grivel AntiBott anti-balling plates, which pop out the snow before it has a chance to ball up under you. These plates can also be replaced without the need for tools, which is useful for travellers through the mountains. The binding system is two thermoplastic cradles fastened with a strap, which makes fitting simple. A good set of instructions with diagrams also ensures fitting is easy. But the Grivel G10 New Classic is an out-and-out walking crampon that is a little too flexible for steeper terrain.

Classification C1
Materials NiCroMo Steel
Sizes one size to fit 36-47
Weight 850g pair with anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details tel. (0191) 296 0212, www.mountainboot.co.uk
Verdict
The Grivel G10 New Classic is a perfect crampon for winter hill-walking, glacier travel and high-altitude trekking.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

Grivel Air Tech Evolution 2009

The Grivel Air Tech Evolution is a beautifully constructed general ice axe. The cast head is a work of art and is armed with a sculpted adze that will cut steps with ease, and a pick that has a full set of aggressive teeth. The shaft has a clearance bend, a recessed rubber grip and is tipped by a well-shaped ferrule. In action this axe is a slight let-down as the balance is a tad head-heavy and the pick is on the short side. This set-up is ideal on the harder snow and ice found in the Alps, but can be something of a drawback in British hills. Apart from these minor niggles this axe is so well-made it will give many years of service. But the balance is a bit off-putting and so the Grivel Air Tech Evolution is more suited to snow conditions in the Alps rather than the UK.

Classification technical
Materials Chromolly steel
Sizes 48, 53, 58 and 66cm
Weight 560g (58cm with leash and spike protector)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details tel. (0191) 296 0212, www.mountainboot.co.uk
Verdict
For general mountaineering and walking service at higher altitude this is a great axe.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

Grivel Matrix Tech

The Matrix Tech ice axe is designed for ice-climbers and mountaineers. It is an ideal choice for climbers who want easy handling and a dedicated design. The shaft is contoured for easier grip, thanks to the rubber shaft and hand support moulding on the end of the shaft. The shaft has a double angulated shape that opens up space for the head to allow easier placements without rapping the knuckles and makes it easier to place the pick over protruding ice. This is an axe that is ideal for steeper ice. Although not provided with a leash, the Grivel Tech Leash can be fitted. You also get the ability to change the head, plus a matching hammer is available. But this is a ice-climbing tool rather than a day-to-day hill-walker’s axe. While its features are superb for climbing, walkers would benefit from other axes that are lighter, lower in price and better for using as a walking aid.

Vital stats

Classification technical

Materials NiCrMo steel head

Sizes 50cm

Weight 675g (size 50cm with leash)

Made in Italy

Stores in UK 100

 

Verdict A dedicated ice climbing tool that is superb at what it does – but it’s not ideal for your average hill-walker, which is what this review is about!


Grivel Air Tech New Classic

These are 12 point crampons with a little extra attention to detail. The points are a mixed bag of short, serrated and rotated configurations that provide extra grip on slopes and traverses. The points are shorter than some others too, which prevents snagging and tripping but also makes them ideal for mixed rock and ice terrain, which is so common in typically mild UK winters. There’s 3D relief stamping throughout for extra strength too. The crampons are supplied with Grivel’s AntiBott anti-balling plates, which actively force the snow out of from the base of the boot. These plates can also be replaced without the need for tools. The binding system comprises of a heel and toe moulding and straps. A good set of instructions with diagrams ensure fitting is easy. Better still, they are compact when stowed in a pack. But they have a high price tag, so you need to be sure that you want all those natty extra design features. The front points are very sharp, making them much better for steeper ice, but much more likely to catch on your gaiters and therefore less suitable for beginners. They‘re also a bit heavier than some other crampons, and crampons with a heel clip are faster to fit.

Materials NiCroMo Steel
Classification C2
Sizes one size to fit 35-46
Weight 916g pair with anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in UK 35

Verdict Excellent grip on mixed terrain and superb anti-balling plates, but others are even faster to fit.

 


Grivel G12 New Matic

This is a classic crampon for regular use in snow and ice, when you know you are going to be battling over the white stuff all day. You get 12 points with four points rotated through 90 degrees to prevent slippage on slopes. The points are along and sharp, making them ideal for deep snow and ice. There’s 3D relief stamping throughout for extra strength too. The crampons are supplied with Grivel’s AntiBott anti-balling plates, which kick out the snow before it has a chance to settle. These plates can also be replaced without the need for tools, which is useful for travellers through the mountains. The binding system comprises of a heel clip and toe strap, which makes fitting extremely fast. A good set of instructions with diagrams ensures fitting is easy. For regular winter walking in good snow these are ideal. But the price may put you off, and there are lighter crampons. For mixed terrain the Grivel AirTech would be a better choice as it has shorter points. The points are long and sharp so they are much more likely to catch on your gaiters and they are therefore less suitable for beginners. They’re a bit heavier than some other crampons.

Materials NiCroMo Steel
Classification C2
Sizes one size to fit 36-47
Weight 950g pair with anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in UK 120

Verdict Superb all-round crampons for mountaineering, alpinism, mixed climbing and general mountain walking.

 


Grivel Air Tech New Matic

Grivel is a well-proven manufacturer of crampons and you’ll find it hard to find a crampon better than this. The Air Tech New Matic boasts a number of refined details that add to the performance and make it a winner. Firstly it is made of steel, so it is built to last and take the knocks from a winter of use on mixed snow, ice and rock. You get 3D stamping to add extra strength. You get 12 points, and the layout is complex to provide a little more traction on slopes. You get anti-balling plates, and the design actively disperses snow thanks to its bubble design, plus you also get an accordion (a piece of rubber) along the linking bar to prevent snow build-up at the heel breast. Fitting is quick and easy as the crampons have an adjustable heel clip with straps linking to a front toe strap. Adjustment too is easy. I like how the anti-balling plates can be easily removed if required for replacement, while some rival crampons require a screwdriver for this task. Instructions are good. All those features for just 986g and £85 is an excellent package, that should suit the needs of most serious winter walkers and low-grade mountaineers who are wearing C2-compatible 4-season walking and mountaineering boots. But these are not the lightest crampons available. The spikes are perhaps a little shorter than on some other crampons, which means they are not so good for deep snow, but better for ice and also less likely to snag on gaiters or catch on rocks so easily, so your choice will depend on your destination. You don’t get a crampon bag, but then you don’t with most crampons. There are lower-priced models of course, but do they offer the features? Like all C2 crampons these can only be used on stiff 4-season B2 boots, so if you have a bendy 3-4 season B1 boot, you‘ll need to check out the C1 crampons.

 

Classification: C2
Materials: NiCrMo steel
Sizes: one size fits 35-46
Weight: 986g including anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in UK: England 66; Wales 12; Scotland 33; Ireland 2

Verdict: Buy it if you want an all-rounder C2 crampon for winter walking and mountaineering, as well as glacier travel in the UK or abroad where you are expecting a mix of snow, ice and rock under foot.


Grivel G10

The Grivel G10 is a modern classic crampon that has frequently been rated highly by Trail. The crampon is based around 10 spikes that are not as sharp as some designs, to reduce the chance of snagging on gaiters. You get 3D stamping for added strength too, while four spikes have been set horizontally to improve traction forwards and backwards. Anti-balling plates and a piece of rubber on the central bar are provided to prevent snow from sticking to the base of these crampons and this is an outstanding feature. Adjustment is easy and these can be attached easily to boots, while good instructions ensure you don’t struggle too much the first time. These crampons weigh only 880g, which is very respectable and only beaten high by less durable crampons. All that for £80 is good value, when you consider the extra details of the design that you can benefit from. But you can get lower-priced crampons (and you even get a crampon bag with some lower-priced crampons too!) – but to me these are not good enough reasons to avoid this model, as crampons last for many years and so any small price difference has to be spread over many years of service. All C2 crampons with heel clips are faster and easier to fit as well of course and those with 12 points offer more grip.

 

Classification: C1
Materials: NiCrMo steel
Sizes: one size fits 35-46
Weight: 880g including anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in UK: England 66; Wales 12; Scotland 33; Ireland 2

Verdict: Buy it if you require a C1 crampon with superb features for winter hill-walking as nothing else can compare in terms of features.


Grivel Munro

This ice axe has been Trail’s favourite ice axe for the last couple of years and it continues to set the pace on the slopes this winter. It wins as it would be very difficult to equip an ice axe any better for the typical British winter walker. You get the basic set of features that all winter walkers need including a good range of sizes. Grab the axe and the tool feels well-balanced in the hands. You get a leash that has a spike protector pre-attached and this will no doubt save the coverings of many car seats! The shaft is a straight design and the head offers a gentle curve to make it ideal for walking in snow. The head has a reasonably wide adze for chopping steps and a good spike for ice axe braking. There is no grip on the shaft to hamper vertical placements . At 482g for the 60cm version this is light, even when allowing for the difference in lengths supplied here. Better still the price of just £40 makes this exceptionally good value for money. In these days of mixed winter conditions when you may actually end up carrying your ice axe all winter in the hope of finding a snow slope, all these features combine to make this a winner for the average winter hill-walker.  But while the Munro is very good it could be even better. You don’t get a rubber grip on the shaft for example, which can be helpful if you are going to be swinging the axe for cutting steps regularly. The leash is a rather basic design, so regular users may prefer an alternative. Some axes have a precurved shaft for easier placement in snow slopes, while others are rated as technical so that they can be used for roped belays. But if you want an excellent basic axe for general walking these drawbacks should not put you off.

Verdict: Buy it if you are heading for the British hills this winter as it is well-priced and does most things really well, though others are better for more regular users or those heading for more difficult terrain.

Classification: basic

Materials: carbon steel

Sizes: 58, 65, 74cm

Weight: 482g (size 58cm with leash)

Made in Italy

Stores in UK: England 160; Wales 10; Scotland 40; Ireland 4