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 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


Climbing Technology Nuptse 2012

At £85 for a set of 12 point semi-automatic crampons the Climbing Technology Nuptses are extremely good value. The build quality is robust and businesslike rather than slick, and they lack some of the finer details found on higher-priced products, but importantly they do all the things you would expect from a C2 crampon. The spike configuration is fairly traditional with symmetric front points, and the rear two sets of spikes rotated at 90º for the heel unit and 45º for the sole unit. Spike length is ideal for rocky British conditions, yet still long enough to deal with snowier ground found in the Alps. With one-touch length adjustment and a positive heel plate they are a doddle to adjust and fit. Their configuration is suited to tackling rock and ice as well as varying types of snow, which makes them suitable for walking and mid-grade climbing at home and abroad. The Climbing Technology Nuptse is perfect for those who want mountaineering crampons but don’t want to break the bank.

Materials hardened steel
Classification C2
Sizes one size fits 36-46cm (long extension bar to 50 available)
Weight 945g (pair including anti-balling plates)
Website www.mountain-works.co.uk

 

The Climbing Technology Nuptse is best for value mountaineering.

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


Petzl Lynx 2012

New this season from Petzl, Lynx crampons bring an alternative twist to crampon options. Aimed at the higher end of the grade scale, they come with a combination of modular front points and interchangeable front bindings so that they can fulfil a number of roles. Set up with a front bail arm and either asymmetric or mono front points, they fall squarely into the C3 bracket and will happily tackle everything from roadside ice-climbs to full-on high-angled mixed climbs. In the cradle binding mode, and with a standard symmetric front point set-up, they fill the classic C2 role and are at home tramping over winter Munros or ticking Alpine 4000m peaks. At the lofty price of £190, investment in them will demand careful consideration, but the fact that they are modular with serviceable forged steel front points means they should have a long life; and year for year, if you do a lot of climbing, the Petzl Lynx may be a good long-term buy.

Materials forged chromoly steel
Classification C2/C3
Sizes one size fits 35-50cm (optional link bars)
Weight 1080g (pair, including anti-balling plates)
Website www.petzl.com

The Petzl Lynx is best for climbing.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2012


Stubai Tyrol 12 Point Combi 2011

The Stubai Tyrol 12 Point Combi is a 12 point crampon and the spikes are long, making these great for use on névé (compacted snow) and moderate ice, but less so on rock. Four of the points are rotated through 90 degrees for added grip on slopes, while some 3D stamping in the metal adds a little extra strength to the crampon. Fitting is simple as you get a heel clip binding plus an easy-to-adjust central bar. Anti-balling plates are supplied and these can be fitted easily enough with the aid of a supplied diagram. These are a C2 crampon and so they are ideal for 4-season boots. If you are looking for well-priced crampons for the occasional visit to the Alps or a climb up a classic Scottish gully then these are the ones for you. But at 1020g, they are very heavy. The anti-balling plates are not pre-fitted, and others are better in terms of how easily they shed the snow. The instructions are adequate, but others are better. The heel clip requires a screwdriver to adjust it.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 34-46
Weight 1020g (pair, including anti-balling plates)
Made in Austria
Stores in the UK 29

Other crampons offer a better combination of features, and the Stubai Tyrol 12 Point Combi crampons should offer more at this price point.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Black Diamond Serac Clip 2011

The Black Diamond Serac Clip is a well-proven general mountaineering crampon. It is designed to take on everything from winter walking through to glacier work and moderately technical climbs. Black Diamond has broken convention and now makes them from stainless steel rather than the more traditional chromoly steel. Black Diamond’s arguments for using stainless steel is that it makes crampons that are lighter, more durable, resist snow balling and are less damaging to the environment as they do not need treating to resist rust. That is certainly backed up by our tests. But stainless steel still has its critics and so far Black Diamond is the only mainstream manufacturer to use it. It is a bit ‘blingy’ but we think it performs well.

Classification C2
Materials stainless steel
Sizes one size fits 34-46
Weight 990g (pair, including anti-balling plates)
Made in USA
Stores in the UK 250

The Black Diamond Serac Clip is an outstanding mountaineering crampon that just misses out on the top spot because of the newness of its material.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Petzl Charlet Vasak Flexlock 2011

The Petzl Charlet Vasak Flexlock is a very stable, low-weight crampon that comes with a good set of tough features. For added strength you get 3D stamping throughout, as you do with the Grivels. There are 12 spikes and these are quite long, which is good on névé and ice but a little bit of a compromise on rock. Four of the points are rotated through 90 degrees to provided added traction on steep snow. Anti-balling plates are fitted as standard. Fitting the crampons to your boots is very easy thanks to a heel and toe strap system. The crampons can also be easily adjusted, without tools. A exceptionally well-documented set of instructions give meaning to all the straps and fitting adjustments as well as details on how to care for them. These are fine in full-on winter conditions or out in the Alps but less good in mixed hill-walking conditions. But the Petzl Charlet Vasak Flexlock’s spikes are longer than some, which is an advantage on snow, but they require a bit more care for mixed terrain of snow and rock, and beginners may tend to snag the long points on gaiters.

Classification C2
Materials steel
Sizes 36-46 (medium); 41-50 (large)
Weight 946g (per pair size large, including anti-balling plates)
Made in France
Stores in the UK 50

The Petzl Charlet Vasak Flexlock is a superb crampon for regular use in mountaineering situations with full snow and ice conditions.

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


Climbing Technology Nuptse Semiautomatic 2011

At £85 for a set of 12 point semi-automatic crampons the Climbing Technology Nuptse Semiautomatics are extremely good value. The build quality is businesslike and robust rather than slick-looking, but nevertheless they do the job. They have a conventional spike layout with 3D contoured front points and mid-length spikes. With one-touch length adjustment and a positive heel plate they are a doddle to adjust and fit. Their configuration is suited to tackling rock and ice as well as varying types of snow, which makes them suitable for walking and mid-grade climbing at home and abroad. However their build quality is not quite up there with the likes of Petzl, Grivel and Black Diamond so you should not expect to get as many miles out of them as the top brands.

Classification C2
Materials hardened steel
Sizes one size to fit 36-46 (long extension bar to 50 available)
Weight 945g (pair including anti-balling plates)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK Cotswold Outdoor, Tiso’s, Joe Brown’s

Climbing Technology’s Nuptse Semiautomatics are perfect for those who want mountaineering crampons but don’t want to break the bank. They won ‘Best Value’ in our review.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2011


Petzl Charlet Vasak Leverlock 2009

The Petzl Charlet Vasak Leverlock is a very stable, low-weight crampon which comes with a good set of tough features. For added strength you get 3D stamping throughout, as you do with the Grivels. There are 12 spikes and these are quite long, which is good on névé and ice but a little bit of a compromise on rock. Four of the points are rotated through 90 degrees to provided added traction on steep snow. Anti-balling plates are fitted as standard. Fitting the crampons to your boots is very easy, thanks to a heel and toe strap system.  The crampons can also be easily adjusted, without tools. An exceptionally well-documented set of instructions give meaning to all the straps and fitting adjustments as well as how to care for them. Good for full-on winter or Alpine conditions but less good in mixed hill-walking conditions. But the Petzl Charlet Vasak Leverlock’s price tag is a drawback. Also, the anti-balling plates are not quite as good as Grivel’s and you need a small screwdriver to replace them. There’s nothing to keep the snow out of the heel breast area. The spikes are longer than some, so not ideal for mixed terrain, and they may snag.

Classification C2
Materials steel
Sizes 36-46 (M); 41-50 (L)
Weight 950g (size M) including anti-balling plates
Made in France
Stores in the UK 34
Stockist details tel. (015396) 25493, www.lyon.co.uk
Verdict
The Petzl Charlet Vasak Leverlock is a superb crampon for regular use in mountaineering situations, but less good for walking.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

DMM Aiguille 2009

The DMM Aiguille is a substantial 12-point crampon with epoxy coating for durability. The spikes are a medium length with two sets rotated through 90º for traction in snow. The key four spikes under the forefoot have serrated edges for added traction on rock. The plate has a fairly stiff flex offering a good level of longitudinal and lateral support, making them ideal for tackling steep ground and climbs. The anti-balling plates are simple clip-on affairs that cover the heel and the forefoot but not the plate. Fitting is simple and can be achieved with only a screwdriver. The are held in place by a heel clip and a thermoplastic toe cradle. But the DMM Aiguille is relatively heavy and the low degree of flex it offers is more suited to steep terrain than walking. Not designed for use on walking boots.

Classification C2
Materials EN47 steel
Sizes 36-48
Weight 1050g including anti-balling plates
Made in Wales
Stores in the UK 250
Stockist details tel. (01286) 872222, www.dmmclimbing.com
Verdict
If you are looking for a crampon for mountaineering and moderate climbing then DMM Aiguille crampons are a worthwhile investment and will last many years.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

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

Stubai Tyrol 12 point Combi 2009

The Stubai Tyrol 12 point Combi is a 12-point crampon and the spikes are long, making these great for use on névé and moderate ice, but less so on rock. Four of the points are rotated through 90 degrees for added grip on slopes, while some 3D stamping in the metal adds a little strength to the crampon. Fitting is easy as you get a heel clip binding plus a simple-to-adjust central bar. Anti-balling plates are supplied and these can be fitted easily enough with the aid of a supplied diagram. These are C2 crampons and so they are ideal for 4-season boots. If you are looking for well-priced crampons for the occasional visit to the Alps or a climb up a classic Scottish gully, these are the ones for you. But the Stubai Tyrol 12 point Combis are comparatively very heavy. The anti-balling plates are not pre-fitted, and others are a better design in terms of how easily they shed the snow. Others’ instructions are better produced and more easily understood.The heel clip requires a screwdriver to adjust it.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 34-46
Weight 1200g including anti-balling plates
Made in Austria
Stores in the UK 29
Stockist details tel. (0161) 343 6166, www.trailwise.co.uk
Verdict
Other crampons offer a better combination of features than the Stubai Tyrol 12 point Combi, but if you only need them occasionally and you don’t want to break the bank then they are a good option.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

Camp Ice Rider 2009

The Camp Ice Rider is a basic but thoughtful design that boasts all the essential features you expect from a mountaineering crampon. There are 12 long points to give a grip in deep snow and ice, while the front spikes get some 3D stamping to improve strength. Adjustment is easy thanks to a sprung clip design that locks the length, plus a heel clip and toe binding for ease of fitting. The anti-balling plates are supplied pre-assembled, and they don’t need any tools to replace them. A good set of instructions explain the details with diagrams. A crampon bag is also supplied in the box. All that for just £80 is hard to beat on price. But at 1060g per pair the Camp Ice Rider is quite a heavy crampon. The anti-balling plates are basic flat pieces of rubber, and the spikes lack serrations for dealing with rock.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 36-48
Weight 1060g including anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK 67
Stockist details tel. (0191) 284 8444, www.camp.it
Verdict
The Camp Ice Rider is a good entry-level winter mountaineering crampon.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

Black Diamond Contact Strap 2009

The Black Diamond Contact Strap is an outstanding crampon, thanks to its low weight and top-notch build quality. It also comes fitted with anti-balling plates as standard and these are an elaborate design to improve their resistance to snow build up. There are10 points, four rotated through 90 degrees to improve grip on slopes and some 3D stamping adds to their strength too. Adjustment is simple and the crampons can be easily fitted to boots with the straps. Compared to others models, the price is very good too at £70 when you consider what you are getting. These have not gone up in price since 2006 either. These are a very clean design that is easy to use and ideal for general winter walking. They offer a good level of stability so when paired with the right boots they will tackle steeper terrain. But the Black Diamond Contact Strap’s spike points are very sharp, so you might snag these quite easily on gaiters before they wear down. The instructions do not feature diagrams so these aren’t the best for beginners. There are only 10 points rather than 12, so grip isn’t the best.

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 34-46
Weight 880g including anti-balling plates
Made in USA
Stores no info provided
Stockist details tel. (01629) 580484, www.blackdiamondequipment.com

Verdict
The Black Diamond Contact Strap is a quality lightweight walking crampon that will allow you to tackle the odd bit of steep stuff. This 10-point model only just missed the top spot in our review, and was awarded ‘Best value’.

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine January 2009

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.

 


Stubai Tyrol 12 Point Combi

This is a 12 point crampon and the spikes are long, making these great for long days in the hills. Four of the points are rotated through 90 degrees for added grip on slopes, while some 3D stamping in the metal adds a little extra strength to the crampon. Fitting is easy as you get a heel clip binding plus an easy-to-adjust central bar. Anti-balling plates are supplied and these can be fitted easily enough with the aid of a supplied diagram. These are C2 crampons and so they are ideal for 4-season boots, while those long spikes make them ideal for long days in the snow. But at 1200g per pair they are very heavy compared to others. While you get anti-balling plates, they are not prefitted and others are a better design in terms of how easily they shed the snow. The instructions are adequate, but others are better produced and more easily understood. The heel clip requires a screwdriver to adjust it.

Vital stats
Classification
C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 34-46
Weight 1200g including anti-balling plates
Made in Austria
Stores in UK 29

Verdict Others offer a better combination of features, but as the drawbacks can be overcome, if these fit your boots then they are a good option.

 


Camp Ice Rider

This crampon has been a past winner of Trail tests. It boasts all the essential features, starting with 12 long points to give good grip in deep snow and ice. The front spikes get some 3D stamping to improve strength. Adjustment is easy thanks to a sprung clip design that locks the length, plus a heel clip and toe binding for ease of fitting. The anti-balling plates are supplied preassembled, and they don’t need any tools to replace them. A good set of instructions explains the details with diagrams, while a crampon bag is also supplied in the box. All that for just £80 is hard to beat on price. But at 1064g per pair these are quite heavy crampons. The anti-balling plates are basic, flat pieces of rubber, so they don’t boast the spring-loaded snow-shifting appeal of other designs. Not a lot wrong here though for general hill-walking.

Vital stats

Classification C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 36-48
Weight 1016g including anti-balling plates
Made in Italy
Stores in UK 67

Verdict Superb performance when walking or climbing easier terrain and ease of fit makes this a bargain option.

 


Black Diamond Contact Strap

The Black Diamond Contact Strap crampon regularly gets good reviews, mainly thanks to its low weight. It also comes fitted with anti-balling plates as standard and these are an elaborate design to improve their resistance to snow balling. You get 10 points, and four of these are rotated through 90 degrees to improve grip on slopes. Some 3D stamping adds to the strength of the crampons too. Adjustment is easy and the crampons can be easily fitted to boots with the straps. Compared to some other models, the price is very good too when you consider what you are getting. These are a very clean design that is easy to use and ideal for general winter walking if weight is your priority, rather than the ability to tackle steep snow slopes all day. But the anti-balling plates are not quite as good as the best here, particularly as a screwdriver is needed to remove them. The spike points are very sharp, so you might snag these quite easily on gaiters before they wear down. As the instructions do not feature diagrams, they aren’t the best for beginners. You are only getting 10 points rather than 12, so grip isn’t the best.

Vital stats
Classification
C2
Materials NiCroMo steel
Sizes one size fits 34-46
Weight 908g including anti-balling plates
Made in USA

Verdict A very good all-round lightweight crampon with good durability and features for winter walking.