If you are new to winter mountaineering, crampons may be a bit of a mystery. In this blog we will guide you through crampons, which boots are crampon compatible and what the ratings mean.
What are Crampons?
Crampons are designed to help you move easier over snow and ice. They are toothed devices, designed to fit over a pair of mountaineering boots.
There are a range of crampons for different uses, finding the right one for you will depend on what you are using them for and the terrain you will be tackling. Some crampons are rigid and some are more flexible, dependent on what classification of boots you are wearing.
Boot and Crampon Ratings
Crampons and boots both come with a rating system from 0 to 3. This refers to the stiffness of the boot and crampon, different boots (and their compatible crampons) are designed for different uses.
B0 boots are generally very flexible, will be comfortable out of the box and are designed for walking beneath the snowline.
These boots will be your everyday walking boots and are not crampon compatible, if you are looking to try winter mountaineering which requires the use of crampons, you will need to upgrade to a more suitable boot.
B1 boots are stiffer 4 season boots designed for long winter walks, scrambling or mountaineering. These boots will be stiffer than your normal walking boots, however will still be flexible enough for long days in the hills.
Our B1 rated boots: SL
These boots are only compatible with a C1 crampon. Other crampons are too stiff and can cause damage to your boots, or even come loose.
B2 Boots are stiffer than their B1 counterparts and are designed for summer alpinism or Scottish winter mountaineering. These boots have stiffer midsoles and uppers, however are still flexible enough for walking. They tend to have thicker uppers and insulation making them warmer for more extreme conditions.
These boots are compatible with C1 or C2 crampons.
B3 boots are designed for full on mountaineering, mixed and ice climbing and year round Alpinism. They are the stiffest boots available providing excellent support. B3 boots are split into technical climbing and high altitude boots.
B3 boots are compatible with C3 and C2 crampons.
Like the boot ratings crampon ratings relate to the stiffness of different crampons. With different crampons needed for different purposes.
C1 crampons are suitable for UK winter hill walking and glacier traverses. These crampons have the most amount of flex and are made up of a webbing tape tether that pulls flexible cradles around the heel and toe to create a secure binding.
C1 crampons are great for walking in winter conditions.
C2 crampons are suitable for technical winter scrambles, winter climbing and alpinism. These crampons are semi flexible and use a plastic heel lever and a flexible toe cradle.
C2 crampons are great all-rounders that are easy enough to walk in but still can handle a tough climb.
C3 crampons are suitable for Ice climbing and technical mountaineering. These are the stiffest crampons available which tend to have a ‘step in’ system which combines a plastic heel lever and metal toe bar.