Crampons can be a invaluable tool for someone looking to navigate icy terrain in the wintertime. They offer extra grip and stability that traditional winter shoes just can’t beat. But if you’ve never used crampons before, they can easily become more of a liability than a help. To ensure you get the most out of your crampons, here are 5 tips on how to use them properly.
1. Invest in Quality Gear
When looking for quality crampons, you don’t have to skimp on quality. Invest in a pair of crampons with a stainless steel frame, as they’ll last longer and offer better grip on slippery surfaces. Additionally, check that all of the bindings and straps are in good condition to prevent any slipping or coming loose over time.
Look for Lightweight Materials
When looking for crampons, make sure to check for lightweight materials. Some crampons, such as those with a coated aluminum frame, can be much lighter than those with a stainless steel frame. Lighter materials will make it easier to traverse icy terrain without feeling weighed down.
Check for Certified CE Ratings
Make sure to only buy crampons that have passed certification tests intended to assess their safety and performance. Most Alpine skiing and other related sports organizations utilize the CE rating system to certify products that meet their safety standards.
2. Test on Firm Ground First
It’s important to get comfortable with crampons on a firmer surface prior to venturing onto more icy terrain. Start by wearing them on a firm surface, like a carpeted floor or a patch of regular terrain. This will help you get a feel for the crampons and ensure that you won’t slip.
Step Outside for Further Testing
Once you’re comfortable walking with the crampons inside, you can take a few steps outside and work on getting used to the environment and terrain. As always, make sure to practice in a safe area.
Be Wary of Trees, Rocks, and Other Obstacles
Due to the design of a crampons, you’ll need to be extra careful about obstacles. Crampons tend to get easily caught on timber, rocks, and steep inclines, so be sure to approach terrain that has fewer obstacles.
3. Practice Walking Up and Down Hills
Once you’ve become more comfortable with the crampons, try to practice walking up steep banks and slight hills, as this is the most common use of crampons. Make sure to keep your center of gravity and weight at the front of the crampons in order to maintain stability when going up or down a hill.
Walk Slower and Don’t Rush
When going up or down a hill, walk slower and take your time. Don’t rush, as this could potentially lead to an accident.
Avoid Rapid Movements
When you’re getting comfortable with using crampons, avoid rapid movements as these can cause the crampons to snag. Additionally, keep your feet rigid to maintain control of the crampons.
4. Secure All Straps and Buckles
Particularly in the winter, cold weather can cause the straps and buckles of your crampons to freeze up. Make sure to secure all of the straps and buckles before going out, as these are what will help keep the crampons on properly while out in the wild.
Test the Straps and Buckles
Don’t be afraid to test out the straps and buckles by stepping onto the crampons and jumping up and down a few times. This will help identify any loose straps that need to be tightened.
Check to Make Sure All Clips are in Place
Some crampons have plastic clips that need to be in place in order to keep the crampons secure. Make sure to check that the clips are in place and properly secured.
5. Remove Ice or Dirt from Crampons After Use
Once you’re finished using the crampons, make sure to remove any ice or debris that may have collected on them. If not, this can cause wear and tear on the crampons which can lead to a shorter lifespan.
Add a Layer of Protection
You can also add a layer of protection to your crampons by spraying them with a water resistant spray or aerosol. This will help give them further protection from the elements and make them last longer.
Store in a Climate-Controlled Area
Once finished, store the crampons in a climate-controlled area. This will help make sure that the crampons stay in the best of condition for their next use.
People Also Ask
Do crampons attach to just boots?
No, crampons are designed to attach to most shoes or boots with the attachment system that comes with the crampons.
What are the benefits of crampons?
The benefits of crampons include improved grip and traction on icy terrain, greater stability on steep terrain, and protection against slipping when walking in winter conditions.
How long should crampons last?
Crampons should last at least a few years with proper care and maintenance. However, this can vary depending on the usage and terrain.
What kind of terrain are crampons used on?
Crampons are typically used on uneven terrain, icy surfaces, steep inclined hills, and snow-covered hills.
Crampons can be really helpful when navigating winter terrain. But, it’s important to use them in the proper way to get the most out of them. By following the previously outlined steps, you should be able to successfully adapt to using crampons each time you venture out.