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Steel or Aluminum Crampons?

Is steel better than aluminum when choosing crampons?

Question:

Is steel better than aluminum when choosing crampons?

Submitted by - Eric, Pleasant Hill, CA

Answer:

Like many gear choices, this this one comes down to weight versus durability. Steel is certainly more durable than aluminum, but it’s also about twice as heavy (when comparing similar styles).

If you’ll be scrambling around on mixed rock and ice you’ll run the risk of blunting aluminum crampon points (which can be refiled), but steel ones are pretty much indestructable–you could walk a mile down the street and not have to worry about it.

Think about the surfaces you’ll likely encounter, and balance this with your weight requirements and abusive (or non-abusive) tendencies and your choice will be clear.

Not sure if you need crampons or snowshoes? Get the answer here.

video icon Crampons 101: Learn how to strap on a pair of crampons with our on-the-scene tutorial in Alaska, then, learn how to sharpen them with our how-to gallery.

1 Comment

  1. Robert S

    Eric:
    I have a pair of both. When I’m doing some serious alpine mountaineering I always bring the steel 12 point crampons as I expect to use them almost constantly above certain elevations.
    I also have a set of 10 point aluminum that I bring to places such as the Rocky Mountains where snow is spotty at best and I plan to use them for short periods of time.
    Kristin summed it up best – weight versus durability. Cheers!

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