Climbing Gear

Gear Review: Petzl Lynx Crampon

Crampons that switch between automatic and semi-automatic, for all boots and situations.

[all-purpose crampons]

In order to understand the Lynx’s appeal, you might need a refresher course on crampon design. First, they have to match your boots—which may or may not have welts. Toe welts (hard ridges) on your boot mean you can use spikes—called automatic—that have a bail or wire that snaps on and keeps them tight and secure. No welt means the crampons—called strap-on or semi-automatic—need a toe cuff that works fine for moderate ice and general mountaineering, but you might have to buy different crampons and/or different boots to do anything steeper or more technical. The 14-point Lynx eliminates any indecision by giving you the best of both worlds: the ability to switch from automatic to semi-automatic mode (heel lever in the back, cuff in the front) with an included kit and about 10 minutes of tinkering. (The switch is easy but best done at home, and you’ll need a pair of pliers.) The two-fer doesn’t compromise performance: The Lynx was perfect on snowfields, névé, ice, and even mixed talus/ice fields. Adjustable length and frontpoint positioning make them ideal for any shoe or climbing preference, plus you can change between mono- and dualpoint modes. Monopoint crampons are ideal for mixed climbing (ice and rock) or delicate, techy vertical ice where you need ultimate precision and control for small holds (including the tiny holes already made by your ice tool). You can use dualpoints almost anywhere, as they offer a more stable platform to stand on and reduce the strain on your calves. Icing: Anti-balling plates for the front and rear guarantee snow won’t gather underfoot. They’re not cheap, but this might be the last pair of crampons you’ll ever need. $245; 2 lbs. per pair with monopoint configuration;