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Gear Question

Is buying a semi-auto crampon getting the...

Is buying a semi-auto crampon getting the worst of both worlds (strap-on/step-in) or do they hold their own with a secure fit. I'm trying to somewhat base the decision of buying mountaineering boots by what kind of crampon it can accept

Best Answer Responded on

Not getting the worst of both worlds; getting time saved as long as you are using a pretty burly mountaineering boot. In my experience, the wire toe bail step-in only works WELL with full plastic boots and other super rigid ice boots that have a hard plastic fitting in the toe. However the new style plastic binding e.g., Grivel "new-matic" is a VAST improvement all around and works with almost anything. This binding WITH the heel lever is VERY secure but be sure your boot is fairly rigid with a robust lip back there to mate up with the heel lever. The real benefit of the new-matic style binding is that the crampons go on quickly as opposed to ten minutes per foot as with the old SMC strap-on. (The old style is still the most secure and still the best for soft backpacking style boots on low angle stuff.) I have used the Grivel with a heavy Vasque boot for steep ice and other stuff without least no incidents that were the crampon's fault. They are all equally good when kicking yourself in the back of the leg. Hope this helps. Joe