Crampon care

On a typical climb, crampons can take a lot of abuse from walking and climbing on mixed snow-and-rock routes. Here are some tips on how to keep them in peak condition.

Inspect the Bindings

Prior to every outing, be sure to inspect your crampons before you put them in use.

  • Check for loose screws and rivets. Tighten or replace as needed.
  • Check for worn straps and buckles. Replace as needed.
  • Ensure that the bails are in good shape and still fit the radius of your boots.
  • Consider your boot/crampon interface: Do your boot welts still ensure a secure toe and heel fit?
  • Carry a wrench, bailing wire and spare parts such as straps, bails or screws.

Sharpen the Points

Crampon points need to be sharpened after use, especially if you've crossed rock.

  • Use a flat mil bastard (hand file), making sure to file in the direction of the file's teeth.
  • Do not use a grinding wheel, as it generates heat that can weaken the metal by changing the temper of the steel.
  • File the side and points as sharp as possible, being careful to maintain a straight line from frame to tip.
  • Straighten any bent points if possible.

Protect Yourself

Sharp teeth make crampons perform better on delicate ice, but they can also wreak havoc on your clothes, skin and ropes. Your protection options:

  • Padded crampon case: The most convenient choice, usually made from puncture-resistant nylon.
  • Rubber point covers: The less bulky, less expensive option.

Storage

Be sure your crampons are dry before storing. If you are storing them for the season, coat them with a light oil or a water-displacement spray such as WD-40.