How to Sharpen Crampons

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dull and sharpened points on a pair of crampons

Journeying up and over mountains can take you across ice, snow and rock, which will eventually dull your crampons. If you've noticed rounded points or reduced traction, it may be time to sharpen your crampons.

Video: How to Sharpen Crampons

supplies needed to sharpen your crampons

Here's what you'll need to do the job:

  • Flat bastard mill hand file
  • Work gloves
  • A few clean rags
  • A broom and dustpan
  • A well-lit workspace

Here's how to sharpen your crampons:

sharpening of a crampon point with arrow pointing in the forward direction

1. Clean them first: Give your crampons a rinse with water and use a rag to wipe off any dirt and then dry them.

2. Hold on tight: Put your work gloves on and pick up one of the crampons. Hold the crampon firmly in one hand.

3. File the edges: File the edges of each point. Files are designed to work when pushing forward, so make sure you only apply pressure on the forward stroke. Don't bother filing the broad, flat parts of the crampon points. Focus only on the thin edges.

wiping away metal shavings for a sharpened crampon

4. Test the sharpness: Use your thumb to check the sharpness. For general mountaineering, the points don't need to be razor sharp, but should come to a fine point. For technical climbing and front-pointing, get them as sharp as you can.

5. Wipe clean: When all the teeth are sharp, use a rag to wipe off any metal filings. Sweep up the filings with your broom and dustpan and dispose of them.

wiping a sharpened crampon point with wd-40 to prevent rusting while being stored

If you have steel crampons and won't be using them for a couple months, now's a good time to prep them for storage. To do so, simply wipe some penetrating oil, such as WD-40®, on the points to keep them from rusting.

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