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How to fit crampons to your boots

 

In today’s video, we will focus on fitting crampons to our boots. We’ll discuss three different types of crampons:

  • C1,
  • C2
  • C3

If you’re unsure about the type of boot you have, please refer to the video on our channel that covers boot identification. For this video, our main focus will be on crampons. Let’s dive in and take a closer look:

How to Fit a B1 Crampon

First and foremost, let’s discuss a B1 boot. This is a flexible three-season walking boot, which means we’ll need a similarly flexible crampon to go with it. The crampon we’re using is a C1 crampon, specifically designed for walking. Its flexibility allows it to move along with the boot without causing any separation between the two.

A C1 crampon consists of a large plastic cradle at the back for the heel cup and a plastic bale at the front for the toe box. It can fit on any boot, including B1, B2, and B3 boots. However, even though it can even fit on a B0 boot, we’d strongly advise against it as there will be too much movement between the crampon and the boot.

The first step is to determine which foot the crampon is intended for. One simple way to do this is by looking at the buckle on the crampon. The buckle should be placed on the outside of the boot, away from the swinging motion of your other foot. This prevents any potential accidents where your crampon points could catch on the buckle, causing you to lose balance.

When fitting the crampon, if you’re doing it with the boot on your foot, step into the toe box area and push forward while simultaneously dropping your heel down. Ensure that the toe is positioned firmly between the two front lugs for a secure fit.

Next, rock the plastic cradle backward. Pay attention to the two lugs at the back of the crampon. They should be pressed against the heel of the boot. If they don’t align properly, you can adjust the crampon bar by lifting the small lever and sliding it to make it larger or smaller. On the video, I made a slight adjustment by reducing it by one notch.

Now the toe area is snugly positioned between the front lugs, and the rear lugs are pressed against the heel of the boot. This ensures a proper fit.

Next, let’s make sure everything is secure. Take the strap provided and thread it through the front cradle of the crampon.

Let’s ensure that the strap doesn’t have any twists in it. Next, turn it around and pass it through the hole on the heel cradle, again checking for any twists. Then, we’re going to bring the strap across the front of the boot and thread it through both of the small metal loops.

Before moving on, let’s tighten everything up. Pull the strap nice and tight, and now our crampon is essentially fitted.

When checking the fit, ensure that the toe area is securely seated between the lugs at the front of the crampon. There should be no gap between the boot and the crampon where snow could enter and create separation.

Also, make sure that the lugs at the back are as close as possible to the heel of the crampon and minimise any gap between the crampon and the sole of the boot. If you look at the bottom of the boot, you’ll notice that the crampon follows the contour of the boot.

When you try to move the boot and the crampon independently, they should be tightly connected.

You’ll likely have excess strap remaining, and we need to address that. If this is your crampon and you know it will only be used with these boots, it’s advisable to trim the excess strap and tuck it under one of the other straps for a neater finish.

Fitting a B2 crampon

Now, we have a B2 boot, which is a classic choice for easier winter mountaineering or summer scrambling. It offers less flexibility compared to a B1 boot but provides enough flex for comfort during long days. To fit this boot, we have a C2 crampon.

Before we continue, it’s worth mentioning that just because your friends have certain crampons doesn’t mean they will be suitable for your boot. It’s important to visit a reputable shop and try out different types and brands of crampons to ensure the best fit for your specific boot.

As mentioned earlier, we can determine which boot the crampon is for by the location of the buckle. Since it’s on the left-hand side, it indicates that it should be placed on the outside of our foot. Therefore, this crampon is for the left boot.

We’ll start by pushing the toe box of the boot between the front lugs of the crampon and then dropping the heel. However, upon initial observation, it becomes apparent that the heel lug won’t fit around the back of this boot. To address this, we need to pull up the little retainer and allow the crampon bar to extend slightly.

One key difference between a C1 and a C2 crampon, aside from more aggressive points, is the presence of a clip on the back. This clip sits on a small ledge at the back of your B2 boot, which explains why you cannot fit a C2 crampon onto a B1 boot, as it lacks this ledge.

However, you can fit this C2 crampon on a B3 boot because the B3 boot does have the necessary ledge.

Our goal is to get the little clip to sit securely on the boot. We align it and then attempt to push it up until it clips onto the back of the boot.

If it doesn’t sit properly, we need to make some adjustments. There’s a dial at the back of the bail, and we’ll loosen it to create some room. This will allow us to easily clip the crampon onto the back of the boot. What we’re aiming for is a good, solid fit. A helpful tip is to listen for a satisfying “clunk” when the clip securely fastens. You should feel some resistance, but not so much that you risk breaking anything.

Ideally, we want zero gap between the two lugs at the back of the crampon. Personally, I prefer slightly under-sizing my crampon. This means that when I push my toe box in and drop the heel without adjusting the bail, if it’s slightly shorter, it will push my toe into the front of the crampon when I secure the clip. As a result, the heel will effortlessly fit between the lugs.

Before heading out to the mountain, I highly recommend spending some time at home to fine-tune the fit. Even small adjustments can make a significant difference in the overall performance and comfort of the crampons.

With the B2 and C2 combination, it’s common to find that there’s already a very tight fit between the boot and crampons even before adjusting the straps. The crampons securely hug the boot, allowing minimal movement.

The result should be a crampon that fits snugly with no gap at the front to allow snow to get between the crampon and boot. The crampon should be tightly secured to the boot, with no gaps underneath, and the rear lugs should be firmly in place with no movement between the crampon and boot.

Fitting a B3 crampon

A B3 is designed for fully stiff climbing boots. The B3 boot has a small ledge at both the front and the back, allowing it to accommodate a C3 crampon. The C3 crampon is very rigid and has a front bale that attaches to the front ledge of the boot.

It’s worth noting that we could also fit a C2 crampon to this boot since we have the ledge at the back, and the cradle would sit over the toe box. However, for this demonstration, we’ll focus on the C3 crampon.

To determine which boot the crampon is for, we once again look at the buckles. In this case, the buckles are on the right-hand side, indicating that the crampon is for the right boot.

When fitting the crampon, we step into it, ensuring that the front bale sits neatly on the front of the boot. We want a clean and secure fit. Then we drop our heel into the crampon, aiming for a close contact between the back heel of the boot and the small ledge on the crampon. As we bring the clamp up, we should hear a satisfying clunk, indicating that the boot is firmly secured in the crampon.

The strap is twisted slightly differently this time. With the C2 crampon, we went through the front cradle and then back. However, since we don’t have a front cradle with the C3 crampon, the strap simply goes around the front of the boot.

The goal is to have no space at the front, underneath, or at the back of the crampon. We want a rock-solid connection with minimal to no movement. The crampon should follow the profile of the boot closely, creating a neat and secure fit.

By following these steps, you should achieve a well-fitted B3 crampon on your climbing boot.

In conclusion

I hope you found this guide helpful. The key takeaway is to try out different crampons with your boots to ensure the perfect fit. Don’t rely solely on recommendations or what your friends use.

Remember, a good fit is crucial for your safety and performance.

Additionally, it’s important to take the time to adjust and fit your crampons at home before heading out to the mountains. Dealing with these adjustments in challenging conditions, such as a whiteout on the Cairngorm Plateau, can be difficult and time-consuming. By preparing in advance, you’ll be better equipped for your adventures.

Always prioritise safety and comfort when selecting and fitting your crampons. Enjoy your time in the mountains and stay prepared for whatever challenges may come your way.

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Association of Mountaineering Instructors