The Alpinist crampons from CAMP are not the lightest summer alpine climbing crampons on the market but if you’re willing to sacrifice a little weight for performance, they’re definitely a winning option! There’s often a big focus on lighter and faster when it comes to climbing and alpinism. But lighter is not always better or faster, especially when routes get more technical. Just as a heavier ice axe swings better and places more securely in hard ice, heavier crampons also have a place in the alpine. The design of CAMP’s Alpinist crampons were based on the Blade Runners, a steep ice and mixed climbing crampon. And true to that heritage, they’re performance focused and ideal for adventures where secure footing is critical.
- 12 point steel mountaineering crampons
- Weight: 970g
- Available with Auto, Semi-Auto and Universal boot attachments
- Come with dynamic anti-balling plates
- Two heel bail positions
- Three toe bail positions
- Micro-adjustable linking bar
- Fantastic crampon bag included
Designing a pair of crampons to fit every different make and model of boot, each with a differently shaped toe box, has got to be the bane of a crampon designers existence! Generally fully-auto attachments work fairly well across different boots, and that holds true with the Alpinist crampons. However, the Semi-Auto / Universal front boot attachment is a bit on the wider side and so struggles with some types of lighter summer mountaineering boots, basically anything with a thinner toe box. Boots with a wider toe box attach to the Alpinist crampons securely.
I find that most mountaineering crampons perform well when mounted on a stiff pair of ice climbing boots. However, the softer the boot gets the less performance you can squeeze out of a pair of crampons. Of course this means that soft mountaineering boots appreciate a technical crampon when the going gets steep and icy. And this is where the Alpinist crampons really shine! They feature a unique heel slide design which adds rigidity to the crampon while all but eliminating any play between the heel and toe, making them feel very secure in technical terrain. They’re stiff enough to support softer boots, though a stiffer boot still feels a bit more secure in the steeps.
The Alpinist crampons also feature a fairly aggressive angle on the secondary points making front pointing up steep alpine ice much more secure. The front points have a fairly short radius bend into the nice flat downward point, a design that I prefer over front points with a gentle arc into a steepening angle towards the tip of the front points. The consistent angle is more reminiscent of technical ice crampon front point geometry and more secure in the steeps.
At 970g the Alpinst crampons are definitely on the heavier side, the price that’s paid for performance. The Petzl Vasak crampons, for example, weigh in at 880g per pair. That’s almost 100g lighter!
CAMP eliminated the rear connection point making the Alpinist crampons stiffer and more performance oriented, which also means that they cannot be packed down into as small a package when not in use.
Last, but definitely not least, the Alpinist crampons come with one of the best crampon bags I’ve ever come across. Simple and functional, this thing is fantastic!
Pros: Versatile, performance focused design
Cons: Wide-ish toe straps on semi-auto version don’t fit all boot types
Overall: A fantastic performance crampon
Black Sheep Adventure Sports was supplied with a pair of crampons for testing but of course this didn’t influence our review in any way.