When using crampons, your shoe rests on a metal-plate like surface; this is the crampon frame. Frames are offered in three different materials, but you will want to choose your crampon frame based on the material best for your particularly activity.
In addition to researching the material, it is also important to check out the construction of the frame. Technically, rigid and hinged and semi-rigid construction frames are available on the market today. However, the majority of frames now rely on semi-rigid construction. This type of construction provides a lot of versatility since it can be used in a wide variety of environments. A semi-rigid frame is flexible enough for snow walking, but is rigid enough for ice climbing. Thanks to this utility, this type of frame construction is easily the most popular.
After identifying the type of material you want, the next critical step is to figure out which binding best suits you. Bindings are important. After all, without this component, you wouldn’t have anything to keep you strapped onto your spikes! These days, you’re looking at three different types of bindings: hybrid, step-in, and strap-on.
Points and Frontpoints
A crampon isn’t a crampon without any points! In general, points are the basic spikes that are on the bottom of your crampon. Specifically, you want those points to be under your instep and to follow the shape of your boot. This will provide the most traction and offer the most stability. But, how many points do you need? A guideline is to look for 10-12 points per crampon. If needed, you can usually adjust the points in order to get the proper point extension for your chosen activity. If you happen to snag a pair of fancy crampons, you might even notice that the sides of the crampon are serrated, like a steak knife. This means that point will “grab” the snow, even where it isn’t directly penetrating the surface. Of course, this feature is saved for super technical, more expensive crampons.That said, 10-12 points is a range. In general, more technical activity like ice and mixed climbing requires more points. Ten points is usually enough for ski touring or glacier and/or snow travel. The two extra points come into play when you enjoy more technical activity like ice climbing. Those two points (called frontpoints) are the forward-facing points on a crampon. These frontpoints offer additional purchase when standing on steep ice or rock. In fact, standing on these frontpoints is frequently how an ice climber will “rest” on steep terrain. Dual frontpoints come in two styles: horizontal and vertical.