You can also check out our Top 5 Favorite Crampons.
Any amount of winter climbing warrants the best crampons as part of your gear. No sensible climber would dare venture out for the vertical columns without this traction device. It is simply illogical, not to mention life-threatening.
Crampons are used for improving traction on the snow. For centuries this has been a great help to hunters, farmers, and more recently, climbers. When you consider this rather rudimentary device, crampons do not look like they have much to offer. However, without one of them on your feet you are as good as useless in the snow.
Icy columns of a waterfall and frozen mountains have been an endless source of inspiration. Everyone, from photographers to filmmakers to writers, has been drawn to these endless beauties. Regardless, underneath the surface of these striking views lies the danger. Frozen landscapes are one of the most unforgiving terrains. And this is not just because of the cold. Slippery and unpredictable, these gorgeous terrains can turn into a death trap in the blink of an eye.
The need for the best ice gear – crampons.
When you plan to climb such treacherous terrain, you need all the help you can get. This comes in the form of gears, including the best crampons. As you advance in your alpine skills, you will inevitably require gears that are more technical.
When we talk about mountaineering, C3 crampons and B3 boots are the most technical. C3 crampons are the crème de la crème of the crampons. They offer the most precise fit and top-notch performance. This category of crampons is instantly recognizable by aggressive front points – mono or bi. They typically come with steel construction that is semi-rigid. And the number of points on them can be anywhere from 12 to 14.
Among the many options for C3 crampons is the G12 from Grivel. These are as classic as it gets in terms of alpine gear. The G12 has been on the market for some time and is a favorite of professional climbers. Understandably it is also one of Grivel’s best sellers. In fact, it has been nicknamed “king of crampons” on the brand’s website.
As you will see in this in-depth review, this crampon is very versatile and definitely lives up to its name. G12 crampons have been in production for more than a decade. This alone is a testament to the gear’s popularity.
There are multiple G12 crampon reviews. In all of these, nothing particularly negative about this crampon is said. Grivel has made some subtle changes to this crampon. But all of these improvements have resulted in making the G12 even better.
This is our review of the Grivel G12 crampons. We have attempted to be as in-depth as possible, covering everything from designs to materials. We have also covered its performance and weighed on its pros and cons. There is an FAQ about G12 and crampons in general, so give that a read as well.
Now let’s start digging.
Grivel G12 Crampon Review
Product Name: Grivel G12 Crampon
Product Description: This Grivel crampon has 12 spikes, with two horizontal ones in the front. The construction of this crampon is a combination of steel and nylon. There are three adjustable attachment systems. Anti-balling plates are also part of the gear. The crampon has a total weight of 2 lb 4.7 oz with the balling plates and 1 lb 15.7 oz without it.
Offer price: $179.95
The G12 has an ice friendly design with impressive performance. It comes from a combination of horizontal front points, adjustable length, and great quality materials. The G12 is also compatible with multiple types of boots, which is quite extraordinary about a crampon of this caliber. Irrespective of your alpine skills, this is one gear you want to try at one point or the other.
Ease of Use
- Great design and construction.
- Repels snow in an efficient manner.
- Very versatile and high compatibility.
- Excellent weight to balance ratio.
- Works great on multiple terrains.
- The front-points are not replaceable.
- Does not come with a crampon case.
- Sizing bar needs trimming to facilitate full collapsing.
The G12 crampon has firmly held its status as classic climbing gear. So does the crampon live up to the hype? Is it everything you expect from Grivel? Let’s find out!
Material and design.
The material that makes up the G12’s frame is steel. This ensures that the crampon is robust and durable. The steel construction also makes up the 12 points of the crampon. To a certain degree, the points on these crampons are even sharper than Black Diamond’s Sabertooth.
There is a bit of difference in materials when it comes to the bindings. This is because the G12 has three different variations of bindings. We elaborate them below:
- New-Matic – The bindings are a combination of plastic, steel, and nylon straps. The plastic toe bail is bright yellow, and so are the nylon straps. At the back, the metal bar takes the job of strapping the crampon to the boots.
- New-classic – Noticeably, the plastic components in the New-classic are black. The rest of the aesthetics, i.e., the metal frame and the nylon straps, remain the same as the New-Matic.
- Cramp-o-Matic – The bindings in this one are quite different from the other two varieties. In this crampon, both the toe bail and the back are made of metal. There are still some plastic components as well. The nylon straps remain the same.
True to Grivel’s standards, these crampons come with antibotts. It is in the front as well as the back. The antibotts in these crampons are no ordinary ones. They come with a proprietary anti-balling technology. Very few crampons have the kind of anti-balling capabilities like this one from Grivel.
When it comes to the G12’s design, there is nothing fancy about it. It has a straightforward design, but it has everything that you expect from an exceptional crampon.
It is quite difficult to find a flaw with the G12. However, it would have been great if the front points could be switched or replaced. Although this crampon is collapsible, it doesn’t quite match up to other crampons in this regard. You will need to trim the sizing bar to get the best fit. Fortunately, it is not difficult and this facilitates the storing and transporting of the crampons in a significant way. It also does not come with a crampon case which was a bit of a letdown. So you might have to opt for a bigger crampon case than standard size.
The G12 crampon has incredibly sharp points. Once they dig into the snow, they hold onto it quite nicely. This preciseness on the ice is what makes this crampon a favorite of professionals as well as everyday users. You will love using this crampon for climbing or hiking icy mountainsides. But you will love them equally while crossing snowfields and terrains with thawing snow. The points work exceptionally well even on debris-filled areas and on rocks. Even if the paint is scratched, the points hold on steadily to their sharpness, which is fantastic. In this regard, the G12 does not require a lot of serious maintenance.
Another thing about the front points is placement. They are just about the perfect position that you can expect from a crampon. These become an extension of your toe. In addition, the points on the rear also have the right placement. You will find them especially impressive while you are descending a steep incline. The points also have impressive weight distribution. If the points on the G12 were replaceable, it would have been the perfect crampon. But perfection is just an illusion, and crampons are no exception.
Similar to other crampons from the brand, this one has anti-balling plates. This feature, in combination with an almost horizontal frame, keeps snow effectively out of the footwear. In fact, very few crampons keep wet snow and loose snow out of your gear like this one. The performance of the anti-balling plates on the G12 is simply mind-blowing.
The New-Matic and the New-classic repel snow even better than the Cramp-o-Matic. In the former bindings, the curve of the plastic faces outwards gently. This pushes out the snow very effortlessly from the gear. In addition, the adjustment bar is also coated with a veil called the accordioned plastic. These features work in tandem to keep the snow off your footwear at all times. It is the stellar feature such as these that make this crampon an all-time favorite.
Ease of use.
The G12 works and fits with equal ease. All three bindings are fully adjustable in the crampons. It is easy to wear this crampon and take them off. The fact that the brand offers three different bindings adds versatility to this crampon. Getting them to fit your boots is effortless even when you are fully gloved. When you get the fit correctly, the G12 crampons are a perfect fit and stay put throughout your expedition over the icy terrain.
The G12 also comes in different sizes from 36 to 47. This gives you a lot of room and options, whether you are male or female. Overall, you will find that the G12 has the right balance of features and great performance on multiple terrains. The G12 is not too heavy to weigh you down quickly. In fact, these crampons feel pretty comfortable even after a long day of hiking and climbing.
Some sources indicate that the G12 is made of chromoly steel. Is this information correct?
Yes, this is correct. Although very few sources mention this fact, the frame of the G12 is made of chromoly steel. This feature makes the crampon absolutely robust and unrivalled in quality.
In addition, the construction of the G12 uses an innovative technology called the 3DRS or Dimensional Relief Stamping. This technology renders the entire steel frame with great strength and rigidity. Moreover, the features also extend to the individual points on the crampon. The combination of the chromoly steel and the use of this technology make the G12 a beast on ice.
What are the differences between the three bindings of G12?
As we have briefly highlighted above, the G12 comes in three different bindings. So understandably, there are differences between them. We discuss them below.
- The New-matic and the New-classic features plastic toe bail with nylon straps. The plastic components on the New-matic are yellow. On the New-classic, the plastic components are black with yellow nylon straps. On the other hand, the Cramp-o-matic has metal bars instead of the plastic.
- Similarly the New-matic and the New-classic have the same weight at 970 gm or 34.2 oz. The Cramp-o-matic, on the other hand, weighs a little heavier at 1040 gm or 36.7 oz. This slight difference in weight is due to the addition of metal bars instead of the plastic.
What makes G12 crampon fantastic at preventing snow balling?
The G12 crampon repels snow like no other. This is due to the combination of several features:
- The antibott plate has a plastic dimple that gently curves forward. This kicks even the soft and wet snow out of the gear. This feature is prominent in the New-Matic and the New-classic bindings.
- The metal adjustment bar of the Cramp-o-Matic is coated with accordioned plastic. This property works by gently melting the snow that falls on the gear. So there is no chance of snow balling in your crampon or the boots during your alpine adventure.
What makes Grivel’s crampons so good?
Grivel has been around since the inception of the modern crampon. The company has been producing crampons since 1938, which is more than half a century. Their gears are instantly identifiable by their exceptional quality and great design.
The brand’s attention to detail is another feature that makes their crampons a standout. Instead of coming up with new gears every season, Grivel has been consistent about keeping the time tested crampons in their inventory. They have cleverly made subtle improvements to them, such is the case with the G12 crampon.
The original G12 is more than a decade old. This is ancient when you consider the advancements in alpine gears. However, by making minor improvements on the G12, it has rightfully achieved a cult status in the alpine realm. For instance, by introducing three different bindings of the G12 it maintains the integrity of the crampon, but users also get the improved experience by testing out different bindings.
In addition, all of Grivel’s crampons are made in Mont Blanc, Italy, using premium materials. So it is no wonder that this brand and their crampons have such a cult following.