I am planning to buy new crampons for me and my wife and I narrowed down the decision to 2 grivel models: Air Tech and G12. I did some research over those 2 models but would like to hear some opinion also from the users here. We are quite new to alpine mountaineering but already with some little experience. Of course we will start with easy routes but we want to progress gradually. Therefore we would like to have crampons which will last for longer time.
I read that main difference between Air Tech and G12 is that G12 has longer spikes which makes is better for steeper slopes. On the other hands with Air Tech it's easier to walk and better in mixed terrain. Is there also any difference in the usage on big boots? I have size 47. I read than in such big bootes it's better to have longer spiked for better stability. Is that really true? We also don't have really stiff soles so probably will have to go with flexible bar. Is one of them better for non alpine B/C cat. boots? What is more, Air Tech's are 30E less expensive.
All in all, what is your opinion? Is G12 better and worth higher price or Air Tech will do well in our situation?
I own the Air Techs in Aluminum, and if the steel versions are similar to the Aluminum, then I would say definitely get the G-12 - a proven all around mountaineering and alpine crampon. The shorter spikes on the Air Techs are a serious problem in certain snow conditions. Specifically when hard snow and neve’ softens during the day and a soft layer of snow develops and covers the underlying hard layer. The short spikes gum up with snow and do not penetrate to the harder snow underneath and are very insecure. I have experienced this phenomenon on Mt Rainier and Mt Baker and it was a frightening enough experience that I quit using them for alpine mountaineering and use them only for ski mountaineering and alpine rock climbing.
On 'dry' glaciers, that is no snow - just hard glacial ice, the Air Techs do just fine, even though they are made of soft metal and are quite dull. I have the Air Techs with universal bindings and frequently use them with approach shoes (low top, flexible hiking shoes with sticky climbing rubber soles) and the flexible bars are great for this. This set up is perfect for late season alpine rock routes that require crossing short stretches of glacier.
I own three pairs of crampons; Petzl Vasak or alpine climbing and mountaineering, Grivel Air Tech Aluminum for ski mountaineering and alpine rock climbing, and Grivel Rambo for waterfall climbing. If you play the game for long you will eventually acquire a 'quiver' of crampons as well as ice axes and tools, but to start with the G-12 is your best choice.
One caveat: make sure your crampons fit your boots! Here is an excellent article by SP's Dane1, a gentleman who has been climbing harder for longer than just about anybody. The gear manufacturers listen to him and so should you: http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2012/02 ... tting.html.
I have put a lot of ice and snow under Air Techs (steel) and G12s. The Air Tech Light is a fairly different animal, as it comes with a flex bar (the steel is rigid) and of course the crampon is aluminum. The points are not as sharp (pointy) and I believe they are shorter than the steel Air Tech.
G12s are not only longer in the front-points, but under-foot. In neve this makes for solid placements, but I dislike walking in them and they are quite a lot heavier than the Air Techs. Also, the G12 has much longer, more pronounced secondary points, which provide additional stability on vertical ice. They are also not as nice for walking.
There may be some situations where the longer points of the G12 provide penetration through slush into hard ice. I have not encountered any yet. If you are using soft boots and flexible center bars, it sounds like you are sticking to pretty low-angle terrain, and not front-pointing much, if at all. That sound like Air-Tech territory to me.
Since I got G20s for hard ice and mixed, I sold my G12s and use Air Techs for all my mountaineering, which is a lot of snow and ice up to WI4/M5.
That said, the G12 is probably the most versatile crampon out there. If you got it in the new-matic (wire bail on the back, nyon strap on the front), with flexible and stiff bars, it will climb anything from easy snow to hard ice and mixed without complaint.
Daniel's being overly gracious, but thank you anyway
"I read that main difference between Air Tech and G12 is that G12 has longer spikes which makes is better for steeper slopes. On the other hands with Air Tech it's easier to walk and better in mixed terrain."
Correct. Just pick your poison. I like them both in the appropriate terrain. Big fan of the steel Air Tech's myself as a general mtneering crampon. And use the G12 on ice up to WI6 and M7. So obviously there is some serious over lap between models.
Big boots? The flex bar thing is a "required" BD invention because their ss plate 'pon's break. Option for everyone else. Grivels don't break as a general rule. I wear 45/46s and have no issues in Grivel or Petzl 'pons. The solid bars will work with stiff boots. But stiff boots are what both the crampons are designed for. Your bigger boots make that a bit of a problem but not much. Keep the solid bars with stiff boots as any crampon will climb better because of it.
Soft boots you'll want flex bars on any crampon you want to keep in one piece.
Crampon fit? Much as I love Grivel. I recently started fitting a bunch of lwt 3 season mtn boots to crampons that are not full clip on bindings which I prefer. These are a basket toe and several different heel atatchments. Of the 3 major brands...Petzl, Grivel and BD, I found only Petzl offering a decent fit on my 5 pairs of different brand boots (Scarpa, North Face, Sportiva, Zamberlan, Salewa). Petzl was the best fit on every boot and even then not a stellar fit by any means. But a good bit better than anyone else for sure! Just an observation I thought worth passing on........
The steel Air Tech crampons are legit. Comfortable and light, like a 10-point crampon, but you still get the extra points. I found them comfortable like 10's and perform like 12's, but not quite as "good" as either. It's my go-to moderate terrain crampon, because often 12's are a compromise on easy terrain, but 10's are limited too. The Air Tech is more like a G10+ or G12-, which is what I'm looking for quite often.