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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grivel Crampons? Respect is due....

G20 prior to the release of the improved 2012 G20

The blog allows me to see gear and comments from around the world on a daily basis and in a  timely manner.  

I had and used the G20 and G22 for a couple of years now off and on.  G12s previous to that.

While climbing in Scarpa boots the majority of time has made the Grivel factory front bail fitting rather problematic for me.  So I shied away from Grivel on my Scarpas and generally just climbed in the Petzl offerings.

Dave Searl loved his first pair of G20s to death.  I offer the title photo of this blog post as proof.  That is Dave's  "used" G20 above.   Used ( and worn out) mind you wearing the same Scarpa boots that I  seem to fret so on the fit.   :-)

Three places I don't fret about the G20's fit?   That would be the La Sportiva Spantik, the Dynafit TLT 5 or the Dynafit DyNA Series of boots.

The G20 and the G22 are the best fitting crampons I have seen out of the box for the TLT ski boots that I occasionally choose to ice climb in.

If I am climbing ice in ski boots, I am generally soloing.  And I really do fret about a crampon failure while in stainless.

Which brings me to the point of the conversation.   Back in the fall of 2011 Dave broke the connecting bar on one of his G20s while climbing at the Zoo.  The Zoo is a small mixed crag just out of the Chamonix valley at Le Feyet.  But plenty of climbing to be had there on a rainy day when the mountains are not an option.

The Grivel factory took a quick interest in the broken G20 and immediately replaced not just the broken connecting bar but replaced Dave's pair of totally worn out crampons as well!   That of course made Dave a happy lad!  And to be honest, really impressed me.  But the story didn't stop there. Hard to imagine I know, looking at how another crampon company has and continues to handle their own crampon failures...

Grivel didn't stop by just replacing Dave's the totally worn out G20s with new ones.  They took a very close look at why they failed.  Then they kept looking for ways to improve the earlier version.

Grivel went looking for the reason of the failure and how it could be done better and prevent the next failure.  No excuses, no questioning the customer' skill level, no blame on the use or abuse of the product,  no Internet blather and tasty talk, no "lost" crampons and  no obvious public tap dance.

Thank GOD!

It is clear now that two of the three biggest players in ice gear...what ever the problem.....just do the right thing and then....... get on with life.

My new pair of G20s and a pair of Haute Route crampons showed up on UPS today.   Which I paid for BTW.  They weren't freebies.

photo courtesy of Krister Jonsson
Both were purchased specifically for my Dynafit TLTs boots.    The G20s for real climbing, Cham's alpine ice in mind.  The light weight Haute Route version for the NW volcanos.  They both fit my TLTS almost like they were made for them.  Close enough for me not to fret anyway. 

My older G22s are the same perfect fit.
Respect and props are due Grivel here.  Grivel has immediately replaced the few pair of broken crampons I have heard of in the last three years.   (and none were an obvious flaw in design or materials)  They have also taken a critical look at the parts that were failing on occasion and redesigned them for the better.  No excuses, no song and dance routine.  They simply made it better.  IMO much better.  All this in less than five months of the first broken connecting bar to appear.

I had mentioned this before but failed to realise just how big the effort really was to come up with a better connecting bar for the G20/G22.  My G20s came with two full pages of printed literature describing what was done differently.  If you are new to Grivel, likely you would never notice.  I'm  not, and did.

  "Grivel cares about the perfect fit." 

What I have quoted above is the first sentence in Grivel's informative two page, multi language hand out that come in the crampon box for the G20 and both versions of the G22.  Take it to the bank..or on your next solo.   Grivel does care about your crampon fit and your personal safety.   The effort didn't go unnoticed.  Respect is due.  Thank you Grivel!

Dane's new G20s and another perfect fit!
Thank you Grivel for allowing us that level of trust and keeping the stoke alive!


Wyatt said...


I recently discovered how much easier ice climbing is with horizontal front points. I had been caught up in the hype of verticals and its interesting to me that no matter how much the ice climbing veterans say horizontals are superior, horizontal crampons are rarely talked about - other than Sabertooths. I refuse to buy BD gear anyway for personal/political reasons, so what other makes and models of horizontal crampons do you climb with and recommend? What features do you like or find important?

brian p. harder said...

The Haute Route fits the Dynafit TLT in a freakishly fantastic sort of way, eh?

Although I love climbing in my Moser Dartwins, the bail fit does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Any recommendations for mods to get them to fit my TLTs better? I heard that the BD bails are better. Bet you know. You can send thoughts to my gmail if you like. Thanks.

Dane said...

BD normal bail does fit the TLT boots better but you have to cut up the hole on the crampon to get them to fit. No more Petzl bails after that. Even then the heels aren't that great. I think the Grivel is the best out of box, BD only OK and the Petzl last in the TLT race. Sadly. Too bad there is no usable front point on the Haute Route left. Seriously Brian...I suggest just bagging it and getting the G22 or 20 if you need a tech crampon. Send me a PM if you have the interest.

Jon Rhoderick said...

does the G20 have that little mini horizontal frontpoint next to the mono? It seems like a smart idea (doesn't get in the way with the mixed, gives extra support in the slush) but I have never heard anyone comment on it

Unknown said...

Wyatt, for what it's worth, I've been very happy with the Grivel G12. Works well for anything from glacier approaches to vertical ice. Don't know how they handle hard mixed, for easy mixed they are fine. And the new Newmatic binding fits silver Trangos and Batura Evos fine, at least by my standards :)

Dane said...

Agreed, I've climbed a lot of things in the G12. They are good from vertical ice to mixed. Aint the arrow but the Indian :)

The G20? Yes the current version does have the extra mini horizontal. And yes it does work well just as you've described. One advantage over the other mono points IMO.

Dee said...

I used to have a pair of Scrapa Frenys. I remember the toe bail on every crampon I tried didnt fit due to the super curved shape of the boot. So I just bent the toe bail into shape with a hammer and a pair of pilers.

Karl Henize said...

I just recently had one center bar fail on my G22s. The other center bar was cracked, but did not fail. I was using them with LaSportiva Nepal Evo boots.

If you are using the old style G22 or G20 crampons with a hollow instep, I recommend frequently inspecting the center bar for cracks and/or replacing the center bar with the new twin bars.

Dane said...

If you are climbing in the first versions of the G20 or 22 I would suggest contacting your local Grivel dealer and simply replacing the part for the new version. Grivel has always been very good at replacing broken or faulty parts.

The new bars have been available for almost a year now.

Snow Slog said...

I like your blog. I'm having trouble finding a replacement crampon for my worn out BD sabretooths. I want a crampon for mountaineering with occasional ice cragging. I have size 48 Nepal Evos and I would like to give Grivels a shot but it seems like they only go up to size 47. Do you know if this is accurate? Am I just stuck with BD? Thanks

Dane said...

G12 or Air tech are much more durable crampons than the Sabertooth and with long bars should easily fit your 47s and climb better as well. Good luck. Let me know how the firt is on your boots.