Judy Armstrong tests glove-friendly steel mountaineering crampons ideal for larger boots.
This review is part of our crampons gear guide, and was first published in the February 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.
Camp’s Stalker Universal is a 12-point crampon for larger boots: they were physically small enough to fit on my size 37s, but the front and rear plates were touching which compromised flex in the centre. So Duncan tested these on his size 44s. The central bar is slightly curved, similar to the Petzl Irvis but to a lesser degree. The crampon was an ideal fit on a contemporary mountaineering boot (La Sportiva Trango Cube) whose sole unit matched the curve but on traditional leather boots there was more boot/sole to the outside of the bar. A straight central bar is more appropriate to this style of boot, which is why it is so important to take your boots with you when you try crampons for fit. The imbalance was less pronounced than with Irvis, as the front plate is longer and wider so feels more stable underfoot, and the two extra points provide more of a platform. It is a good illustration of larger front plates working well on larger boots: it’s simple, there’s more to stand on!
Adjustment for length is straightforward: a spring- loaded pin on the heel plate lifts to allow the central bar to slide backward or forward with close-spaced holes for fine tuning. For smaller boots you’d cut the protruding end of the bar off, but they’re best on bigger boots in any case. The anti-ball plates are flat slabs of die-cut rubber; they don’t have the ‘bounce’ effect of the moulded versions (Petzl and Salewa, for example) but are effective enough.
The chunky plastic harnesses are simple and easy to fasten, with slim webbing threading through large gaps: very glove- friendly. They also swivel to pack neatly into the zip-top storage bag, which sounds a small point but when you’ve cold fingers and are handling spikes, being able to store them easily into a durable bag is worth something!