Useful guide for Boots and Crampons

Rolfe Oostra

We all know how difficult it can be to know what boots to wear on an expedition.  What are the grades? What brands are good? Do I need crampons… are just a few of the questions that you are most likely wanting to find answers for.

Our 360 guide Rolfe has saved the day! And has made the following useful guide for Boots and Crampons.  Describing the different types, suggesting good examples and advising what boots/crampons combination should be worn on any given expedition.

Boots

B0

Description: A 3 season boot or approach shoe not designed for winter use.

Terrain: Approach walks and treks without snow.

Example: BERGHAUS EXPEDITOR ACTIVE AQ TECH SHOES, BERGHAUS FELLMASTER ACTIVE GORE-TEX SHOES

B1

Description: All round four season walking boots, robustly constructed for long mountain days and scrambles and with cross-over potential for those looking to do a small amount of winter hill walking. The midsole is stiffened while uppers may be leather or fabric, often supported by a generous rubber rand or synthetic leather reinforcements. Combine only with C1 strap-on crampons which offer the best flex.

Terrain: A B1/C1 combination will be adequate for many UK winter fell walks and gentle snow plods.

Example: BERGHAUS EXPEDITOR RIDGE 2.0 BOOTS, BERGHAUS EXPLORER RIDGE PLUS GTX,  BERGHAUS HILLWALKER II GTX

B2

Description: The best bet for regular winter hill walkers tackling long days in snowy conditions. Both midsoles and uppers will be stiff and supportive, but with just enough flex to sustain a regular walking action. Thicker uppers lend slightly more warmth. There will be a heel ledge to allow fitting of a C2 crampon for the most secure fit and versatile performance.

Terrain: Suitable for the winter Munro bagger, the low or mid-grade Scottish Winter climber and the summer Alpinist.

Example: Scarpa Charmoz or Manta, Mammut Magic GTX.

B3

Description: Boots Graded B3 are suitable for use with technical C3 crampons. The boot is fully rigid and allows the crampon to be used on more technical climbs (where there is likely to be sustained use of the crampon’s front points) without the crampon loosening. B3 boots are likely to be very uncomfortable for approach walks and trekking as they are rigid and often heavily insulated.

Terrain: Designed for full-on mountaineering, mixed and ice climbing.

Example: La Sportiva G2, Scarpa Phantom Guide or Phantom 6000.

B4

Description: Triple-Boots’ for 8,000m or very cold peaks. These are constructed with inner boot, shell and super-gaiter.

Terrain: 8,000m and Denali.

Example: Millet Everest, La Sportiva Olympus Mons, Scarpa Phantom 8000.

 

Crampons

C1

Description: C1 crampons have a webbing tape tether that pulls flexible cradles around the heel and toe to create a secure binding. This system allows good flex and is suitable for fitting to B1, B2 or B3 boots. It is usually found on low profile 10-point crampons with less aggressive points. Compatible with: B1, B2, & B3 boots

Terrain: UK winter walking or glacier traverses.

C2

Description: C2 crampons use a plastic heel lever and a flexible toe cradle. This system will give a secure binding to B2 or B3 boots. Crampons tend to be mid-profile with longer secondary spikes and sharper front points. These are the 12-point all-rounders that are easy enough to walk in but still climb hard when called on. Compatible with: B2 & B3 boots

Terrain: Technical winter scrambles, winter climbing, alpinism

C3

Description: C3 crampons combine a plastic heel lever and metal toe bar. This step-in system gives a really solid fit but will only work with full B3 boots. Usually a C3 binding is found on bigger, badder 12 or 14-point crampons that offer precise performance on steep ice or highly technical mixed routes. Very aggressive vertical front points give the best penetration on hard ice. Top-end crampons for top-end boots.

Terrain: Ice climbing, technical mountaineering

 

Expedition Boot and Crampon requirements

Expedition: Aconcagua

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Ama Dablam via Everest Base Camp

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Aneto Pyrenees (Summer)

Approach: B1

Climb: B1 and C1 or C2

 

Expedition: Aneto Pyrenees (Winter)

Approach: B2

Climb: B2 and C1 or C2

 

Expedition: Annapurna Base Camp

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Carstensz Pyramid

Approach: B1

Climb: B2

 

Expedition: Cho Oyu

Approach: B1 to bc and B2 to camp one

Climb:B4 and C2

 

Expedition: Denali

Approach: B4

Climb: B4 and C2

 

Expedition: Elbrus North-South Traverse

Approach: B1 to high camp

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Everest via the North Col

Approach: B2

Climb: B4 and C2

 

Expedition:  Everest via the South Col

Approach: B1

Climb: B4 and C2

 

Expedition: Expedition Skills Course

Approach: B1 or B2

Climb: B1 or B2 and C1 or C2

 

Expedition: The Freedom Trail Pyrenees

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Great Wall of China

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Island Peak via Everest Base Camp

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Jordan Trek to Petra

Approach: B0

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Kenya Peak Nelion

Approach: B1

Climb: Rock climbing shoes

 

Expedition: Kenya Point Lenana

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Khumbu 3 Peaks

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Kinabalu

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Lobuche East via Everest Base Camp

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Machu Picchu via the Lares Valley

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Manaslu Circuit

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Manaslu Summit

Approach: B1

Climb: B4

 

Expedition: The Matterhorn

Approach: B0

Climb: B2 and C2

 

Expedition: Mera Peak

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 and C2

 

Expedition: Mongolia

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Mont Blanc

Approach: B0

Climb: B2 and C2

 

Expedition: Sahara Desert Trek

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Snowshoeing in the Pyrenees

Approach: B1

Climb: B1 and C1

 

Expedition: Stok Kangri

Approach: B1

Climb: B3 if necessary – supplied

 

Expedition: The Thousand Lakes Pyrenees

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Toubkal (Summer Ascent)

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Toubkal (Winter Ascent)

Approach: B2

Climb: B2 and C2

 

Expedition: TrekPrep Weekend Brecon Beacons

Approach: B0 or B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: UK 3 Peaks

Approach: B1

Climb: –

 

Expedition: Via Ferrata in the Pyrenees

Approach: B1

Climb: –

Expedition: Vinson

Approach: B4

Climb: B4 and C2

 

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