Can I use crampons with ski boots?

Can I use crampons with ski boots? —Andrew

Yes. You can fit most commercially available crampons to ski boots. Many ski mountaineers prefer full step-in (or automatic) style crampons because they are lightweight and fit well, however most universal (strap-on) or semi-automatic style crampons will work, too. For most climbers, using crampons on ski boots means extending their crampon length by one to three holes in the spreader bar to accommodate a longer boot length. If your crampons won’t extend far enough, it’s not necessary to buy a new set, instead you can purchase longer spreader bars for less than $20.

For tele boots with a 75mm toe, there are only a handful of options wide enough to work. Typically each crampon manufacturer only makes one crampon model that will fit tele boots, and some certainly work better than others. So it's a good idea to go to a local shop or do some research online before buying a set.

— Ian Nicholson lives to climb, is a guidebook author, and an AMGA-certified Alpine and Rock guide. Nicholson lives in Seattle with his wife, Rebecca, and his Cat, Neve.

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