History of Crampons Timeline – No 226

Crampon evolution

16th century — four-point forefoot grappettes developed for basic snow and glacier traction by European hunterslate 19th century — full-foot crampons emerge1908 — Englishman Oscar Eckenstein designs the first 10-point crampon, dramatically reducing the need for step cutting1910 — Eckenstein’s design is made commercially available by Italian Henry Grivel1913 — Lieutenant Trémeau develops the first adjustable-length crampon1929 — Laurent Grivel (Henry’s son) adds two front points to the 10-point design, enabling climbers to tackle steep ice1933 — Amato Grivel (Laurent’s younger brother) forges the first chrome-molybdenum steel crampons1938 — On the first ascent of the Eiger Nordward, Germans Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Vörg, using 12-point crampons, swiftly overtake Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek of Austria, who are flat-footing it in hobnailed boots and 10-point crampons, respectively. The foursome teams up for the rest of the ascent. Wrote Harrer in The White Spider, “I looked back, down our endless ladder of steps. Up it, I saw the New Era coming at express speed; there were two men running — I mean running, not climbing — up,” the Nordwand’s Second Icefield.1967 — Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost develop rigid-frame crampons (with a cantankerous, customizable anatomic shape) to provide maximum energy transfer from boot to ice Mid-1960s — Stubai adds secondary front points for heel-dropping traction1972 — Mike Lowe develops the Footfang, with a new ski-binding style attachment system and the first-ever vertical front points, setting a standard that lasted well in the late 1980s1985 — Salewa introduces scissoring step-in design that provides additional binding security1986 — Grivel and Charlet Moser release first commercially available monopoint cramponsMid-1990s — climbers begin experimenting with simple machine-bolt heel spurs affixed to heel bails2000 — DMM introduces the Terminator, the first viable anatomically curved rigid crampon2001 — Ice World Cup climbers usher in a new era as they disassemble their crampons and bolt them directly to their lightweight boots, with monopoints attached to the rear for wicked heel-hooking spurs