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Why do you like GAB crampons for traditional mountaineering?

I have received several requests for more information about the GAB traditional mountaineering crampons I described on this web and that I mentioned on two website chat room postings as "trad_guy".

GAB crampons are made by Günther Gabriel at his factory in Germany. Günther 's son Andreas, Googled one of my postings and we corresponded by email.  I learned that the GAB factory produced nearly 350,000 pairs of crampons for the SALEWA company over a period of thirty years. Some of the well known models are the SALEWA Classic, SALEWA Chouinard and the SALEWA Everest. The GAB factory also produced the famous SALEWA Sticht Brakes, the Antz Brake and the Salewa Tube Carabiner. They also produced uncounted Ice Screws for SALEWA.  GAB now works with VAU DE SPORT Germany and CLIMB HIGH USA and offers its own label: GAB.

Günther writes, "In this time it is possible to make deliveries directly from the factory GAB in Germany".  The website address is The email address is  Tell GAB we sent you!

Here is why I like them and why some other crampons do not work well. I have a large foot. My boot size is 47.5 or American size 13. Most crampons are made to fit many shoe sizes and the side points can be as much as an inch on each side inside the actual edge of a larger boot. The GAB crampons scissor out to the very edge of the wider boot. This is a major concern in traversing a hard snow slope. You do not want the edge of the boot contacting the ice before the crampon point. To see what I have described, go to my crampon photo page. The Stubai crampons on my Merrells have points that do not fit the edges. The Stubais are OK for Mount Adams.

Secondly, the crampons are fitted for length by a spring loaded screw gizmo. They do not use little cap screws that adjust the length to the nearest inch or so. If you have crampons that use these little screws, make sure you carry replacement screws and the right screw-driver. Practice replacing a lost crampon adjustment screw at dusk, with gloves, in desperate freezing weather, near your car, of course.

Thirdly, the clamp-on model is secure, fast and simple on my Makalus. GAB has part or full strap-on models to fit other boot types.

Fourthly, they have a low profile against the sole of the boot, minimizing snow build-up. This is a very important feature.

Lastly, they they are made of excellent German steel that holds its points after seasons of snow, rock and ice.


GAB snap-on crampons

My crampons are solidly attached by a lever and single strap around the ankle with the buckle on the inside (see below). The toe clamp or bail, is in place in the manufactured groove in my La Sportive Makalu boots. Although it is hard to see in this photo, the twin rear posts of the GAB crampons are fitted over the rear of the boot heel. Also, the crampon points are at the edges of the ball of the boot although it may not look like it in this photo (but, see below).


Correct crampon fit

My crampons are solidly attached, fitted tightly to the boots so that they do not fall off before the strap is attached. This is a traditional test of fit and is not meant to be more than a demonstration of good fit. Note that the front bail is secured in the manufactured front groove on the Makalu boots. Note the manufactured rear groove on the boot into which the rear lever is snapped - "hence, snap on crampons". There are fittings back of the ball of the foot for another keeper strap. I finally took this extra strap off for light and fast climbing, because I feel that if the crampons were to come off, they would be still attached by the rear strap. However, for serious work, I replaced the strap. I think it holds the GAB crampons to the boot for front pointing, for instance, up out of a Bergschrund. (Also, Yvon Chouinard, in his book Climbing Ice,  advises us to leave the rubber point protection at home for light and fast climbing.)

Copyright© 2004-2006 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.



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