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August 2014 Issue
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Petzl Vasak with Spirlock binding



Our Rating:

The Petzl Vasak (914g) is an all-round, 12-point crampon suitable for the full range of alpine activities the modern day tramper/mountaineer might engage with. These versatile crampons will work with both flexible and rigid boots and are available with four different types of binding. The Vasak comes with Petzl’s unique Spirlock binding, which comprises a burly rubberised toe bail (fits all boots) and a very light stainless steel heel bail. This simple heel bail functions the same way as an ‘automatic’ crampon binding by gripping the heel welt, but it’s less obtrusive and, I would expect, virtually indestructible.

There was a lot I liked about the Vasak: It has fine adjustment (to half sizes) and is easily adjusted without tools. They will collapse into a compact bundle and they fitted well both pairs of boots I tried them with. They come with installed anti-balling plates, although I did note that after a weekend’s use three of the screws holding them on had loosened. It’s worth applying thread lock to these. The strapping method worked securely and was easy to use with gloves on. They were fast to take on and off for transitions between snow and rock.

These crampons would work for everything from transalpine tramping through to mountaineering and occasional ice and mixed climbing. The points are a relatively narrow gauge, compared with others in this review, giving very good penetration in hard snow and ice, yet the steel seems sufficiently hard for them not to dull after walking and climbing on rocks. The steel is electroplated to improve durability and snow shedding ability.

Note that the Spirlock binding is only suitable for boots with a crampon-specific heel welt. If you have regular tramping boots look at Petzl’s Flexlock binding.