A few years, ago when I was getting a Wilderness First Responder certificate, our instructor made a comment about how a climber needed to have at least four pairs of crampons; aluminum for skiing and summer use, steel horizontals for glacier use, steel horizontals with a toe basket for general use, and technical ice crampons. Until this season, I agreed with that statement, actually I added a couple more pairs of crampons into the mix.
That was all before the Petzl Lynx. It isn’t often that we see game changers in the gear world but Petzl has done just that with the Lynx. For anyone getting into the sport, the Lynx is the only option for new crampons. The reason is simple, the Lynx will fit on any boot with a heel welt. This flexibility is made possible by interchangeable bails and baskets both of which come standard with the Lynx.
This means that for someone getting into the sport the Lynx can be used with a heavy hiking boot and once they fall in love with ice climbing they can use the same crampon with a technical ice boot.
I used this option, much to my chagrin at the beginning of the season. One of my friends wanted to go ice climbing, only problem was she didn’t have boots with toe welts. “Well… Please stay off rocks with these.” I handed over my brand new pair of Lynx’s for their first use. She didn’t dull them and they worked fine on her boots. Two days later, I went out by myself and did something only possible with the Lynx, but also standard. I switched the toe bails. Instead of the toe baskets my friend had used on her boots, I put on toe bails for my ice climbing boots — they climbed solid. Seven weeks later I have zero complaints with the Lynx. For years I have tried new crampons and always gone back to my rigid Rambo-Comps after a couple days out. It’s been almost two months and the Rambo-Comps are still in the closet.
With the Lynx, I can now get rid of three pairs of crampons. They replace both my rigid crampons and my mountaineering crampons and the crampons for my hiking boots. Or I can turn my old toe-bail crampons into toe-basket crampons, because the Petzls interchangeable toe basket is nearly universal for any crampon with a toe bail. (The only thing we couldn’t get these on were the C.A.M.P aluminium crampons.)
On top of all the coolness from the interchangeable bails and their excellent climbing ability, the Lynx comes standard with anti-balling plates and a nice orange case. As far as downsides go, switching the bails requires a bit of elbow grease, but I like that because it means the bails wont fall off when under pressure. The Lynx is not the cheapest crampon on the market, but it is by far the most useful. Honestly, it is hard to find bad things to say about this crampon. Though one bad thing might be that according to my local gear store, most of the Lynx’s in North America have already been sold this season. Also I couldn’t find a price on replacement front points, anti-balling plates, and easily adjusted front points. Since the Lynx also comes standard with two front points this means that I have a set of spare frontpoints with the crampons in mono-point mode.
While not a breakthrough in its own right, the Lynx also feature the ability to adjust the length, position and number of front points. Personally, I like climbing mono and I prefer a short front point so I can easily engage the secondary points. Hence the shown set up. But for other uses it is no problem, (just an Allen Wrench) to change the crampons over to long dual points.
For any beginner the Lynx is the obvious choice, because they will fit any boot with a heel welt. As you upgrade your footwear you can still use the Lynx on ANY boot. For those of use who already have a couple pairs of crampons the Lynx offers another option that is pretty sweet. After I had switched the Lynx over to toe bails I got curious about the toe baskets that came with them. As you can see from the picture they fit both C.A.M.P. (non-aluminum) and Black Diamond crampons, which gives me more options for loaning out gear or if for some reason I chose not to use the Lynx themselves I can still use their baskets to retrofit any toe bailed crampon.
Two Thumps Up!
- The Lynx can fit any boot with a heel welt, and can be adjusted for glacier, mixed, or steep ice.
- You cannot cut the straps shorter (they need to be long for the baskets) so they have to be wrapped around your ankle.
Guest Contributor: Keese Lane, a Vermont native, tested the Lynx Crampon in a variety of Northeast conditions. From lean to no ice in Smugglers Notch to sub-zero temps and thick styrofoam ice in the Adirondacks.