Aluminum crampons weigh about half that of their steel counterparts, making them the choice for snow climbing and glacier travel. Trouble is, aluminum front points can bend if you kick them into hard water ice, limiting their use on technical routes.
The XLC Nanotech is the first of what I suspect will be a new breed of composite crampons—the frame is 7075 aluminum, but the front points are stainless steel. Specifically, Sandvik Nanoflex steel, an alloy C.A.M.P. says is 60 percent stronger than regular steel. The steel points extend the crampon’s durability and let you tackle hard ice such as that found in spring couloirs, or scratch up the odd patch of rock. For climbs such as Rainier, Hood, Mont Blanc, even the volcanoes down in Mex and Peru, they can do the job nicely and survive the return trip. Another nice touch: The flexible crampons adjust in seconds to accommodate a wide range of boot sizes.
The XLC Nanotech is available in two binding styles. Pick the Fast (clip on) design for boots that can take a heel and toe bail. I tested the Universal binding. Its nylon toe piece fits over just about any boot that accepts a heel bail.
* Aluminum crampon with steel front points
* 1 pound 4 ounces per pair with universal binding
* Two binding styles
Recommended for: General mountaineering and glacier travel.