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Grivel Air Tech Light Review

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Grivel Air Tech Light Review
Price:  $206 List
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Manufacturer:   Grivel
By Chris Simrell ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 19, 2012

Our Analysis

This is a very lightweight crampon. While obviously a poor choice for certain applications like waterfall ice climbing, it is versatile. The intended application is glacier travel, snow climbing, and really any situation where you may need the security of a crampon, but don't anticipate prolonged climbing on ice where a steel crampon would be preferable. The version we are testing has what Grivel calls the “New Classic” binding system. Essentially this is the familiar system of binding in which there are plastic heel and toe pieces that are then secured with a single strap. This is as opposed to a binding system featuring a heel lever and/or a toe bail requiring you to have boots with heel and/or toe welts. In simple terms: The “New Classic” binding system on the Air Tech Lights means that you can fit the crampons to almost any footwear you happen to be wearing for the climb (within reason). For example we've fitted the Air Tech Lights to La Sportiva Trango Extremes on the Torment-Forbidden Traverse in Washington's North Cascades, we've put them on approach tennies to cross small glaciers and snowfields below alpine rock climbs, and we've used them on ski boots on Mt. Rainier. In all cases we found the attachment to be quite secure. Grivel lists ski touring and classical alpinism as “suggested uses” and lists traverses and easy snow climbing as “perfect uses.” The Air Tech Lights can also be ordered with a heel lever binding system if that is preferable to you. The Anti-balling plates, which we have thus far found to be very effective, are included. Fits boot sizes 35-46. We need to test this crampon more, however it is a top contender for best overall crampon because it is so light and versatile. We have no hesitation about recommending it for general mountaineering use.
crampon - grivel air tech lights waiting to be stashed on the pack after...
Grivel Air Tech Lights waiting to be stashed on the pack after serving their duty on the snow traverse seen in the background. Torment-Forbidden Traverse, N. Cascades, Washington.
Credit: Chris Simrell

A note on durability

The Air Tech Lights are aluminum, which is partly why they are so light. Like all lightweight outdoor gear, weight is shaved at the expense of durability. An aluminum crampon will not weather use and abuse like a steel crampon will. We found noticeable wear on our test pair after only two trips to the mountains. Additionally, as noted above, while great for snow travel aluminum crampons are a poor choice for ice climbing.

Bottom Line

The Grivel Air Tech Light crampon is a very light and also very versatile crampon, secure on many types of footwear. This is a great summer alpine crampon for a place like Washington State where glaciers and snowfields are often crossed to reach alpine rock, and volcanoes abound.

The Specs

Weight: 16.79 oz.
Materials: Light Alloy
Fits bootsize 35-46
Anti-balling plates included

Chris Simrell