“Agile, tought, and razor sharp. Snow is its natural habitat,”that is what Petzl announces in their informative video about their Leopard crampons, after having spent quite some time with this product on our feet we most certainly agree to that statement.
Number of points: 10
Boot sizes: 36-46
Certification(s): CE EN 893, UIAA
Material(s): aluminum, stainless steel, nylon, Dyneema®
Crampons come with protective carry bag
The Petzl Leopard crampons are extremely lightweight weighing in at at a mere 330g per pair, barely adding any extra weight to your pack and are specifically designed for ski touring and snow travel. The way that they’ve kept the weight down is by making the crampons out of aluminum, but the most significant way they’ve shed weight is by what Petzl call CORD – TEC flexible linking system. Now what this means is that Petzl have completely thrown away the metal bar that usually connects the front and the back section of the crampons and replaced it with a Dyneema nylon cord. Instead of the traditional way of adjusting the size via different holes in the connecting bar as you would on any other crampon, the Leopard adjusts by moving the cord between the different teeths on the back section of the crampon. This makes for a very snug fit on your boots as you can adjust it to near perfection as it is not necessary to fit the cord onto the same slots on either side, meaning that you can tighten the nylon cord into slot 3 on the left side and into slot 1 on the right side if that is what will create the tightest fit. I’ve found this to be an extremely quick and efficient way of adjusting the crampons and i’ve found it to be easier to get that nice and snug fit on my boots. A small reminder though, the rope will eventually stretch a bit as you’ve used them a little while resulting in them not feeling as tight any longer, this is of course easily fixed by pulling on the cord into another slot in the back section.
It is not only the weight that is saved by the use of the CORD – TEC nylon rope, it also saves space as it makes the Leopard crampons highly packable, adding minimal bulk to your already stuffed backpack. The crampons also comes with a durable bag, I particularly loved this protection bag for a few reasons;
– for one it meant that all of my other belongings kept inside my pack close to my crampons wouldn’t be destroyed by the spikes as well as i could reach down in search of my crampons without the fear of getting stabbed myself
– it meant that it became easier to fit it in my bag as it took so little space
– I loved that the bag is bright orange, making it very easy to spot inside of your bag
The Leopard is a 10 point crampon, as a result many may feel less secure using these than the traditional 12 point steel crampons. This was never a problem personally. I found them to be sitting tightly on my foot all along, they never felt wobbly or as if I were to loose them while traversing a steep wall of ice and I felt them to grip very firmly even on sheer blue ice. However, these aluminum crampons are not as tough or durable as steel crampons resulting in them breaking more easily on rocky terrain and they are not fit to be used in any technical terrain as they will not hold, creating a possible dangerous situation.
The Petzl Leopard crampons comes in two different models with two different binding systems, the FL and the LLF. The Leopard FL has a FLEX LOCK binding system, therefore the name FL, which is suiteable for any hiking and approach shoes without heel or toe welts while the LLF model has a LEVERLOCK FIL(LLF) binding which has a self-adjusting elastic strap around the ankle and are compatible with shoes and boots with heel and toe welts. I was using the LLF crampons and found the binding system to be extremely convenient and quick and easy to use. Within seconds I had the crampons fitted onto my boots and just with the flick of the clip they came undone making progress fast and easy , especially where you would need to take the crampons on and off often along the way.
All throughout Nepal we used these crampons on large snowfields, glaciers and even while ascending and descending sheer blue ice on Mera La pass and not once did either of us experience any problems or doubted their grip. I am very impressed with the durability as well as I cannot see any signs on wear and tear on them. All in all this is a force to be reckoned with whether you are a skier, hiker or a mountaineer, these lightweight, yet strong and durable crampons will have you covered while you’re out there on your snowy adventures