Always searching for lightweight but high quality skiing and walking equipment, I was delighted to hear about the new Petzl Leopard crampons, and also the Petzl Irvis Hybrid crampons.
There are several types of these lightweight Petzl crampons and a variety of fittings, depending on whether you will use them with B1, B2 or B3 walking boots or ski touring boots. First things first, it’s important to know what to buy to suit your needs.
3 models of lightweight Petzl crampons
Petzl Leopard LLF crampons
Ultra lightweight aluminium crampons with Leverlock FIL (LLF) binding for ski touring and walking in snow and on snowy/icy slopes.
Price: RRP £127.
Petzl Leopard FL crampons
Ultra-light aluminium crampon with Flexlock (FL) binding for walking in snow and on snowy/icy slopes.
Price: RRP £127 (£105.17 on-line here.)
Petzl Irvis Hybrid LLU crampons
Hybrid crampons with steel front piece and aluminium heel piece and Leverlock Universal (LLU) binding for approaches and glacier skiing. Come with anti-snow plates to stop a snow balling underneath.
Weight: 540 g (with FIL), 570 g (with FIL FLEX)
Price: RRP £138 (£99.95 on-line here)
Also available to buy separately:
Anti-snow Leopard plates: RRP £21.50 (£14.95 on-line here.)
Anti-snow plates (fits IRVIS front section): RRP £21.50
Petzl crampon back lever (pair): RRP £31.00
Petzl crampon front bail (pair): RRP £21.50
Need to know
What boots will I be wearing?
B1 boots (3-4 season boots): For general winter mountain walking. These boots have a semi-rigid mid-sole and can take crampons known as C1 only. The boots do not have toe or heel lips so they can’t be used with C2 crampons.
B2 boots (4 season boots): A more rigid and rugged winter mountain boot. The soles are compatible with both C2 and C1 crampons. They have a lip at the top of the heel so they can be used with C2 crampons, which have a heel-clip style binding,
B3 boots are more technical and rigid: They are usually used by winter climbers. The boots have a lip at the toe and heel and can be used with more robust C3 crampons, which have a fixing to go over the lip front and rear.
Ski touring boots: Generally the best crampon is a C3 style.
Also note: The difficulty for many people is that not all boots sit exactly in the B1/B2/B3 categories, which were originally proposed by Scarpa, and many sit in-between. It’s a good idea to seek advice in a bricks-and-mortar retailer if possible.
Petzl lightweight crampon bindings
Flexlock bindings: Will fit approach shoes and also B1 boots, B2 Boots and B3 boots but not all ski touring boots. I have found they best suit B1 and B2 boots because they rely on a flexible plastic binding front and rear to stay in place. They do not have a clip-in system like other crampon bindings.
I use the Flexlock bindings with my B1 boots for best fit and stability.
Leverlock Universel FilFlex bindings: Will fit B2 and B3, but not all ski touring boots. These have a clip-in back fitting to go over boots with a built-in lip at the heel.
Leverlock Universel Fil: For B3 and ski touring boots. These bindings have a rigid clip at the front to go over a built-in toe lip in the boot and also a clip-in binding at the back to fit over a heel lip in the boot. These are recommended for rigid ski touring boots.
I use these bindings with my ski touring boots.
Other features of the Petzl crampons
- Cord-Tec flexible linking system minimises bulk and weight for ease of carrying.
- Tool-free length adjustment
- Number of points: 10
- Boot sizes: 36-46
- Crampons come with protective carry bag
- 3-year guarantee
On test: Petzl Leopard FL crampons
I have used these crampons with Flexlock bindings on my B1 walking boots and also with Leverlock Universel Fil bindings for my Scarpa Gea ski touring boots.
My first impressions were how very lightweight they are. I am used to carrying heavier and bulkier Grivel steel-based crampons (weighing more than 800g) so the Petzl crampons are more than 50 per cent lighter. They also pack down into a much smaller size. The bag that the crampons come with is very useful for storage.
The lighter weight is because of the materials. Aluminium and cord reduce the grams. Of course, aluminium is not as strong as steel so the Petzl crampons are not as robust but having used them they are completely up to the job of traversing snowy and snow-icy slopes and also climbing steep snow walls.
Hubby G bought the Petzl Irvis Hybrid LLU crampons because he preferred the idea of a steel front section. These will be better for icier conditions, too. The crampons are still some 300g lighter than similar Grivel crampons.
The cord is likely to wear out with prolonged use but it can be replaced.
It’s important to match the binding with the footwear. For example, the Flexlock do not work well with ski boots. There is not enough fixing stability and unless you can pull them very tight indeed they do not stay properly fixed on the boot.
For ski touring boots and B3 style boots, the Leverlock Universel binding is the best. It fixes tightly over the front lip of the sole and also clips on to the heel. His makes the crampons stable and rigid on the boot.
For B1 boots, which I wear through summer and winter in Scotland, the Flexlock bindings work a treat. You do need to make sure the sole is pushed right into the crampon base before tightening the straps but if you do this they work very well.
The straps are easy to adjust and it’s possible to fasten them tightly. The fastenings to not work themselves loose, as long as you have the crampons firmly and accurately fitted in the first place.
I like that you can buy different bindings for one set of crampons so you can swap between boots and the type of activity. Having the anti-snow plates is useful as well if you are walking on that sticky kind of snow that balls up under crampons. The plates stop this happening.
Because the crampons are so light, it’s easy to keep them in your hiking or ski touring rucksack just in case you need to use them. I can see myself having these in my rucksack almost year round.
I have also bought a Petzl Ride ultra light ice axe. It’s designed for ski touring and I used it when ascending the snow slope on Bidean nam Bian. £77.50 on-line here.
I own a Petzl Meteor 2019 ski touring helmet, too. See my review.
I have not tested these crampons or the ice axe over many years of use but they do come with a three-year guarantee. So far, I would highly recommend them.
See Petzl for more information.