By Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) employee Zack McGill working in Alaska (COBS operates in Ecuador, Wyoming, and Utah as well).
As an Outward Bound instructor, I put my gear through tremendous levels of distress. When teaching students how to push themselves for 24 hours straight, in the rain, during a whiteout, on an ice field, the gear has to keep up. When placing people into their challenge zones, the last thing I want is for a piece of gear to fail. Something like a broken or malfunctioning crampon could potentially shove someone over that delicate line separating the challenge from the panic zone – triggering fight-or-flight, tears, and/or obscenities. The Grivel G10s didn’t let me down, though I did experience an increased heart rate when I pushed them a little past their intended use leading up a nunatak on the Harding Ice Field of Alaska.
The G10 is fantastic for long approaches over mellow-to-moderate slope angles no matter the terrain. They performed well on everything from dry glacier, frozen sun-cupped snow, and the mashed potatoes of the afternoon sun. The New-Matic binding allowed me to get a good, tight fit over my Scarpa Mont Blancs that inspired confidence in each step. Though the standard center bar maxes out at size 46 and I wear a size 45 ½ boot, the semi-rigid frame still felt solid with no movement in the heel. On ice and harder snow, the ten points of contact coupled with the New-Matic binding and more durable Chromolly steel allowed for precise movement.
Most surprising to me was how well they performed on mushy corn snow. The anti-balling plates were clutch and one of the best features on the G10. They shrugged off unwanted snow so well that I didn’t even notice the struggle bus others were boarding until people were yelling for me to stop so they could angrily whack at their heels with their ice axes. Living on the Harding, I was in these crampons 10-14 hours a day. I experienced zero heel rub and no constrictions on my feet where the straps came across my boots. I have never had a more comfortable crampon.
The only time I felt uninspired by the G10 was when I pushed them past their intended usage point into steeper terrain. Not having much for front points, it was difficult to lead up slopes over 35 degrees with confidence. That said, I’m still here, so they obviously did the job well enough.
The bottom line:
The G10s are a workhorse crampon – durable, dependable, and comfortable as long as they are used within their intended usage zone. If you plan on climbing steeper snow couloirs over 35 degrees or ice, you should think about a more aggressive crampon. If you need a crampon for long approaches over mellow to moderate slope angles that can handle anything from dry glacier to sloppy corn snow, get this crampon. You won’t be disappointed.