I use Grivel G14 Crampons for all the ice, mixed, and alpine climbing I do; there are three main reasons for this 1. versatility, 2. performance, and 3. wear. I need to have one pair of crampons that do everything; in an ideal world I would own and use 3-4 different pairs of crampons for separate activities – however I don’t have enough money for this so have to make do with one pair for everything.
The G14s are not the lightest crampons on the market, but they are incredible versatile. The G14s can be configured in dual or mono-point mode – I generally use them as mono-points for all mixed climbing and water ice climbing i.e. everything in Scotland other than Ben Nevis thin face climbs; while I use dual points for almost all alpine climbs (except if I know that it is almost entirely mixed climbing with little or no snow climbing in). I use mono points basically when it is technical – you can be incredibly precise with mono’s using holds that would be impossible to use otherwise, and on hard ice the force of your kick is focused onto a smaller point so you require less effort at every kick. Obviously all of this is dependent on how sharp the points of the crampons are.
Mono points do not perform well on snow ice and soft ice or hard snow; they have a tendency to slice through the snow which can be a bit scary – dual points work really well however on this type of terrain. This means the Grivel G14s in the dual point setup are great for alpine climbing from moderate route to the biggest ice faces. As the G14s are semi ridged they do not ball up like the old style fully ridged crampons (e.g. Rambo’s, Footfangs etc.). They also come with Grivel’s new antiballing plates which actively push the snow off the crampons, however I find that they fill with snow and thus do not work ideally, yet they are a vast improvement over older anti-balling plates.
The G14s are really hardwearing – I am onto my second pair of them, yet the first pair did 5 Alpine seasons, 7 winter seasons – one of which was in Canada climbing every day for 4 months. So basically they last for ages, and with the modular front points you can replace them with brand new ones really quite easily.
Obviously these crampons are not the ideal choice for everyone – they weigh more than most of the other crampons in our range, and the G14s best suited for more technical ground. However if you want a pair of crampons to do everything from ski touring to Scottish 5s and everything in-between I can really recommend the Grivel G14s.