Boot and Crampon Guide

The following grading System is based on a proposed System by Mountaineer and Mountain Guide Brian Hall.

Boots
B0
Unsuitable for crampons. Most walking boots are designed to flex for comfort and do not have sufficient lateral and longitudinal rigidity in their midsole. Additionally the upper is often made of soft calf leather or a combination of suede/fabric, which compresses easily under crampon straps causing discomfort and cold feet.
B1
Suitable for the easiest snow and ice conditions found when hill walking, using crampons more for emergency or for crossing a short patch of snow or ice, rather than setting initially fitted for a full days walk. They have a reasonably stiff flexing sole and the uppers provide enough ankle and foot support for traversing relatively steep slopes.
B2
A stiff flex boot with the equivalent of a three quarter or full shank midsole and a supportive upper made from high quality leather (probably over 3mm thick). These boots, designed for four season mountaineering, can be used all day with crampons, whilst easy alpine terrain and easy Scottish snow and ice climbs can also be covered.
B3
A technical mountaineering/climbing boot (usually plastic) regarded as “rigid” both in midsole and upper. Used for mountaineering and ice climbing
CRAMPONS
C1
A flexible walking crampon attached with straps, with or without front points.
C2
Articulated multi-purpose crampons with front points. Attached with straps all round or straps at the front (ideally with a French ring system) and clip-on heel.
C3
Articulated climbing or fully rigid technical crampon attached by full clip-on system of toe bar and heel clip.

Boots in the B3 category are ideal for C3 crampons and will also take C2 and C1. At the other end of the spectrum a Bl boot could only be recommended with a C1 crampon.