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Petzl Vasek Crampon Review
Petzl Vasek Crampon
The Petzl Vasak Leverlock Crampons feature a classic 12-point design and are intended to be an ideal choice for general mountaineering and glacier travel.
Price; $160 CAD
Intended Use: General Mountaineering
Attachment system: Hybrid
Front points: Fixed
Material: Chromoly steel
Boot sizes: 36-46
Antibott included: Yes
I've been using the Petzl Vasek crampons for several months now and have tested them quite rigorously over a variety of conditions. For years people have used hybrid crampons solely for walking and alpine climbing but they've slowly gained popularity and their ease of use has made the industry standard amongst generalists. Petzl states that they are a good choice for general mountaineering and glacier travel so I decided to test them on dry and wet glaciers, overhead waterfall climbs and prolonged alpine routes over a mixed terrain.
Out of the box, the Vasek looks like a capable crampon. It's classic C2 12-point design appears ideal for general mountaineering and easy glacial walking. The bright orange and black finish appears almost menacing; a trait I desire. They were easily adjustable with minimal effort and in the comfort of my living room the full strap Flexlock strapped securely to my boot. The Flexlock features a front strap over the toe and a heel level. For the best fit they require a stiffer B2 or B3 boot and a groove or heel welt in which to hold the heel lever. The toe does not requires a welt and this is advantageous over step in bindings as you are not required to kick the snow and ice free from your boot before a secure fit can be assured. They were easy and easy to put on while wearing gloves as you simple pull on the toe strap and snap up the heel lever.
The Vaseks fit perfectly to my Scarpa Triolet Pro GTX. They felt secure and enabled me to be as nimble as is possible whilst donning a crampon over a variety of terrain.
Scarpa Inverno Double Plastic Boots served as my testing boot on a waterproof double. While not a fan of plastics, they provided a firm attachment site and required no adjustments through my summit attempt.
To gauge fit with an overboot I utilized the Forty Below K2 Superlight Overboot over my Scarpa Triolet Pro GTX. The crampons required little to no adjustments and the leverlock clamped securely over the neoprene cover and they remained fixed through the duration of my climb. I've heard some people attempting to attach the crampon to a mid-weight hiking boot without a heel ridge in a pinch but I cannot attest to the practicality of this. In summary, the Vaseks appear to be quite versatile and reliable in their fitting.
I had the opportunity to test the Vaseks on the wet glacier of Mount Rainier and the dry glacier of Pico de Orizaba, both of which featured extended approaches. There were no complaints about long winter walks. While they weren't the lightest, the weight was certainly manageable for the protection they offered. The anti-balling plates served their purpose as I never had to kick accumulated snow from between the points.
Both ascending and descending were done with relative ease. I was particularly impress with the second pair of front facing points. After an initial kick into hard snow, leaning back slightly ensured a stable position. Upon descent the heels kicked steps easily. In general they were very easy to walk in.
Ice and Technical Climbing
The Vasek is certainly intended as a general mountaineering crampon and not for technical ice climbing but I tried them on hard, blue, frozen waterfall ice of the Montreal River area of Northern Ontario. Immediately it was apparent that the slight downward angle of the front point was not as simple to kick in as an ice climbing specific crampon with horizontal points would be but with thoughtful placement, they sufficed. They worked well on prolonged periods of alpine climbing with mixed terrain but did fall short after extended overhead ice. I will continue to bring these along for ice climbing as a back up pair or as an extra to outfit friends.
Intended primarily for walking, the Petzl Charlet Vasek more than sufficed. With these on my feet I was confident that I could get up most alpine obstacles and they appeared to be tough enough to withstand multiple seasons of abuse. The weight was tolerable and while I've heard others state they would go lighter for high altitude climbs, I wouldn't feel the need.
They did not features replaceable front points so if you're hard on your equipment you will have to purchase an entire new set. This is not terrible though as they are relatively inexpensive for the quality provided.
A C2 crampon is most likely the style that most general mountaineers would benefit the most from and the Vasek fits the bill nicely as it covers most conditions adequately. It is a great all-round beginner performer. Once you have outgrown a generalist of this nature you will certainly know which criteria you require in a specialist crampon. I would recommend this product to friends and climbing partners.
Petzl Vasek Crampon Rating
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The purpose of my reviews is to offer the reading audience an objective opinion, so they can make an informed decision before buying.
All my reviews, opinions, and everything expressed here are my own and based on my experience with a product. I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned on my blog nor do I endorse them and they do not endorse me. I am not paid for my reviews. Occasionally, I am provided free products for review, in which case I will make that abundantly clear. Anything discussed on this site is expressed as my own opinion and I reserve the right to my own opinion when discussing my experiences, products, or anything else.
Mountaineering is inherently dangerous. Any information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for advice by a trained professional. Please ensure you're climbing within your skill level and receive appropriate training before embarking on any potentially dangerous activities.