You asked for it; an overview of how deeply the standard Fritschi crampon penetrates under your ski, dependent on heel lift height. Binding shown below is on a demo board that’s slightly thicker than some skis, but you get the overall idea.
|Fritschi standard model crampon penetration at various heel lift heights.|
With heel height set to flat-on-ski mode, penetration is of course very good. Go to the next step up and it’s okay as well. But got to the top two heel lift heights and you’ll get minimal to no grip from your crampons. In our opinion, the crampon should be longer so it grips better with higher heel lifts — but it still works if you’re aware of its limits and use it with lower heel lift.
Yet using the Fritschi medium lift height is very common, and the high lift gets used quite a bit as well, so that’s the problem. Downside of a longer (taller) crampon solution is such can stilt you up and trip you when on hard snow or ice.
As always, we’re led to the conclusion that the best ski crampon is one of moderate height that’s fixed to the ski and does not move up and down. To that end, the Voile or B&D crampons can be easily fitted to skis with Fritschi Freeride binding. (Know that Fritschi also makes a crampon called the Axion, which is available in a taller height for use with higher heel lifts, and folds up out of the way when not in use. Sadly, Axion is only available for skis up to 82 mm at the waist, thus obviating its use for most of our’s and many other folk’s ski touring quivers.)
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.