The Petzl Leopard FL is an aluminum crampon featuring…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $127.46
The Petzl Leopard FL is an aluminum crampon featuring a Dyneema cord adjustment system. The crampon is so light you won't hate yourself for carrying them when you didn't need them. They are so easy to use and so effective you'll be glad you have them when you do need them.
- Ease of use
- Limited size range
- Possible wear on dyneema cord
- Aluminum subject to wear/breakage
All aluminum construction optimized for snow travel
Ten points (with dual front points) assure traction on icy terrain
Very lightweight 360 gm/12 ounces for pair
CORD-TECH optimizes volume when packed in their included bag
Tool free adjustment assures secure fit
Binding system suitable for use with hiking and approach shoes, without heel or toe welts
Boot sizes 36-46 EU/6-12 US
The holes on the front piece allow for length adjustment of front points.
The holes on the back piece are not used in the FL model of the Leopard.
Use the notches on the rear part to adjust cord to correct length and tension.
The double back strap buckle must be positioned on the outside of the foot.
It is essential to test crampons on footwear on which they will be used to ensure compatibility!
I've worn these crampons primarily with my La Sportiva Trango Cube boots and that has proven to be an excellent combination. I've also used them with Salewa Snow Trainer (a winter version of the Salewa Mountain Trainer) and they work very well with this boot also. I tried them with a Salewa Firetail approach shoe and I did not like having the strap wrapped around my ankle. I do not recommend these with low top shoes.
I found adjustment to be quite simple. I put the toe of my boot in the front bail with the crampon extended to its maximum length. I then push the back piece forward to the proper length and then set the cord in the appropriate notches on the bottom of the crampon. It's important to note that the cord must be set in the same notch on each side. You may have to repeat the process a time or two to get the proper tension on the cord.
There are two ways to attach the crampon to your boot. I begin with the buckle end on the inside of my boot and it will end up on the outside. First lead the long end of the strap through the toe piece. Second, bring it back to the heel piece. Third, bring it forward to the buckle and tighten it down. The buckle end of the strap will now be on the outside of your boot. This is the quick and easy method and is pretty much the standard that all flex lock crampons use.
The second method is to route the strap under the cord on each side of the crampon to add an extra bit of tension to the adjusting cord. It takes a few more seconds to do but, in my opinion, it adds a little extra security. I lay mine out with the adjustment straps all pre routed and it takes 30 seconds or less to don each crampon.
Here's a series of four pictures to show the two different mounting systems from a side and bottom perspective. As I said, my preferred choice is the second method.
Here's a picture of the back piece mounted to a Trango Cube boot. The holes serve no purpose for the flexible lock application. They are used to adjust the lever lock model.
Here's a picture of the toe mounting. The front points can be extended by moving the bail to to the rear hole.
Petzl, long a leader in mountaineering equipment, has come up with a better mousetrap!
The instruction "manual" provided by Petzl is the European standard set of instructions in 18 different languages with a universal set of pictures common to all the languages. I briefly perused them and set about adjusting them. The flexible nature of the cord is a bit off putting at first blush but it quickly becomes second nature. I found the adjustment to be very easy and self explanatory. A little bit of experimentation and you'll have it down pat.
Donning them on snow the first time was a little bit awkward, again because of the flexible nature. Now I "pre thread" the fastening straps and then step in and snug 'em up. Usually takes no longer than thirty seconds or so. You're a better man than me if you can thread the strap through the buckle with gloves on.
I tested them at a local ski area before going live. My first real use was a springtime traverse of the Upper Enchantment lakes to include a climb up Aasgard Pass which is fairly steep. There are several fairly steep traverses to be negotiated and I had no problems.
I have a lot of confidence in these crampons. I primarily use them for their designed purpose—crossing snow fields and snow travel. I have, however, climbed several glaciers and a couple of glaciated peaks using these and felt quite comfortable.
How about wear and tear? Although the bodies are aluminum they show absolutely no wear after about a 100 miles of snow/ice travel. Since aluminum points are not as strong as steel they can break or wear more quickly on rock or dirt I've never worn these except on snow but my guess is a little bit of rock travel would wear them out quickly. When I encounter those conditions I take them off.
A main concern of mine was wear and tear of the dyneema adjusting cord. As I said, I've used them for about a hundred miles or so on snow/ice and the cord shows absolutely no wear—it isn't even fuzzy in the major wear points. Petzl does sell replacement cords just in case.
For you gram weenies, these weigh in at 386 grams/13.7 ounces a little heavier than the advertised 360 grams/12 ounces. As a point of interest, they weigh exactly the same as Kahtoola Microspikes.
Aasgard Pass on the left, Dragontail Peak in the middle, and Colchuck Glacier on the right. I climbed all three in these Petzl Leopard FL crampons.
I highly recommend these crampons for their intended use and possibly beyond. Activities involving the use of this equipment is inherently dangerous. You are responsible for your own actions, decisions, and safety.