Vintage "ECKENSTEIN" Climbing Crampons

SOLD - Vintage "ECKENSTEIN" Climbing Crampons

A pair of 10 point, Eckenstein model, wrought iron crampons named after their inventor Oscar Eckenstein (1859 -1921). They are in great condition (metal & leather!). Eckenstein was a passionate climber and innovator. He developed theses crampons in 1908 and two years later, with the help of Henry Grivel of Courmayeur on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc, they became commercially available.


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Eckenstein (1859-1921) was a railway engineer and mountaineer of some repute and a well educated English gentleman who climbed extensively at home and abroad. Various types of spikes, claws and rudimentary crampons had been around for centuries, but when Eckenstein took his ice claw drawings to Courmayeur blacksmith, Henry Grivel, in the early 1900's the result was the first real crampon designed specifically for the mountaineer, a basic design that continues to this day. Initially, with no front points(they came in 1929), they were an immediate success, and Oscar even organized a competition for 'cramponeurs' on the Brenva Glacier above Courmayeur in June 1912. Although crampons were embraced in many mountain circles it was to be a long time before Scotland accepted this new 'technology'. Not until the 1960's did the front pointers finally take over from the step cutters in their nailed boots.
As late as 1958 Godfrey Francis, writing in his book; 'Teach Yourself Mountain Climbing' suggests that;
"Crampons (ice claws) should be part of the equipment of every climber in the Alps from his first expedition, but they are not needed in Britain"
Henry Grivel's heirs went on to expand the humble blacksmith's shop into one of the world's leading mountaineering suppliers and we are fairly sure that they made these crampons somewhere along the way. As Oscar Eckenstein died in 1921 we can only surmise that there was some kind of patent or deal that kept his name on the crampons as they were most likely made after his death.


Data sheet

Circa 1940's
Italy (?)
Complete and very clean
No size markings but most likely size 44
Metal, Leather