Do-It-Yourself Crampons

Written by julia magnusson
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Do-It-Yourself Crampons
Use crampons to improve your traction in winter. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Winter often brings with it icy, slippery footing. Falls can be painful if not downright dangerous. Stay upright and on your feet by using traction devices known as crampons -- sharp points on the bottom of your shoes that help grip the ice. Crampons are usually worn in ice climbing or mountaineering. With a few items found in your home or in a hardware store, you can make your own crampons, either designating a pair of boots to host your DIY crampons all winter long or else using rope to devise a quick, temporary solution.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 20 to 30 hexagonal-head sheet-metal screws, 3/8-inch
  • 10 to 14 hexagonal-head sheet-metal screws, 1/4-inch
  • Hex-head driver (for electric or battery-powered screwdriver)
  • Sturdy boots (optional: sturdy shoes)
  • OR
  • Nylon rope (1/2-inch to 3/4-inch diameter, six feet total)

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    Screw-head Shoes

  1. 1

    With your boot soles facing up, use the hex driver to drive 3/8-inch screws into the thickest parts of the tread, leaving the screw heads protruding to provide traction. Use approximately 15 screws per boot. The exact number will depend on the tread on the sole of your boot. Be sure to put a screw into each of the highest parts of the tread.

  2. 2

    Drive five to seven of the 1/4-inch screws into the thinner tread near the front of the boot. The exact number depends on the structure of the tread. The screw heads will protrude from the sole to provide traction.

  3. 3

    Put the boots on. Stand on a hard surface and bounce or rock lightly. If you can feel any of the screws, relocate the screw or replace with a shorter screw.

    Rope Crampons

  1. 1

    Cut the rope in half so you have two three-foot sections.

  2. 2

    Put your boots or shoes on your feet. While sitting in a chair, leaning forward, place the midpoint of one section of rope on top of your left forefoot and cross the rope under your forefoot.

  3. 3

    Bring the rope around to the top of your foot. Cross the rope over your foot so it wraps under your heel.

  4. 4

    Cross the rope under your heel. Tie the ends around your ankles.

  5. 5

    Repeat with right foot.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not wear the screw shoes on hardwood or tile floors. You might damage the floor or slip and fall.
  • It is dangerous to climb rock or ice with homemade crampons. Use proper equipment made specifically for the climb.

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