As you can see from the post on winter hiking, the snowshoes were only of very limited use this season. It had snowed a lot several weeks ago. Since then, it has been getting warmer and warmer and some of the snow had already melted away or thawed and refrozen. This meant that we often had to deal with slabs of ice on the trail, sometimes even with packed snow.

In a situation like this, grödel are a good choice. Grödel are a form of lightweight crampon that can be attached to almost any hiking boot with a strong rubber construct. We then have a mixture of chains and spikes under the sole and rubber all around the boot. They are easy to attach and remove. In ice and snow which isn’t too deep, they provide a secure grip with relatively little weight.

During our winter hiking week we had some very practical experiences with the Grödel, which I am happy to pass on to you:

Not all shoes are suitable for Grödel. The winter hiking boots should (naturally) go over the ankle and have no suede or thin fabric above the sole. Otherwise the rubber will damage the shoe.

Grödel have size specifications (e.g. size 39 – 41). If you are already in the upper range with your shoe (e.g. 40.5), then a larger size will probably fit better. This is because many winter shoes are wider than usual, which means that the plates, chains and “teeth” no longer fit perfectly.

Beware of “light” models! For two participants who had the light models from one manufacturer, the rubbers tore after the first or second day – luckily there was a sports store in the next town, so we were able to get replacements. It is annoying and safety-relevant in any case!

Many grödel have clips at the front (and possibly also at the back) which connect the chains at the toes and possibly also at the heel. These are weak points. These clasps bend open easily and the ends of the clasps tend to get caught in the rest of the chain construction when tightening… I recommend always having a pair of pliers with you. Then you can “bend” the ends of the clasps correctly again if necessary.

15 mm “teeth” are ideal for winter hiking in the Alps. Shorter teeth can be used for everyday use or in the low mountain ranges, also for trail running.

Otherwise, have fun trying them out! Grödel significantly increase safety in winter and are a great addition to snowshoes with relatively little weight!

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