Review: Petzl D-Lynx bolt-on crampon

Cover image: No, I haven’t shrunk, or grown a ponytail — Laura Chmielewski kicking Caveman’s ass (D10-). 

Fruit boots are a pretty specialized bit of kit, and as a result require specialized crampons as well — you can’t just strap on any random pair.

The D-Lynx is the bolt-on version of Petzl’s Lynx, though of course suitably modified for the demands of mixed climbing and dry-tooling. Realistically, other than the interchangeable front-points and similar name, the two don’t actually have that much in common.

The front-point is adjustable in length (like on the regular Lynx) so you can set them up short for drytooling or long for climbs with ice, or use the length adjustment to properly orient the front-point relative to the front of your boot. On Scarpa Rebel Ice, which are designed for four-bolt-pattern crampons, the secondary points are set back a bit too far for proper ice engagement, however this doesn’t seem to matter as the D-Lynx front point bites and holds into ice just fine on its own. On the Asolo Comp XT Petzl, which are designed with these crampons in mind, the secondary points are set a bit further forward, and as a result are more usable on ice.

The pre-drilled mounting holes on the Rebel Ice are not ideal for the D-Lynx, but work well enough, though the front point has to be extended to make it more usable (Krukonogi front point shown).

The tertiary points are aggressively angled for hooking and pulling, and the steel is thick and strong enough that I haven’t managed to bend them even the slightest in over three years of climbing. In a profound display of understanding product use, the inside tertiary point is slightly larger and angled out a bit more for better purchase — whoever at Petzl designed these knows what they’re doing!

I really appreciate the one-piece design of the front section, which doesn’t rely on bolts to keep it together. Unlike some other crampons I’ve used, the D-Lynx has never come loose or needed retightening: this is very confidence-inspiring when hanging out on a roof somewhere and pulling with a lot of force at odd angles. 

There’s also a little down-facing point at the end of the front section, presumably for more secure purchase on ice, but in all honesty I’ve found it more annoying than useful. It’s unstable on rock, and I can’t recall the last time I’ve used it on ice. I’ve spoken with a few other climbers who also feel this last point superfluous — one of these days it’s coming off, but it’s also not quite annoying enough to get me to do it right away.

The D-Lynx also comes with a heel section, which I didn’t even bother mounting on the Scarpa Rebel Ice and immediately removed from the Asolo Comp XT. I find being able to use the rubber heel section for heel hooking, like a rock shoe, far more versatile and useful than the down-facing rear points. Additionally, modern competition rules forbid anything on the heel of a fruit boot, so even having that section mounted could result in disqualification. I’m sure this adds to the overall cost of the crampon, and would like to see this dropped, or at least have the option of buying it separately (those who use fruit boots as more of a ‘cragging’ set-up often mount the heel piece as it adds a lot of extra stability when on the ground).

As you can see from all the pristine paint, the heel section gets a lot of use…

Unique to the D-Lynx is the three-bolt triangular bolt pattern (BD Raptor crampons are four-bolt pattern, as are all the various Krukonogi models, and same with the Grivel back when Grivel still made comp crampons). The front section of the D-Lynx is the same 100-mm wide spacing, however the third bolt is way off in the middle. As far as I know, only the Asolo and Zamberlan fruit boots utilize this three-bolt pattern.

The solution, however, is simple — just drill an extra hole in the sole — and because the D-Lynx comes with a pattern guide and all the necessary bolts, installation is quick and easy. But, it does require a bit more tinkering than other designs. I have also seen lighter climbers opt out of even using the third bolt and just rely on the front two bolts for secure mounting (though this is more prone to loosening up over time).

D-Lynx mounting on size EU 43 Scarpa Rebel Ice, utilizing the two rearward pre-drilled mounting holes, with the third, middle point, drilled through the carbon sole. Note how the inner tertiary point angles out for easier hooking and pulling (top side).

Performance-wise, I think the D-Lynx is faultless. The front point, given that it’s the same design as the regular Lynx, sticks well to rock, and bites into ice better than other fruit-boot crampons I’ve used, though it is a bit too thick for proper placement in plywood (this applies to World Cup-level comps only, however). The tertiary points are phenomenal for hooking and pulling, and bite into ice and hang onto rock exceptionally. They’re tough, too, and the whole thing is quite light for how robust it is.

Though for a couple years I had a second pair of fruit boots and crampons, dedicated to competition use with a finer front point for better plywood penetration, I’m now back to a single pair of fruit boots — the Asolo Comp XT — and happily the D-Lynx came pre-installed. For almost four years now the D-Lynx have been my go-to for drytooling, mixed cragging and competitions with completely trouble-free performance. I love the solid design and superb design. Now if only Petzl would make this same crampon but in a boot-friendly version… time to update the Dart, perhaps?

Pros: great design, adjustable front points, tough, one-piece construction
Cons: triple-bolt mounting not found on the most common fruit boot model, somewhat useless ‘middle’ point
Overall: The Petzl D-Lynx is the best bolt-on crampon I’ve used. It performs very well, and the one-piece design is tough and confidence inspiring when you’re pushing your limits.

In action at The Temple on Supernatural, D11 or so at this point of the climb.
%d bloggers like this: