Front pointing

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Front pointing on a steep ice slope

Front pointing is a fundamental technique in mountaineering and ice climbing which is used to ascend moderate to steep ice slopes. Also referred to as the German technique,[1] it is accomplished through the use of crampons with two front-slanting points or spikes, which allow traction to be concentrated at the toe of the climber's boots. Climbers generally pick up this technique rather easily as it feels natural and secure but have a tendency to overuse it on moderately angled slopes where an alternate technique called flat-footing (French technique) would be less tiring and just as secure.[1]

Due to the added stress and tiring effect on the calf muscles, climbers who regularly use this technique wear rigid crampons, or stiff/plastic mountaineering boots, versus the hinged variety used for more general mountaineering on steep snow slopes or glaciers.


  1. ^ a b Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (5th ed.). The Mountaineers. 1992. pp. 353–354.