I have been organising mountain tours for years - and one thing never ceases to amaze me:

Participants are talked into all kinds of useless stuff in the sports shops - but the important things are missing.

One such equipment detail - which in my opinion is essential - is "Grödeln", which is the subject of this short article.

simply hiking or falling/sliping all the time?

If you are on the road in the mountains all year round, then you rarely have dry conditions.

Ice, wet grass and wet tree roots reduce your grip and can make your hiking a torture.

And if you have been advised about the wrong shoe sole in a sports shop - which in my experience is more normal than an exception - then you have problems on wet stones and often slip out. Even dry ground can be very slippery from a certain steepness or on loose ground or long grass.

So you need something that increases your grip on slippery surfaces - e.g. metal prongs (so-called "Grödeln"). If you also want to bridge over stone for a short time, the teeth must of course not be too big/long.

Grödeln: Snowline Chainsen Pro Größe M = rot an einem Steilhang
Grödeln: Snowline Chainsen Pro Size M = red on a steep slope

Grödeln, crampons, spikes?

In the area of climbing equipment there are various products such as Grödeln, crampons and spikes.

Spikes are usually small metal noses that are applied to a continuous rubber base. I advise against this, because they cover the profile of the shoe completely and the small spikes offer only little hold and the grip for lack of profile rather worsen. Participants with these spikes had more problems with it than without.

Real crampons are used e.g. on glaciers and mountaineering tours and reach deeper into the ground, for the tours meant here is the overkill, in addition you need quite firm footwear or even special places of attachment.

Grödeln are such a middle thing, the spikes are shorter, you can also walk over a road, but not climb a glacier.

The Grödeln recommended by me are a chain system with stainless steel teeth, they can be attached to any shoe thanks to a durable "rubber".

Snowline Chainsen Pro on 2 different mountain boots
Snowline Chainsen Pro on 2 different mountain boots

Grödeln - the best choice for Munich's local mountains

We do not encounter any glaciers on day trips in Munich's local mountains and also a little deeper in the Alps. On higher peaks around 2000m there is snow until June. So we almost always encounter wetness, except in midsummer. So there is no need for crampons, Grödeln are in my eyes the first choice here - confirming this also my fellow travellers.

  • Grödeln increase your grip on ice, wet and dry grass, roots etc drastically.
  • Grödeln can be stowed away to save space
  • They have a low weight
  • the teeth are not as pointed and long as with crampons, you can keep them on for short stony passages
  • quickly attachable and detachable
  • easy to clean
  • inexpensive

Which Grödeln should you buy?

My favourite model and therefore a recommendation to buy Grödeln are the "Snowline Chainsen Pro", which 90% of my fellow travellers own. Purchased in 2014 from Sport Schuster in Munich, they have since been in service on over 130 tours without signs of wear and tear. In contrast to other products, there have been no failures with my companions, as confirmed by the very good reviews on Amazon.

Snowline Chainsen Pro Größe M = rot
Snowline Chainsen Pro Size M = red

Tips and tricks for Grödeln:

  • Dirty Grödeln: Soak dirt in water, done. The "Snowline Chainsen Pro" does not rust.
  • On tours with snow: Take off the Grödeln after some running in the snow, they are then mostly clean.
  • Sensitive surfaces, such as nubuck leather, may suffer from the rubber due to friction.
  • Size: In case of doubt, buy one size smaller, otherwise they will sit too loosely.
Snowline Chainsen Pro XL = black - here almost too big for this boot
Snowline Chainsen Pro XL = black - here almost too big for this boot
  • Do not toboggan with Grödeln, the grip is too strong and you can twist your foot or hurt other people.
    For bobsledding you can get brake soles, for example brake soles Multi-Sole, which I use also
  • No gaiters and out and about in the deep snow?
    Just clamp your trousers in the back of the Grödeln, this prevents them from slipping up if the manufacturer of your trousers has not attached a hook for the lacing.
Ortovox trousers jammed in the Grödeln (better buy something else) to prevent slipping up in the snow
Trousers jammed in the Grödeln to prevent slipping up in the snow

Translated with: https://www.deepl.com/translator