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Hiking in Winter – Grödel as a useful gear

by Kristina

As beautiful as hikes through snow-covered, glittering mountain landscapes are, they are often much more difficult to accomplish because the ground is often slippery or even icy and you quickly lose your footing. Grödel are used here and are therefore part of the basic equipment on winter hikes in addition to proper waterproof shoes.

What are Grödel?

Grödel (also Grödl or Grödeln) are like snow chains for your hiking boots. They are a real game-changer for anyone who also goes hiking in winter. Almost like crampons, grödel work their way into the ground with their pronounced spikes, giving you a firm grip on ice, snow and whatever winter throws at you.⁠ What the spikes* for icy city streets, the grödel are for hiking – just with a little more bite.

How do spikes and grödel work?

They are simply pulled over the shoes, take up little space and are ultra-light. With their steel spikes, they bite into snow and ice – and give you a secure stance. Spikes are a little more light-footed here, but they are only suitable for paved paths and roads.

Grödel with steel points may be a bit heavier, but they are more durable because they don’t dull as quickly and also forgive a detour on rock. Due to the significantly longer teeth, you can also find a hold on uneven ground.

Wen do you need grödel?

We always have our grödel with us in winter. Especially when we carry the little ones around in the baby carrier, the grödel come in handy. Longer icy paths, which are otherwise rather shaky and trembling, lose their terror – just put your Grödel on, stomp over it as if nothing had happened, stow the Grödel away again.

When to use Grödel & co

Grödel work very well in combination with hiking boots in crusted and rocky terrain with little snow and especially in icy conditions. They act as “snow chains” for your hiking boots and give you support. However, they cannot prevent sinking into deep snow.

They also work great as a snowshoe replacement if you are not off the beaten path in deep snow :)⁠

Limits of Grödel and Spikes

For hiking on icy paths, there is nothing better than Grödel or spikes. Nevertheless, you should take off your mules when you no longer need them, because the spikes become blunt on stony ground and you lose your sure-footedness. Even if you are walking on soft forest soil, you should not use the toads, because the long spikes dig deep into the soft ground and can damage the soil permanently and promote erosion.

Caution: Grödel and spikes are NOT a substitute for real crampons and are therefore not suitable for high alpine tours or ice climbing – even if some manufacturers claim differently.

Grödel for Kids

If the kids are sure-footed and hike longer distances themselves, it is worth buying a Grödel children’s model, because even for the little ones, walking on slippery surfaces will eventually be too strenuous. For the even smaller ones, spikes for children could be a sufficient substitute.

Cleaning & Storage

Grödel are relatively easy to care for: Roughly clean the dirt after the tour and let it dry, that’s all they need. Grödel made of stainless steel are a bit easier to care for than those made of hardened steel because they don’t rust. On the other hand, those made of hardened steel offer even more bite.

You can buy Grödel in any local sports shop or on the Internet.

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