Objects Database

Eckenstein Crampons

Accession Number


Object Name

Eckenstein Crampons




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Pair of Eckenstein crampons with 10 points and canvas tapes




29(l) x 12(w) cms

Number Of Objects

1 pair

Inscription Description



brown, cream



Object Production Place



Oscar Eckenstein was born in 1859 of a German father and an English mother. He was to become a prominent, if somewhat controversial figure in the world of mountaineering, at home
in the UK and abroad. He was a long term antagonist of the revered Alpine Club in London and he imfamously befriended the equally controversial Alistair Crowley, who, whilst also being a very able mountaineer, was better known for dabbling in black magic or the occult.
While history has been rather unkind to Eckenstein, his mountaineering skills are often praised, even by his social enemies and few can doubt his innovative skills, evidence of which we have here in the collection.
Mountain folk had been wearing spiky things on their feet for centuries when walking on ice, but it is Eckensstein who is widely credited with being the inventor of the modern mountaineering crampon. He took some drawings along to Italian blacksmith, Henry Grivel, in the early 1900's to see what he could do. The result was the Eckenstein crampon which appeared in 1908 and became commercially available in 1910. The first ones were allegedly made from railway lines which had been melted down and re-forged.
A lady called Nilda Ginn kindly donated this lovely pair of crampons which had belonged to her father, Ulvi Denkel.
She wrote
" The story about my father's mountaineering career is interesting. He went to Switzerland to study chemistry at the University of Geneva in 1940-41 on a Turkish government grant (He is Turkish, as I am). He discovered and fell in love with mountain climbing and spent a lot of time doing it, which is when he acquired the crampons although I don't know if they were new or secondhand. He also fell in love with my mother and proposed to her on the Aletsch Glacier. I'd like to think the crampons witnessed this but I don't know. My mother was less keen on mountaineering so my father gradually did less of it in favour of skiing. He did however do some more when he returned to Turkey after his degree, presumably putting the crampons to further use."

Acquisition Method

Donated by Nilda Ginn

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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