Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop | High Sierra Topix  

Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop

Postby Bluewater » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:03 pm

Thanks again Tim. Much appreciated!



User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop

Postby kpeter » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:02 pm

Bluewater wrote: I have micro-spikes. Do you think it's 'worth getting some lightweight crampons or just bring the micro-spikes?

I have microspikes and lightweight crampons, but I don't bring both nor am I an expert.

My personal experience was that microspikes are most effective on very hard snow or ice that does not require kick stepping. They bite quite well into ice. I could walk up 35-40 degree fields under those circumstances quite easily. So walking over a few miles of snow on the trail over Muir Pass early in the morning was a cinch.

However, I think I would be reluctant to use them on even steeper angles simply because the elastic bands that hold them on can slip and slide around a little. I'd be worried that they might shift at a very high angle.

Also, as the snow softens the microspikes become worthless. They just don't bite deep enough into softer snow to make any difference. Crampons with toe spikes are obviously better for softer snow, and the toe spikes are much better for kicking toe steps when it is steep.

One advantage to the microspikes. I did not feel I had to take them off as often as my aluminum crampons. The light weight crampons really shouldn't be used on rock, and I found last summer a lot of alternating between snow and rock was necessary. While it is probably not great to wear the microspikes on too much rock, they are stainless steel instead of aluminum and will hold up somewhat better. They also are amazingly easy to put on and take off compared with the crampons.
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:27 am

Thanks for the comparison of microspikes vs crampons. I am seriously considering buying microspikes. The only issue I take is the angle of the snow. I think we all tend to over-estimate angles. When I am on a 70-degree technical climb, I swear it is vertical! I am always surprised when I actually take out ruler and calculate the slope angle from topo maps- they are always lower than I would suspect from "look" alone. 40-degree snow is REALLY steep! I somewhat doubt you could use microspikes on that. I would guess 30-degrees is more of the limit.

It is good to hear that microspikes work well on ice. I am doing a long trip in the Wind Rivers this summer and have to cross a few glaciers. I really hate to haul my heavy crampons for 12 days to do a few hours worth of travel. I am a bit confused because opinions of microspikes seem to vary from very useful to useless. Guess I will just have to try them out myself.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2606
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop

Postby kpeter » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:15 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Thanks for the comparison of microspikes vs crampons. 40-degree snow is REALLY steep! I somewhat doubt you could use microspikes on that. I would guess 30-degrees is more of the limit.

You are most likely right. My mental calculation was that it was definitely a bit less than a 1:1 slope ratio, which would have been 45%, but how much less it is hard to say.

One anecdote might illustrate. At one point I was a few hundred yards below Piute pass which was still filled with snow in late July. I got to a point where the horsepackers had begun (but not finished) to dig a trail through the snow. They had a 10 foot wide, fairly deep trench traversing the upper snow bank for a couple hundred feet at the top. For some reason, the cut did not end gradually but abruptly, and you had to climb straight up the snow bank to get from the trail below to the beginning of the cut above.

I reached this point very early in the morning when the snow was rock solid and glazed with solid ice from the melt of the day before. The bank was too steep and icy to make even a few feet with boots and poles alone. I put on my spikes and walked straight up to the cut as if it were a granite slab or chunk of concrete.
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Ionian - Evolution - Darwin Loop

Postby tim » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:42 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: It is good to hear that microspikes work well on ice.


I would say they work well on ice so long as you can keep your feet flat on the ground. For example they were great on my trip to Pear Lake in November when the Watchtower trail was a river of ice. I wouldn't have been so happy above about a 20-25 degree angle.
User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A

Previous

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 11 guests