Snow travel gear dilema

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar
longri
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1017
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by longri » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:02 am

bobby49 wrote:If you are using real crampons, then you must have a real ice axe.
That's the standard dogma. But it isn't always true.








User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Addict
Posts: 3928
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:27 pm

I have carried crampons without an ice axe. On lower angle blue-ice glaciers, or low angle ice covered with running water, crampons are quite useful, simply to help you travel more quickly or keep your feet up out of the water. Granted, microspikes probably would also work fine, but if one already owns crampons, you may as well use them, unless you do enough of this to justify the extra expense of microspikes. By the way, crampons are not much good on ice unless you keep them sharp. I have also used my crampons and trekking poles to walk across slick logs over a raging streams! Again, microspikes could function in the same way.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I would think crampons could be more securely attached to your shoe or boot than microspikes. It all depends on what attachment system comes with your traction devices, be they crampons or microspikes. Since microspikes are mosty sold as a hiking aid, and crampons for more seriously steep slopes, most crampons probably have better attachment systems.

So it is not just the type of spike, but how solidly they are attched and how much flex your shoe/boot has. The non-flexible crampons are to be worn with stiff mountaineering boots. Even the flexible crampons get stressed on a highly flexible shoe. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that microspikes are stressed less whan used with flexible shoes.

Bottom line: take the appropriate gear for each situation and practice enough so using them becomes second nature.

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10278
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by maverick » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:50 pm

Bottom line: take the appropriate gear for each situation and practice enough so using them becomes second nature.
:thumbsup:

All the reading and watching youtube videos don't mean a thing, if you don't learn the proper techniques and practice them over and over again until they become automatic when you fall. Split second reactions are needed, before you get to speeds that you cannot recover from, and slam into a rock, splash into a lake, or go over a cliff.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
longri
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1017
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by longri » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:43 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:So it is not just the type of spike, but how solidly they are attched and how much flex your shoe/boot has. The non-flexible crampons are to be worn with stiff mountaineering boots. Even the flexible crampons get stressed on a highly flexible shoe. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that microspikes are stressed less whan used with flexible shoes.
That's my observation as well. The Kahtoolas I bought had sufficiently large points for what I expected to encounter but the attachment was via a band of rubber around the shoe. There was no way to cinch it down and it was obvious that it would simply roll off if there were enough sideways stress, like on a traverse across a steep slope.

In contrast my aluminum strap-on crampons attach far more securely to flexible footware like running shoes. I've climbed moderately steep slopes with them, even front pointing into short sections of ice. It's uncomfortable after a while to have flexible footware if it's steep because your foot muscles have to supply the rigidity. But otherwise it works.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Addict
Posts: 3928
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:57 pm

I think one reason my aluminum crampons broke along the cross-bar is that I use them on flexible shoes, that then puts too much stress on that bar. The crampons are designed to flex somewhat but perhaps not enough to use with trail runners without causing a lot of stress on the aluminum. I also have some very heavy Chinouard front-point crampons designed to be worn on a stiff mountaineering boot. They seem indestructable.

Seriously why has no company made a shoe like the old "hobnailed" boots? I have seriously thought of trying out golf shoes or soccar/baseball shoes with spikes. Problem is that these shoes are not made to be comfortable for long term backpacking. Just curious how they would do on snow and ice.

User avatar
mrphil
Topix Regular
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:04 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by mrphil » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:42 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: Seriously why has no company made a shoe like the old "hobnailed" boots? I have seriously thought of trying out golf shoes or soccar/baseball shoes with spikes. Problem is that these shoes are not made to be comfortable for long term backpacking. Just curious how they would do on snow and ice.
The Kahtoolas are a pretty good compromise...easily on and off when you do or don't need them, and while a little heavy, they make up for it in function, and stay on very well if sized right. Like really big hobnails, or really short crampon spikes, and they work on just about any slick surface, even ice. Try them out, and if you don't like them, return them. Most good outdoor gear stores are perfectly good with that.

You can also buy aluminum and steel replacement studs for sports shoes cheaply and attach them yourself, but that's a huge commitment to altering your footwear.

User avatar
longri
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1017
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by longri » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:55 am

I would suspect that hobnail or Tricouni nail boots would be an advantage in certain types of terrain. But I'm also sure they would be a significant disadvantage in other conditions.

I didn't know you could buy studs for shoes. A quick and dirty approach would be to buy some short wood or sheet metal screws and twist them right into your vibram soles.
Last edited by longri on Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
longri
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1017
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by longri » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:00 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:I think one reason my aluminum crampons broke along the cross-bar is that I use them on flexible shoes, that then puts too much stress on that bar. The crampons are designed to flex somewhat but perhaps not enough to use with trail runners without causing a lot of stress on the aluminum.
Maybe. Or perhaps they were previously stressed in some other way, like stepping on a rock. I've used my aluminum crampons on runners numerous times without any problems. Will they eventually break? Maybe. Crampons have weaknesses. Even the really burly ones usually have some potential point of failure.

User avatar
Satchel Buddah
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:23 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: Snow travel gear dilema

Post by Satchel Buddah » Tue May 29, 2018 8:16 am

I do like the micro spikes - they are very good on frozen snow and ice, with moderate slopes, and deliver great traction. I used them both with trail runners and winter boots. They are pretty compact and easy to pack, altho somewhat weighty. As the binding with the shoe is somewhat supple, they do not work as well on very steep terrain but still workable in a pinch. As you said earlier, they will ball up on sticky snow and you have to whack them every few steps in these conditions.
yak tracks in my own experience are not performing well... More of a fashion accessory for families promenading around the Grand Canyon in winter...

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests