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Microspikes - If you've used them, what are your thoughts?

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Microspikes - If you've used them, what are your thoughts?

Postby Jimr » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:06 am

After seeing a couple of posts mentioning microspikes, I thought they may be something to consider. If you've used them, what are the pros and cons from your experience? I'm thinking they would be handy for crossing those mid-season snow fields that are doable with good boots/trekking pole, but could use a little extra grip and reduce the trail breaking stomp and step a bit.
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Re: Microspikes - If you've used them, what are your thoughts?

Postby Jimr » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:29 am

Hi Jim,
Well, I haven't used them, but I'm considering picking up a pair depending on how the snow levels pan out through early summer. Maybe I'll head over to REI today and get a first hand look at them. I'm a bit concerned about getting over Old Army Pass this August and, short of an ice axe, a little extra gripping power may be the difference between getting over the pass or heading around to NAP. For $60 bucks, I'm not sure whether my money is better spent on microspikes or an ice axe.
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Re: Microspikes - If you've used them, what are your thoughts?

Postby quentinc » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:03 pm

I hate them. They're OK as a substitute for crampons on a relatively easy slope. But if the snow is real hard, they probably won't work, and if the snow is soft you'd be better off just tying on ankle weights. I was hiking across what I'd call crunchy snow with them, and wondering why I was so slow and exhausted. I took them off and felt like I could fly! They sink in with each step, and they also accumulate snow around the straps (at least with the shoes I was wearing). I'd rather slip-slide a little bit.

Jimr: As far as I know, OAP can stay icy near the top, where the trail is cut into an insanely steep slope, well into July (possibly August this year). It's way worse than NAP. I would NOT TRUST Microspikes to get you across there.
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Edited to add:

Well, based on Norcalhiker's link under "current conditions," it appears that the PCT thru-hikers are using them to cross Forester Pass, so what do I know? Frankly, after watching that video I think I'm more in need of a defibrillator.
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Re: Microspikes - If you've used them, what are your thoughts?

Postby Jimr » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:28 am

Thanks for your experience quentinc. It was your Miter basin TR that got me thinking about them. BTW, thanks for your TR and update. I'm glad to see that area is melting out so fast, so far. Perhaps rather than concentrating on tools to help me over OAP I should just let it be what it will be, OAP or NAP, either one will get me to where I want to go.
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