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Don H
12-25-2012, 09:42
Does anyone have a recommendation for type or brand of spikes for hiking in winter/icy conditions?

10-K
12-25-2012, 09:46
Not Yaktrax....

I have a pair of these but last winter was so mild I haven't got to try them out yet: http://www.kahtoola.com/microspikes.php

Another Kevin
12-25-2012, 13:58
I second the "not Yaktrax" recommendation. My brother uses them because his company provides them for outside work. He breaks at least two pair every winter.

On the trail in the winter, if I'm not in snowshoes or 12-point crampons, I live in Kahtoola Microspikes. Some of my buds swear by Stabilicers, but I tried a pair, and they lose studs too easily. It's equally easy to replace the studs, but the upshot was that my buds swore by them and I swore at them.

They want to be tight to your boots. If you're close to a size boundary, get the smaller size. Go one size up if you use plastic mountaineering boots with liners, or if you wear GI mickey mouse boots.

Another trick that some hikers do is to take an old pair of lug-soled boots and drive #6 hex-head sheet metal screws into the lugs. Think studded tires instead of chains. It's lighter than carrying a pair of spikes, which weigh nearly a pound. I don't think I'd feel secure on that arrangement, though.

Driver8
12-25-2012, 14:04
I like the Kahtoolas, but for really hard ice on a moderate slope, or ice on super-steep grades, I'm convinced from a recent hike of Mt. Flume that full crampons definitely have their place for more severe winter climbs.

Don H
12-25-2012, 14:34
I'm looking at hiking on rocky trail with ice. So microspikes?

LIhikers
12-25-2012, 14:37
I've been using Stabilicers with good success for a number of years.
Forget the sport version, the keep coming off. Instead, get the ones with the velcro straps (http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___33020#).

kayak karl
12-25-2012, 15:03
i use these (http://icespike.net/).

T.S.Kobzol
12-25-2012, 15:47
Yes. If the ice is too hard or too steep without sections of some reaction then necropsies will be inadequate and full crampons or help of an ice axe is necessary.




I like the Kahtoolas, but for really hard ice on a moderate slope, or ice on super-steep grades, I'm convinced from a recent hike of Mt. Flume that full crampons definitely have their place for more severe winter climbs.



Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2

Driver8
12-25-2012, 15:49
I'm looking at hiking on rocky trail with ice. So microspikes?

Depends on how steep, how hard the ice is and how much you weigh. I'm big, so hard ice on a steep slope in the Whites, for instance, calls for crampons sooner for me than for others. The rubber frame of the microspikes - as for other brands of light traction - is only so strong, whereas crampons are much sturdier. They also have much longer, sharper spikes and are better designed to grab on steep climbs.

I'd bet, if you're hiking somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic area, you will probably be ok with light traction until it becomes snowshoe conditions.

Marta
12-25-2012, 18:31
Another vote for Katoolahs for southeastern winter hiking. For a mixture of rocks, snow, and some glare ice, they are great. Saves hours of picking ones way along.

if, for some reason, you end up with a pair of YakTrax, they can be made a lot more serviceable by tying them across the top of your feet with strong cord, like Spectra. That keeps them from popping off every half mile or so.

Different Socks
12-25-2012, 23:41
What is a good thing to choose if you are encountering trail that goes from ice to bare ground to rocky to ice to rocky to bare ground to ice again?
I mean it seems like I'd like to be safe but wouldn't the spikes, crampons or whatever get dull quickly if you're constantly transitioning from ice/snow to rock to bare ground and back again?

kayak karl
12-26-2012, 00:20
that's why i like these (http://icespike.net/). been using them for hiking, walking dog and work for 3 years now.

FatHead64
12-26-2012, 09:58
I use just my boots until it gets cold/deep enough and then I love my Hillsound 6 point crampons. And the strap under the arch that helps prevent ice ball build-up has to be one of the best ideas ever. It doesn't get slicker than a sand/snow mix on a steep dune, but I can just power along with them on.

Marta
12-26-2012, 11:54
i use these (http://icespike.net/).

Those are exactly what I've been looking for for my running shoes. I'll be ordering some shortly.

bamboo bob
12-26-2012, 12:13
Kahtoola microspikes for sure. Used on PCT and they worked great. Yaltrax are strictly for shoveling the driveway. They break when you hike on them.

joshuasdad
12-26-2012, 13:13
Carried the Kahtoolas yesterday, but did not wear them on partially snowy (but not icy) rocks. Probably should have though...had one painful slip...

Wore them a lot last winter. Great for crossing ice covered rocks, bog bridges, etc. They are a pain if trail is not snow covered, as they prolifically collect leaves, which must be cleared often.

Another Kevin
12-26-2012, 16:11
Yeah, microspikes collect leaves. At least they go on your boots and come off again without much trouble. I can put them on without sitting down if I have something better than my poles to lean against. A tree will do.

I've found that they also considerably improve traction on the half-frozen mud that seems to be everywhere on warmer winter days.

They don't start out really sharp. Walking on rock with intermittent ice cover doesn't seem to hurt them any.

If you're a shuffler and rock-kicker like me, expect to kill your quads the first time you use them. (And expect to be tottering about like a newborn giraffe until your reflexes get used to that much grip to your soles.) It gets better.

QiWiz
12-28-2012, 15:06
Not Yaktrax....

I have a pair of these but last winter was so mild I haven't got to try them out yet: http://www.kahtoola.com/microspikes.php

+1
IMO, Microspikes are the very best solution to hiking in icy on- or off-trail conditions.

ljcsov
01-02-2013, 21:44
I was hiking on icy Mount Minsi in the Delaware Water Gap the day after Christmas. Without my microspikes, I don't know how I would have done the ice covered rocks going down the mountain.

leaftye
01-02-2013, 22:16
that's why i like these (http://icespike.net/). been using them for hiking, walking dog and work for 3 years now.

I should try that this winter or very early spring. I've really liked Stabilicers (http://www.32north.com/work/1-stabilicers-original.html) because they work while feeling normal, but they are heavy. This is like the Stabilicers, but without the extra sole or straps. I suppose these screws wouldn't be acceptable indoors, but that shouldn't be a problem since I've been carrying sandals lately.

Sarcasm the elf
01-02-2013, 22:38
Kahtoola microspikes for sure. Used on PCT and they worked great. Yaltrax are strictly for shoveling the driveway. They break when you hike on them.


+1
IMO, Microspikes are the very best solution to hiking in icy on- or off-trail conditions.

Another vote for micro spikes. I've been using mine for three years and now throw them on whenever there's snow and ice and it's below freezing. Since they stop you from sliding around on the traik, They really save your knees. To give you an idea of how good they are on non technical terrain, the Pinkham Notch visitor center at the base of mount washington actually rents them out to people.

I also want to add my vote for NOT Regular yaktracks, though the company does make a rather beefy XTR (https://www.yaktrax.com/product/xtr) version that are practically crampons, i havent tried them out, but they look promising. The regular yaktracks are designed for going about your business in town, the spring coil design of their traction device is designed to walk more comfortably on hard surfaces such as pavement with intermittent snow and ice. Each spring when the snow melts on our local trails, it reveals the many, many broken Yak tracks that people abandoned while day hiking. I have yet to see a broken set of micro spikes on the side of a trail.

Marta
01-02-2013, 23:13
The Icespikes came amazingly fast--I received them today. Will be trying them tomorrow morning for a run.

DavidNH
01-02-2013, 23:26
if conditions aren't such that you'd need full crampons (those are fore going up icy steep slopes) then go with microspikes. Good grip on snow and minor ice. Anything less than microspikes is useless in icy conditions.

Don H
01-03-2013, 08:14
Thanks for all the advice! I'll be buying microspikes the next time I get to REI.

Driver8
01-03-2013, 09:00
One place, as I found Monday on pretty level trail locally, where spikes are pretty useless is in fresh powder. I got almost no traction from them for about 2 miles around Reservoir No. 6 locally in beautiful fresh powder the day after a 10" snow. The spikes were much better later in the hike, on the lake's wind-swept eastern dam levee, which was more exposed pack ice than powder.

Snowleopard
01-03-2013, 12:07
One place, as I found Monday on pretty level trail locally, where spikes are pretty useless is in fresh powder. I got almost no traction from them for about 2 miles around Reservoir No. 6 locally in beautiful fresh powder the day after a 10" snow. The spikes were much better later in the hike, on the lake's wind-swept eastern dam levee, which was more exposed pack ice than powder.
Hiking boots with substantial lugged soles would work better here, though skis would be even better. In the Adirondacks skis or snowshoes are required when there is more than 8" of snow. This is to avoid hazard to skiers and snowshoers when the post holes become a frozen mess.

There is fine xc skiing around the Hartford reservoirs when the snow is good. When I lived in Hartford, I never saw people at the reservoirs in winter.

Microspikes are generally the most often useful traction device. Hillsound Pro Trail Crampons Keep in mind that at some point as the terrain gets steeper and the ice harder you start to need real crampons, iceaxe and know how to use them.

Hillsound Pro Trail Crampons or Camp Magix Crampons are an intermediate step between microspikes and real crampons. I got the Camps last winter and they were a lot better than the microspikes on the thick hard ice we had locally last winter. They are less likely to roll off your boot on steep trails. The longer sharper spikes are an advantage (on hard ice) and a disadvantage (when going from rock to ice and back). Most of the time the microspikes will be more useful. EMS has the Camps on sale now for $63, a good price. http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11755949

Driver8
01-03-2013, 13:09
Thanks for the tip, Snowleopard. I reckon my next purchase will be crampons of some sort, though those Hillshounds sound good.

simply_light
01-09-2013, 12:02
I like the concept of the icespikes, but they seem rather pricey for what they are - a set of screws. Granted, they may be better quality than you can get at the hardware store, but think of how many screws you can get for $5 at the hardware store. Even if you had to change them out a little more often, you would still have a ton left.

tjkenney67
01-09-2013, 12:09
Is there any need for micospikes for a thru hike starting last week in Feb??

jeffmeh
01-09-2013, 13:46
I assume you are talking about a NOBO AT Hike. Probably not when leaving Springer, but you should check the conditions and bring them if warranted. You should definitely do the same when entering the Smokies, as you are more likely to need them there.

ChinMusic
01-09-2013, 13:52
Is there any need for micospikes for a thru hike starting last week in Feb??

It depends on the weather and we cannot predict that. It is very possible that they will come in handy. It is also possible that they will be dead weight.

I am plannng on starting in late Feb and will be bringing my Microspikes. I will prob send them home after the Smokies but time will tell.

turtle fast
01-09-2013, 13:55
Its improbable that you will need them at Springer at that time unless like aforementioned the weather conditions are not normal...if worse came to worse, you do have Mountain Crossings right on the trail to buy some if really needed.

Another Kevin
01-09-2013, 13:58
I don't think I've ever seen conditions in the East where I'd want full crampons but would feel safe without a rope and harness. Maybe I'm just timid. Snowshoes when warranted. (Around here, it's very bad manners to go postholing when there is more than about 8 inches of snow, because it messes up the trail for snowshoers and skiers.) Microspikes - I live in microspikes in the winter. Ice axe and crampons - without also having climbing gear - my answer is "don't go."

Another Kevin
01-09-2013, 14:04
I like the concept of the icespikes, but they seem rather pricey for what they are - a set of screws. Granted, they may be better quality than you can get at the hardware store, but think of how many screws you can get for $5 at the hardware store. Even if you had to change them out a little more often, you would still have a ton left.

Kahtoola microspikes are more than a set of screws - they're half-inch steel spikes attached to a sort of tire chain thingy. You might have been thinking of Stabilicers, which are basically a set of metal studs in a neoprene outer-sole. I've seen people improvise winter traction by driving half-inch #6 hex-head sheet metal screws into the lugs of their boot soles. But microspikes work better for me than Stabilicers. I've never personally tried the trick with the sheet metal screws.

leaftye
01-13-2013, 04:49
The Ice Spikes website appears to be gone. These are for bikes, but should work for shoes too.

koldkutter.com

peakbagger
01-13-2013, 07:54
Just for reference, last year I did a day hike up Mt Washington via amnonusuc ravine trail over to Jefferson and then back down to the Cog parking on the last weekend of winter with a pair of Hillsounds. I only had some limited traction issues where I wish I had remembered my grivel crampons.

If I had had my Katoolas I think I would have had more issues as the hill sounds do have some spike plates. The trade off is that in more rocky conditions, the spike tend to catch a bit more.

Lady Grey
01-13-2013, 09:15
I'm starting my AT hike in early March and am bringing my microspikes, which I use a lot around here in the winter. I've deliberated this for awhile, but feel that the peace of mind I'll have in knowing that I have them if needed is worth the extra weight. I may be sending them home early on, but guessing I'll keep them with me through the Smokies.

Marta
01-13-2013, 10:22
These are many stretches of trail which are running with water, which becomes sheet ice when it's cold. I wouldn't use Ice Spikes because then your shoes can't be worn in buildings without tearing up the floors. Katoola Microspikes are very good on that kind of ice.

Blood Mountain can be nastily icy. Around Standing Indian. Several sections in the Smokies. Roan Mountain. There are lots more. Crossing log bridges that have frozen. I hiked for years without carrying any kind of traction devices but then I got some Microspikes. Makes hiking in the winter a lot more fun. I don't leave home without 'em.

Dash
01-13-2013, 13:02
I Recently purchased these i haven't tested http://www.basspro.com/Yaktrax-Walk-Traction-Cleats-for-Snow-and-Ice/product/10219587/
anyone tried this style/design of yaktrax?

ChinMusic
01-13-2013, 13:18
I Recently purchased these i haven't tested http://www.basspro.com/Yaktrax-Walk-Traction-Cleats-for-Snow-and-Ice/product/10219587/
anyone tried this style/design of yaktrax?

I have a version of Yaktrax similar to those. They are fine for minor activity around town but terrible on the trail. They just do not stay in place for me, rolling to one side or the other, and even totally falling off. I had to constantly look at my feet to see if they were still there, having to retrace my steps when I had thrown one of them.

Bottom line: Yaktrax may be the worst piece of gear I have ever purchased.

Another Kevin
01-13-2013, 15:54
I saw the new Yaktrax XTR in an outfitter. They look as if the Yaktrax people are finally getting a clue and trying to copy Kahtoola. On the other hand, they look like a poor copy. I'll stick with my tried-and-true for the mpment.

hermit1970
01-15-2013, 17:31
I like kahtoola microspikes. I even run up and down icy hills with them without worry. They work great