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Thread: Shoe Spikes

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Excellent summary; I don't quite agree with the "crampons are dangerous" part, but agree on everything else. I suppose for rank beginners crampons are not a first choice. I do see lots of ripped trouser legs from beginners using them in my mountaineering classes. I suppose there is occasional blood there too...

    We use a lot of "technical snowshoes" here out west, like the MSR Lightning Ascents, which have a serrated edge around the entire perimeter. Great for icy conditions and side-hill traversing.
    That you see ripped pant legs is one indication of what I was referencing, but perhaps more importantly they can easily take inexperienced people into places they should not be without the equipment or knowledge to continue or retreat. I have seen both "rank" beginners and some with a bit of experience get into trouble with them over the decades. Not knowing the experience level of the OP is why I put the caution in the post. Like firearms, crampons are not dangerous in and of themselves, they are simply intolerant of carelessness, mistakes, and errors in judgment.

  2. #22
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    When Meetup started there were various meetups that were doing winter hikes. A couple I had met on prior hike listed a hike up Mt Chocorua in NH one winters day. Mt Chocurua is a "mini mountain" int he whites, its got the features of taller mountain including a lot of above treeline terrain but is shorter and in general easier to access. Its great to test out winter gear. This was before I had microspikes, so it was snowshoes, bareboot or crampons. Most to the group had brand new Kahtoolas. I am and another long term hiker had our trusty crampons. Things were fine through the woods but when we hit treeline it was frozen "boilerplate" crust with patches of ice. Most of the group had never experienced this type of conditions. I was in the tail end of the group and the leaders just started hiking up fairly steep slopes with the Kahtoolas. They were fine going up for awhile but at some point realized they didnt have enough clothing for the conditions s they decided to turn around. That is when they discovered the problem with Kahtoolas is they are far better for going upslope than downslope. These slopes were icy and long enough that without and ice ax and self arrest skills, if they lost traction they were going to build up a lot of speed and possibly go over 20 to 30 foot drops. They would probably survive the fall but definitely someone could get injured. The two us with crampons were doing fine so we picked our way down zigzagging from any spot with traction to another one with conga line of Kahtoola owners following us. There were few close calls but we managed to get them down to treeline.

    On a different note, one winters evening in the ADKs we were doing a late night backpack into a shelter in very icy conditions with crampons. I managed to catch a spike and fall forward down a short slope. Somewhere in the fall I managed to insert a crampon point in the inside of my leg above my knee. It didnt go deep but I have tried to recreate how I managed to do that and was physically incapable of putting my feet in that position. I did shred one leg of a pair of gortex winter pants and its just to be expected with crampon use and to lesser extent MSR Lightings with the traction edge on the outer rim that the lower legs of winter shells will get shredded. That a good reason to wear gaiters as the replacing Gaiters is less expensive than most winter shell pants.

  3. #23
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    https://www.litesmith.com/snowline-c...n-city-spikes/

    These or the trail version. I have the trail version and prefer them over Hillshound or Kahtoolas for light work.

  4. #24
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    We hike every weekend year-round and our favorite winter trail requires spikes most of the winter at least part of the way up. We had an ice storm one year and it was solid ice from top to bottom (about 8-miles, 2000ft elevation gain) and I think I traveled faster over that ice than I do in the summer on the same trail. I love those spikes.

    My wife wears the Kahtoolas and has had them for the last 4-seasons. I had a pair and snagged the rubber upper on a spike and that was the end of it. I had to tie it off with some 550 cord to get down. I bought some cheap Chinese imitation brand on Amazon last year and while they are not as good as the Kahtoolas, they were 1/3rd the price. I'll probable buy another set when I kill these. I've had to persuade them with the pliers a couple times after a link twisted.

    Knowing when to put them on and take them off is the important part. I don't even have to take the pack off to get them on/off now. I carry them in the side pocket which I can reach without taking off the pack. I have images of a Speed Racer variant where I have a button I push on my wristwatch and they magically pop out of my shoes but alas, technology hasn't caught up to what we thought it would be in the 70s.

  5. #25
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    If you are considering a look alike brand, my experience is the rubber is inferior and will age faster. Usually the failure point is the chain loops will tear out. Plastic tie wraps do not work that well for repair. Cooper wire seems to hold up better.

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    http://skyrunner.com/screwshoe.htm

    For under $10 REI sells a packet of stainless steel hex head screws with a diminutive T wrench to install screws into sole of shoes or remove. It's the least expensive way I know of gaining added traction on snow and ice.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    If you are considering a look alike brand, my experience is the rubber is inferior and will age faster. Usually the failure point is the chain loops will tear out. Plastic tie wraps do not work that well for repair. Cooper wire seems to hold up better.
    Exactly. In the long run the real Kahtoolas are a far better choice. I, too, have seen the knock-offs shredded in no time flat. Sure, it's possible to have a freak situation and damage the Kahtoolas but there are many reports of them lasting several seasons with a lot of pounding. I don't use mine nearly as much as some people, so they're still going strong after about 8 years or so.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  8. #28
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    I will say my Hillsounds had a rubber tear after several years. I felt I got reasonable use and didnt push the guarantee. There are a lot more Katoolas out on the market and I have seen a fair shore of failures. The lack the velcro strap over the top of the foot that the Hillsounds have which can make them hang loose from the bottom of the sole of the boot, that shifts the chain rubber interface to the widest part of the foot which means higher likelihood of damage. Ideally both Hillsounds and Kahtoolas should fit where the rubber is up higher on the boot past the wide part of the sole. Many folks have the wrong size as winter boots can vary in size substantially. The velcro strap helps to make loose set more functional but its far better to get the right size to begin with. I have a very rare pair of XXL Hillsounds that they produced for short time when they realized that their XLs were a bit small for insulated size 13 boots. I think they changed their sizing later on and made the XLs larger so the XXL is no longer sold. My winter boot is an insulated size 14 wide as no one makes a insulated 13 EEEE anymore.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    That you see ripped pant legs is one indication of what I was referencing, but perhaps more importantly they can easily take inexperienced people into places they should not be without the equipment or knowledge to continue or retreat. I have seen both "rank" beginners and some with a bit of experience get into trouble with them over the decades. Not knowing the experience level of the OP is why I put the caution in the post. Like firearms, crampons are not dangerous in and of themselves, they are simply intolerant of carelessness, mistakes, and errors in judgment.
    yep, agree, wise words.

    Regarding Kahtoolas.... I just cannot believe how well these things hold up. We did yet another l-o-n-g (16.5 miles) mixed ice/rock hike yesterday that would have been basically impossible without these amazing devices (microspikes) having a lot of fairly steep glare-ice. There were maybe 1-2 miles of bare rocky dirt in the 16.5 total, very typical this time of year, I'm just too lazy to keep taking off and putting on the spikes (even though it only takes seconds, literally). And after 7-8 years of this constant abuse, they are still going strong, no rip outs, though as I said, the tangs are really rounded off, but still grippy enough.

    I have no experience with any other brands to comment, but I did find a lone Hillsound on a trail one time, brought it home as a "backup", but have never actually worn it. What worries me about that brand is it sure looks like those floating plates would make for occasional heavy snow balling-up. My kahtoolas having only done so very rarely.
    Last edited by colorado_rob; 12-29-2020 at 10:53.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGH1NC View Post
    On a club hike Sunday some members had installed Stabilicers on their shoes for the snowy hike. The conditions were snow on ground with a slushy dirt trail with hills and some with short steep areas plus a bit of hard surface. There was no ice or black ice. . .Any thoughts?
    Lots of great advice and insights above.

    For what it's worth, I've watched lots of people, especially on group hikes, where people wear traction devices just because they have them, even thought the hike is much more appropriate for bare boots/shoes. Your description of mixed snow and mud suggests above freezing conditions that I personally would likely prefer not using traction devices as they are not needed, they add weight, and they often ice up pretty badly.

    Regarding crampons, again, there are plenty of trails that some people would consider crampons to be mandatory and others (like myself) might well be happier with microspikes. A lot depends on your confidence in rough terrain and slippery conditions.

    Also, for what it's worth, I know few experienced technical ice climbers that don't also have torn spots on their gaiters and/or climbing pants from crampons, it's not just beginners.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Thanks to all for the information and discussion. I hadn't seen this topic discussed in the (recent?) past. I intend to use my poles in the conditions described and I see the advantages on glaze and black ice and on the rocky surfaces encountered by many backcountry hikers.

  12. #32

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    If you have an Ocean State Job Lot near you, for $20 you can get a pair of spikes that look and feel just like Hillsounds.
    They are good for short trips and to keep a pair in case someone in your group forgets theirs

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