Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-03-2006
    Location
    Newark, NJ
    Age
    39
    Posts
    25

    Default Traction Devices Needed for Roan in Winter?

    Though I've hiked the Roan Highlands twice in the fall, I am planning my first winter trip (from Carver's Gap to 19E) for this February. I imagine it varies somewhat based on recent/current weather, but are traction devices like microspikes or Yaktrax likely to be needed/advisable? Is there anywhere besides Guthook where I could get reports on current conditions? Any other tips for winter backpacking in the Roan Highlands? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default

    The usual scenario is a coastal rain storm moves through, pushed out by an artic cold front. Not uncommon for that time of year. That can result in a lot of heavy snow or ice depending on exactly how everything matches up. But you won't know until it happens. You can get a pretty good idea if it will happen while your out there about a week in advance. You just have to watch the weather reports for the area. Lots of apps for that.

    But as the saying goes, better to have and not need, then to need and not have.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  3. #3

    Default

    If there's a doubt, there is no doubt.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-08-2018
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Age
    43
    Posts
    52

    Default

    Was just in Roan Highlands last week. Plenty of snow. Trail was packed down mostly. Trail runners were mostly fine but saw 2 guys wearing microspikes. Doing Newfound Gap to Standing Bear in 2 weeks, bought a pair of Hillsound ultra crampons just in case

  5. #5

    Default

    I have gotten caught with my pants down in the Roan highland area one December. I only looked at the Roan Mountain, TN forecast. Night 1 I cowboy camped on top of Roan High Knob....Night 2 at the barn we got a foot of snow. Only having trail runners and worried about my car being parked at Carvers gap with more snow coming in, I bailed on the trip and got picked up at overmountain trailhead. A friend I made on that trip continued to 19e. It took him a little over 13 hours to get from Overmountain to 19e. He said it was the most difficult hike he had ever done.
    Trail Miles: 4,007.6 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 84.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 0.0

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-03-2006
    Location
    Newark, NJ
    Age
    39
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Thanks for all the tips! I've done several winter trips in the Grayson Highlands, one was the day after a blizzard dropped 2 feet of snow...sounds like this has the potential to be about the same! Had not even considered using my trail runners. My feet get cold easily, so I was planning on my insulated boots. 13 hours from Overmountain to 19E does sound like a must have been a struggle...

  7. #7

    Default

    I hiked from 19E to Carver's Gap with a friend last winter. We had some snow at the time, but not much. It was between Overmountain and Carver's Gap that we needed microspikes, as you're hiking in a rut for a while, and it can be ice over rock. Going the other way, towards 19E, there's a rocky section on the other side of Big Hump, approaching Doll Flats, where they might come in handy, too. Only hiked it that once, so don't know what it would be like under a different set of conditions.

    We intentionally camped on Big Hump to play with our shelters, and had teens to 30s with 40mph winds. Had a grand time, but the one little group we met before Big Hump, that was going the other way, were quite a bit less enthused about the weather

  8. #8

    Default

    I'd also suggest that if you need traction assist get the Microspikes, *not* YakTrax, which have absolutely no grip on even slightly hard ice and are damaged very easily.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  9. #9
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    74
    Posts
    8,423

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    I'd also suggest that if you need traction assist get the Microspikes, *not* YakTrax, which have absolutely no grip on even slightly hard ice and are damaged very easily.
    Microspikes? Explain please. Brand? Model? Im shopping. Dicks Sporting Goods Winston Salem is my closest source to see before I buy. They stock Hillsound products.
    Any shopping advice is greatly appreciated!
    Wayne

  10. #10

    Default

    Kahtoola, although the Hillsound version is probably fine as well. There are some Amazon knockoffs that are garbage
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    4,281

    Default

    IMHO is the best of bunch are Hillsound trail crampons. https://hillsound.com/collections/cr.../trail-crampon They offer several models including an almost identical version of the Kahtoolas but the trail crampons have better ice traction and just as importantly they have the velcro strap over the instep. It is very easy with Kahtoolas for them to hang down loose off the sole of the shoe. This makes it easy to get caught or stick to the snow and walk out of the crampon. It can sometimes take awhile to notice and its not unusual to find orphan kahtoolas sitting on trails and at trailheads. The velcro strap keeps the spikes tighter to the sole and also virtually eliminates stepping out of them inadvertently. At the end of the hike they just pull apart. I had a spare Hillsound strap and added it to my Kahtoolas and it works just as well. Its worth the extra couple of bucks.

  12. #12

    Default

    I'm guessing traction has been and will be needed in the southern Appalachians this month!
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    IMHO is the best of bunch are Hillsound trail crampons. https://hillsound.com/collections/cr.../trail-crampon They offer several models including an almost identical version of the Kahtoolas but the trail crampons have better ice traction and just as importantly they have the velcro strap over the instep. It is very easy with Kahtoolas for them to hang down loose off the sole of the shoe. This makes it easy to get caught or stick to the snow and walk out of the crampon. It can sometimes take awhile to notice and its not unusual to find orphan kahtoolas sitting on trails and at trailheads. The velcro strap keeps the spikes tighter to the sole and also virtually eliminates stepping out of them inadvertently. At the end of the hike they just pull apart. I had a spare Hillsound strap and added it to my Kahtoolas and it works just as well. Its worth the extra couple of bucks.
    My Kahtoolas fit quite snugly on my freakishly large size 12 feet (big for someone who's 5-9) so this has not been a problem.

    But I like the looks of those Hillsound trail crampons which no doubt have better bite in hard ice than my Kahtoolas.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  14. #14

    Default

    I can vouch for the Hillsounds having better traction in steep/hard ice than the Kahtoolas. No complaints whatsoever about microspikes in general, but I found myself immobilized compared to the three guys I was with a couple of years ago when we were heading up Madison in the whites. The only difference was their trail crampons vs my microspikes. I now own a set of each. For general use you're absolutely fine either way anywhere you might want to go. But when you start going up truly steep surfaces, the trail crampons do shine a little brighter.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    4,281

    Default

    I did a day hike one winters day up Washington via Ammo trail over to Jefferson and back down Jewell. I didnt realize I had left my crampons home until leaving Lake of the Clouds. I had my Hillsounds so I kept going and had no issues with the Hillsounds. I avoid ice with Kahtoolas but do not need to with the Hillsounds.

  16. #16
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    74
    Posts
    8,423

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Kahtoola, although the Hillsound version is probably fine as well. There are some Amazon knockoffs that are garbage
    Thank you! I think were about finished with ice in North Carolina and inventory is meager right now. Ill shop around next Labor Day.
    Wayne

  17. #17
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    74
    Posts
    8,423

    Default

    The Restocking Gods smiled on me!
    REI has the Hillsound Flexsteps in my size!
    They should arrive next week.
    We had an ice fog overnight. I might need the spikes sooner than I thought!
    This discussion helped me a lot!
    Thanks Yall!
    Wayne
    Fully vaccinated in the North Carolina Rainforest!

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •