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Mountaineering snowshoe advice needed.
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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
Feb 23, 2014
Why I do it...
I don't want ski advice.
One day I will learn how to ski, but until then I need better snowshoes. I took some AT ski's into the Teton's last month and spent more time on my butt than gaining elevation.
I'd like some good snowshoes for steeper terrain. Have any advice?

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By drmartindell
From Homer, Ak
Feb 23, 2014
Are you sure you don't want ski advice?

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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
Feb 23, 2014
Why I do it...
kevinhansen wrote:
I don't want ski advice.

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By drmartindell
From Homer, Ak
Feb 23, 2014
I think you do.

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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
Feb 23, 2014
Why I do it...
drmartindell wrote:
I think you do.


Hmmm.
Let me go check.






Nope I don't

wingclips.com/movie-clips/tomm...

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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Feb 23, 2014
MSR Lightning Ascent. Sturdy, good traction, crampons and heel elevators for steep climbs. Once you get the bindings on properly, they will stay on no matter what until you want them to come off. Not cheap, but money well spent. cascadedesigns.com/msr/snowsho...

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By Jeffrey Addison
From Anaheim, CA
Feb 23, 2014
Topped out at Kern Slabs. Just being a poser in this little chimney.
Only get MSR snowshoes. If you go to REI or go on a lot of different climbing sites that sell "slowshoes" you're gonna see these really big old-school looking shoes. The problem with most snow shoes is the crampon set-up is only on the toe and mid-sole. All of MSR's snow shoes have traction running down the sides of there frame which you'll need if you're traversing up some steep snowfield/slopes. Newer model MSR's also have the ascender for your heel which is awesome! MSR has smaller frames than you may see online but that really isn't as important if you're looking to climb big hills. You can also get the tail to help you out on unconsolidated slopes.

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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Feb 23, 2014
Middle
kevinhansen wrote:
I'd like some good snowshoes...


No such thing.

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By rebizap
Feb 23, 2014
I have and would recommend both the Tubbs Flex Alps and the Atlas Aspect. Both have full length traction down the sides and heel/lift bars. The Alps have a very aggressive crampon and are very durable with the plastic decking. The Aspect have a pack flat binding and the suspension system makes them comfy on the ankles on uneven terrain. I was just out on the Aspect today and if I had to pick between the Alps and Aspect I would choose the Aspect.


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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Feb 23, 2014
I'd also recommend the MSR Evo Ascent. Its the next generation of the Denali Ascent, which is, to the best of my knowledge, the only snowshoe designed, ground-up, for mountaineering. Everything else is an adaptation of other designs, with not necessarily useful features. When I can't ski, that's what I use.

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By Maurice Chaunders
Feb 24, 2014
Colombian Crack
+1 for MSRs

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By drmartindell
From Homer, Ak
Feb 24, 2014
I love my silvretta 404s...oh wait...I forgot, sorrryyy.

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By Woodchuck ATC
Feb 24, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Flopping around with a big winter load on skinny skis has never worked for me either. I love my old school 46" Michigan' wooden frame snowshoes with a nice tail on them. Neoprene laced, not old rawhide. Lash on bindings are not the easiest to attach quickly, but can those shoes hold a load and float over/through deep snow easily. Doubt if they are even available many places anymore,but they sure have held up great for about 40 years now. I can't see how these little 26 inch or smaller things with a full fabric underside can give you any balance when loaded up with gear. New bindings are convenient, but I still bust through deep stuff in the big'uns.

After a 14 inch snowstorm this winter.
After a 14 inch snowstorm this winter.

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By hikingdrew
From Los Angeles, CA
Feb 24, 2014
dorky helmet
+1 on MSR Lightning Ascents..

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By trailrun.reynolds
From Seattle
Feb 24, 2014
I have both MSR Denali Ascent and Atlas BC24 (currently Aspect 24). The Atlas slowshoes have a better crampon, and the reflex system (or whatever it is called that basically keeps the things from flopping about) is pretty nice. I really cannot think of a time that I would prefer the MSR over the Atlas. I am not saying the MSR is not a good snowshoe, I just think the Atlas BC slowshoes are superior.

But bc skiing with tech bindings kicks slowshoes ass all day.

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By Brandon L
Feb 24, 2014
I have a pair of Atlas MTN 1030's that work great for me. They have heel riser for hills and the SLS suspension to keep things from getting too awkward. If I get into anything too rocky, I'm probably above tree line and it is time to stash them and throw on microspikes or crampons anyway.

atlassnowshoe.com/snowshoes/10...

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By Wyatt H
From Casper, Wy
Feb 24, 2014
How about some Billy Goat Ascent Plates? Made for booting up steep soft snow.
Seriously, if you get some super short skis (>130cm) with Silvrettas, they will basically just be like snowshoes only you'll move a little faster. You don't need to actually "ski" with them (and with mountaineering boots, even most skiers couldn't "ski" with them anyway).

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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Feb 24, 2014
Middle
Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Flopping around with a big winter load on skinny skis has never worked for me either.


A 180cm X 95mm ski has more surface area than your 40" snowshoe.

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By doligo
Feb 24, 2014
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
Snowshoeing in Tetons gotta suck.

Like others said, you want skis. More specifically, Madshus Annum (formerly known as Karhu XCD Guides) with Silvretta bindings. There are other cross-country skis on the market that are cheaper than Madshus, but still have metal edges and waxless bases. They are way lighter than your AT skis, but still provide good flotation and let you make some tele turns. Don't be afraid of skis,with some snowshoes (esp. MSR Denalis) you end up tele-ing anyway, why not just get something better suited for it?

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By Harry Richardson
Feb 24, 2014
MSR Evo Ascent with the optional tails have worked really well for me. I have used them on up to 55 degree slopes, on low angle ice, in heavy scrub oak and wooded conditions, climbing through snowy cliff bands on rock/ice/snow. Nowhere as fast as skis on open snowy terrain descending or ascending, however, we don't always have perfect open snowy terrain for ascending or descending do we? :)
Advantages over other brands are Televator heel riser bar for the steeper terrain, Evo Ascent packs flat when not in use, full length steel traction rails (excellent for traversing on steep icy or hard packed snow), the Unibody frame twists and flexes while traversing to allow the full length traction bars and the pivoting crampon to maintain constant contact with the angled slope, built in braking system for the downhill (careful...with the tails attached on the descent there is a tendency for the snowshoe to behave more like a ski if you are carrying a heavy load...they want to slide if you lean too far back on them in loose, deep, powdery conditions), you can run with them on hard packed trails when the tails are not attached, I have also used the binding system with only 2 of the 4 straps and my boot was held securely in place during the entire trip.
Advantages over the MSR Lightning would be a lighter weight snowshoe as well as a lower purchase price

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Feb 24, 2014
Stoked...
Learn to use skis... if not i have the lightening ascents and they are amazing. but seriously learn to use skis!! infinitely more efficent.

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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Feb 24, 2014
I agree with much that Harry said.

If you do think that skis may be in your future, I recommend you look at snowshoes that address skis' weaknesses. I find that about half of the approaches I do with floatation devices are miserable with skis. Thick brush and downed trees, intermittent mud and rocks that destroy skins and clog bindings, and rain that makes snow glue itself to skins are all excellent reasons to use snowshoes.

A short, durable, and nimble snowshoe is ideal for these conditions. I think my Denali Evo Ascent work well in this case. Larger, more supportive snowshoes seem to slide more than the MSRs and they're hard to crawl over logs and boulders with. The Denalis, however, do kinda suck at breaking trail in powder, but that's when I'd use skis.

A little background on the climbing I do here: The vast majority of ice climbs here don't require skis or snowshoes, they're well packed down. We do have some more obscure routes with open approaches that work well with skis, but the last bits tend to be steep scrubby forest that sucks with skis. It's still faster to ski those, though. The rest of the approaches are steep and trackless secondary forest with tons of beetle killed trees. Lots of logs at waist height. I sure can't negotiate it with skis on, but some people may actually be able too. This is where I love my little snowshoes.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Feb 24, 2014
Stoked...
Harry Richardson wrote:
Advantages over the MSR Lightning would be a lighter weight snowshoe as well as a lower purchase price


Unfortunately Harry - you are incorrect about the weights. The Lightening Ascent is the ligher of the two.

Evo Ascent: 4lbs per pair
Lightening Ascent: 3 lbs 13oz per pair

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By Harry Richardson
Feb 24, 2014
I stand corrected on the weights...thank you

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By Reid Kalmus
From Breckenridge, Colorado
Feb 24, 2014
You should really learn to ski, really. this is coming from a splitboarder - Snow shoes are for old people who cant cross-county ski anymore - not mountaineering

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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Feb 24, 2014
Reid Kalmus wrote:
You should really learn to ski, really. this is coming from a splitboarder - Snow shoes are for old people who cant cross-county ski anymore - not mountaineering


We should tell these guys they're doing it wrong, then.

thenorthfacejournal.com/nanga-...

Gotta use the right tool for the job, not just the most fashionable.

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