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 Spikes vs Crampons 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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 Spikes vs Crampons
Didn't get to do much this winter for a number of reasons ranging from personal to physical. Yesterday, hiking Kathy's Mtn. or Mt Hobbes which ever you prefer, I finally dealt with the rivers of ice on an extended climb and descent. Yesterday, after having my foot slip with Microspikes on out form under me, I switched to THESE and never looked back. (Mine are an older version but basically the same) As all you on 4K'ers now, the ice is still insane. I never did the Mizpah Cut-Off to the hut then on to Pierce. Didn't realize how steep it was from the hut to Pierce. There was some nasty ice bulges I breezed through. But where they really earned there money was on the descent. I walked with confidence over everything without the slightest hint of slippage. I saw numerous scratches where someone in spikes had slipped. At one nasty spot a couple wearing Hillsound Trail Crampons pulled over when they heard me coming. As I descended this major ice bulge with ease they had this look on their faces like, was that Spiderman? Nope, just wearing the correct gear. 8) So, had I been hiking this winter, I'd have been wearing these all the time. It was said here and on VFTT, why are people so reluctant to put these on? It was an instant stress relief for me.

It was as drastic a difference as driving a country road with the headlights off, then turning them on.

OK, now beat me up. :P

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Last edited by JustJoe on Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:48 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
No beat up - or beat down - from me. This is essentially the same as what I use. I have the spikes and they definitely have their place. I switched to spikes at the 2nd stream crossing descending yesterday, mostly b/c I walk differently in the crampons and I really don't like them at all on rocks. Also, I find I must maintain a forward foot position with the crampons whereas I can easily side step with the spikes.

I think it's not a case of reluctance with the crampons, it's a case of many simply don't own them. The micros have been hailed as the be all end all for winter trampers and in previous winters either they or snowshoes have sufficed. This winter is not the same. I continue to shake my head at those who go up ART and are on Gulfside with just micros. As is the case - it'll work until it doesn't. I prefer to err on the side of caution. Call me chicken.

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:18 am
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
JustJoe wrote:
Didn't get to do much this winter for a number of reasons ranging from personal to physical. Yesterday, hiking Kathy's Mtn. or Mt Hobbes which ever you prefer, I finally dealt with the rivers of ice on an extended climb and descent. Yesterday, after having my foot slip with Microspikes on out form under, I switched to THESE and never looked back. (Mine are an older version but basically the same) As all you 4K'ers now, the ice is still insane. I never did the Mizpah Cut-Off to the hut then on to Pierce. Did realize how steep it was from the hut to Pierce. Some nasty ice bulges I breezed though. But where they really earned there money was on the descent. I walked with confidence over everything with the slightest hint of slippage. I so numerous scratches where some in spikes had slipped. At one nasty spot a couple wearing Hillsound Trail Crampons pulled over when they heard me coming. As I descended this major ice bulge with ease they had the look on their faces like, was that Spiderman? Nope, just wearing the correct gear. 8) So, had I been hiking this winter, I'd have been wearing these all the time. It was said here and on VFTT, why are people so reluctant to put these on? It was an instant relief stress for me.

It was as drastic a difference as driving a country road with the headlights off, then turning them on.

OK, now beat me up. :P


I have a pair of the kahtoola's too (older pair like yours) but I have never used them. I probably should have yesterday. Microspikes this year have been about 25% effective (for me, personally). Its not just on 4ks either. It is anything with an established trail.

Greg

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:38 am
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
:oops: :oops: I'll embarrass myself by sharing this info.. :oops: :oops:

I bought us Hillsounds for Christmas 2014. Did not use them last winter because by the time I finished shoveling all that snow I was too tired to go anywhere.

Did not try putting them on my boots this winter. Put them in the trunk and left them there. After these past 3 weeks who's sorry now? ME!!!!!


Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:46 pm
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
Beckie and Prema wrote:
:oops: :oops: I'll embarrass myself by sharing this info.. :oops: :oops:

I bought us Hillsounds for Christmas 2014. Did not use them last winter because by the time I finished shoveling all that snow I was too tired to go anywhere.

Did not try putting them on my boots this winter. Put them in the trunk and left them there. After these past 3 weeks who's sorry now? ME!!!!!

This is how we all learn Beckie! Just don't let us hear about you not using them NEXT winter... which of course will be nothing like this winter and you will most likely be better served with snowshoes or spikes. But for sure they will NOT serve you weil in your trunk. :roll: :P :lol:

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:07 pm
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
I think I am probably quicker to upgrade traction than most from what I read. If I carry it with me I'm going to use whatever gets the job done. I see nothing to be gained by struggling up/down something when proper/more aggressive gear is getting a free ride. I don't posthole while snowshoes sit on my pack. I don't bareboot and slip around while spikes sit in the pack. So why would I grab trees and slip and slide for more than a minute or two on steep icy trails if I have better traction available? Besides the safety aspect of it I find it's quicker to just suck it up and change the stuff out asap and then move along confidently than worry about every step or looking for a tree to grab or place to plant a pole or whatever.

I also think Kathy is right that many people think spikes are all they need and that crampons are an added expense they don't want to bother with and just look, how did the Kraken put it?? Oh right, douchy, because they cherry pick their days, conditions and trails or whatever. If that works for them and they are willing to turn back when the going gets above the safety/comfort level spikes provide great, but basically I think cost/use ratio be damned. When you need it you need it. At the end of the day nothing else matters as much as getting up and down safely.


Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:53 pm
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
Granite Guy wrote:
they cherry pick their days, conditions and trails or whatever. If that works for them and they are willing to turn back when the going gets above the safety/comfort level spikes provide great, but basically I think cost/use ratio be damned. When you need it you need it. At the end of the day nothing else matters as much as getting up and down safely.

I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence. As would any reasonable person. I believe the reasonable becomes unreasonable when they either are not willing to turn back or are too stupid to turn back. Hate to be so blunt but based on what I've seen, what I've experience and what I've done too many are relying on inadequate equipment. This, of course, is only MY opinion, but this brings me back to a comment I made in another discussion about people seeing Uncle Billy or Cousin Sally doing these hikes and they figure they can too.

Now, playing devil's advocate to my own point: For all the seemingly stupid sh*t I see, there are few calls for help so I guess people are getting in and out on their own. I wonder though, at their motivation. And can they possibly be having fun??

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:15 pm
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
About 4 years ago I switched from Kahtoola microspikes to the Hillsounds because 1) the tines on the Hillsounds were a bit longer and 2) there's a Velcro strap over the instep so it's rare for the Hillsound version to slip off. I like the Hillsound Ultras because the tines are secured with a chains - like the Kahtoola's. The "regular" Hillsounds use the 2 plates secured by chains. IMO they both have the same level of traction, but ... if/when a plate breaks (and one usually does) it's nearly impossible to repair because the chrome moly plate is nearly impossible to drill since it's so hard. The "regular" Hillsounds usually run about $69 and the Ultras are $79, so they compete nicely with Kahtoolas. A few years ago Kahtoola added a few more tines to the rear plate, so now about the only difference between the two brands is the Velco instep strap.

For the next level of traction I use the Hillsound Pro's, which I bought about 5 years ago. They came out a year or so after the Kathoola K-10's. Virtually the same in terms of traction but a few $$ cheaper ($79 vs. $99). On Saturday I used the microspikes for ascending Jewell, but put on the Pro's for the descent near treeline.

I rarely use my Grivel G-10's or G-12's now, except when I go out West into the Cascades.

The past couple of winters about the only time I've used the Hillsound Pros was ascending the Ammo and the Brutus bushwhack on Owls Head, but this year have used them several times.


Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:19 am
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
Granite guy and I have used the hillsound trail crampon (non pro) THIS entire winter. The actual crampons got free rides every time. Their cost efficiency rating was high knowing that if I needed them, they were there. The snow shoes however... I guess the equipment cartel association got me on those this go around. :cry:


Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:46 am
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
Like Greg I hiked all winter without needing snowshoes from Acadia to the Adirondacks. First time I recall that being the case. We used them on a couple small trips with the kids but most definitely could have done without them, at least my wife and I. More of a conditioning exercise that we never ended up getting the actual conditions for.


Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:01 am
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
Kevin Rooney wrote:
A few years ago Kahtoola added a few more tines to the rear plate, so now about the only difference between the two brands is the Velco instep strap.



And a few years ago I came up with a very cheap, and perfect solution to that. For $1.95, get the 12" ones.

https://www.rei.com/product/848430/redp ... ckage-of-2

Voila
Image
Image

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:22 pm
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
Granite Guy wrote:
Like Greg I hiked all winter without needing snowshoes from Acadia to the Adirondacks. First time I recall that being the case. We used them on a couple small trips with the kids but most definitely could have done without them, at least my wife and I. More of a conditioning exercise that we never ended up getting the actual conditions for.


I have to thank you and Peter for the wonderful winter weather. I have never had a winter season where i barebooted (or just wore microspikes) for the entire winter.

Greg

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:07 pm
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 Re: Spikes vs Crampons
HardcoreIdiot wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:
Like Greg I hiked all winter without needing snowshoes from Acadia to the Adirondacks. First time I recall that being the case. We used them on a couple small trips with the kids but most definitely could have done without them, at least my wife and I. More of a conditioning exercise that we never ended up getting the actual conditions for.


I have to thank you and Peter for the wonderful winter weather. I have never had a winter season where i barebooted (or just wore microspikes) for the entire winter.

Greg


You're welcome...I think. Personally last winter was more my style. Not sure how exactly we made this one relatively snow free, but I'll try me best not to let it happen again! :twisted:


Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:49 pm
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