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Traction device for Grand canyon in March
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Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Traction device for Grand canyon in March on 01/01/2009 21:05:31 MST Print View

So I might be going on a trip to the grand canyon in March. My hiking partner informed me that I should look into some kind of traction device for the rim area as snow maybe an issue. So here is my question: how much Snow is there at the rim that time of year and if so what kind of crampon or spiky thing would you suggest. I use light hiking boots like the montrail namche. I have been looking at the kahtoola micro spikes and the kahtool kts steel crampons. The micro spikes look nice but I am not sure if they wood be enough. I thank everyone in advance for your info.Also is an ice axe needed at that time of year? Also I don't mind the weight of the steel crampons if they will be more useful overtime. If you think that the steel crampons are overkill and the microspike would be more useful overtime then I'd like to know this also.
Thanks again, Josh

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
GC snow on 01/01/2009 21:13:10 MST Print View

the only way to tell how much snow is in GC in march is to wait until March. Its really hit or miss.
I did hike a mile or so down the rim on the Grandview trail last spring and used yaktrax in a foot of snow. trail runners on feet. they worked well for $20

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Instep Ice Cleats on 01/01/2009 21:23:05 MST Print View

Hi Josh,

Snow at the rim usually is no more than 1 mile or so down the trail, if any at all. The inexpensive instep, 4 cornered ice cleats that fit around the boot with a single strap will be sufficient. They cost about ten bucks a pair and are sometimes sold at the store there at the Grand Canyon. Expensive mountaineering crampons would be difficult to walk in and would pierce the snow cover and become snagged on the rocks. I have never thought that I needed an ice ax. Most of these hikes involved snow either going down or coming back up and at times I have appreciated having the instep cleats.

Edited by johnk on 01/01/2009 21:24:17 MST.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Traction in GC in March on 01/01/2009 21:29:48 MST Print View

Maybe Steve Evans will be finished with his ti walking crampon in time to use these. I would think they would work well for condition you would encounter.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Instep Ice Cleats on 01/01/2009 22:03:54 MST Print View

Agree with John Kays. If I went again I'd get the cheapos at the rim store. When I went in March 2005, I did the screw shoe thing.

Karl Keating
(kkeating) - F
Skip ax, take YakTrax on 01/02/2009 11:37:15 MST Print View

I've hiked from the South Rim two or three times in March. The last time I was there in March, I arrived at the rim during Arizona's largest snowstorm of the year, yet the snow ended about 2,500 feet below the rim. I found that my YakTrax were sufficient and were needed more for going back up, when the trail was icy, than when going down. There definitely was no use for an ice ax.

Another thing to keep in mind: In March, it will be cold on the rim, perhaps below freezing in the morning. But once you get halfway to the river, the air will be much warmer, and you'll have no use for your warmest clothing. You can save weight if you're willing to be chilly for the first couple of hours of hiking down.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
instep crampons on 01/02/2009 12:51:03 MST Print View

I used cheap, 4-point instep crampons on a couple of winter hikes in the Grand Canyon, and they were perfect. Unless it's snowed very recently, all the snow on the trail will be compressed into ice by all the hikers. All you need is something that bites into the ice a little bit.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
thanks on 01/02/2009 20:53:28 MST Print View

Thanks everyone. I knew this was the place to ask. So I'm leaning towards the kahtoola micro-spikes. Anyone like them or not. Anyother brand someone could recommend. Looking for a useful traction device not just something I would use once and the rest of the time wish I had something better or something that will break.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
instep Ice Cleats on 01/02/2009 22:05:44 MST Print View


before you plop down $60 for ice walkers you may never need, take a look at these for $10.60

they are probably much lighter as well thus allowing you to remain a full fledged member of this forum :>)

Tony Fleming
(TonyFleming) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Another alternative on 01/02/2009 23:14:21 MST Print View

Hi Josh,

Here is another alternative for light snow and ice


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
route? on 01/03/2009 00:41:10 MST Print View

It really depends on what trails you're looking at. All will likely be icey down a thousand feet or so. On some (S Kaibab, N Kaibab, Bright Angel, S Bass) this is merely an inconvenience, and a reasonably well-balanced hiker will need no spiky things. Others (Grandview, New Hance) have exposed bits that could more problematic.

Those $10 CMI things look like the ticket if you insist.

Btw, I did the Royal Arch loop last March, and had a fantastic time. It's a great time of year to be in the canyon. The most adventurous part of the trip was 4x4in' through the snow and muck to the TH.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: thanks on 01/03/2009 06:16:46 MST Print View

"So I'm leaning towards the kahtoola micro-spikes. Anyone like them or not."

I really like them. I don't know if you'll need them in the Grand Canyon but I use them all the time here in Colorado.

They are great in conditions where you don't need full-on crampons or snowshoes. I prefer them to instep crampons because the "teeth" at the heel and toe allow for a much more natural stride. And they are much more durable than Yaktrax.

Edited by Dondo on 01/03/2009 06:22:55 MST.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
I got the micro- spikes on 01/04/2009 19:23:10 MST Print View

Thanks everyone. I picked up the micro-spikes today because I felt like I would use them more in the long run and they seem like a good product. John Kays, guess I'll have to start my own cult called Backpackingsortoflight.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
microspikes on 01/04/2009 21:51:34 MST Print View

I have a pair and they pop off and on pretty easy. Use around here is limited but I figure they should last me a decade or so.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
Re: I got the micro- spikes on 01/05/2009 08:57:23 MST Print View

I think the micro-spikes were a good call. Cheaper than the kahtoola kts and like another poster said, allows for a more natural stride. The general consensus from the few runners I've talked to is that the yaktrax tend to get destroyed a bit more easily. Plus, I like the additional bite that the microspikes have. Not as cheap as some of the other options but provides good, even traction throughout. Easy to take on and off and just throw in a pack. I've been very happy running with them on hills with ice.

And I'm probably going to have to become a member of Backpackingsortoflight :)

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Sure you can join on 01/05/2009 09:05:14 MST Print View

You only have to break the 17 lb. base weight and have an extra day of food and at least a litter and a half of water in your pack when you get back to the truck.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Sure you can join on 01/05/2009 09:14:14 MST Print View

Hahaha. I'm out then. My food is always GONE!! Even the extra emergency chocolate :(