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Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
traction devices on 07/06/2011 18:01:10 MDT Print View

Hey everyone! Witht the big snowpack this year, I'm looking for some feedback with regards to the pros and cons of using a bonafide pair of traction devices for the passes on the SHR. The two I keep seeing are the Kahtoolas or the Kakos, or any others taht might come to mind. I've had miles and miles of work in real crampons, but not in these styles. So the question is is this; Is the weight worth the gain with traction, and speed over the passes in question given that this is a heavy snow year. And if not, what might you recommend.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
bump on 07/10/2011 20:39:57 MDT Print View

I'd like to know as well. I do see a lot of rave reviews of the microspikes, so there are obviously some happy campers w/ them.

I find a lot of early (I guess it's late actually) snow is soft and post holing becomes a real problem, traction devices (short of snow shoes) aren't going to help much in those conditions

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: traction devices on 07/11/2011 17:46:27 MDT Print View

"So the question is is this; Is the weight worth the gain with traction, and speed over the passes in question given that this is a heavy snow year. And if not, what might you recommend."

The "bindings" on the Kahtoolas are a stretchy rubber like material, which I wouldn't trust on anything much over a 20-25 degree slope, and the spikes are pretty short. Basically, they're good for hard packed snow up to about 20-25 degrees and very low angle ice. Anything beyond that and I'd consider some lightweight aluminum crampons if I were taking anything at all. The Kahtoolas weigh almost 13 oz in a medium, and 14.4 in a large, so the weight penalty wouldn't be that great. All that said, I'd bet you won't need them unless you're going late enough in the year for the north facing slopes to ice up.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: traction devices on 07/11/2011 20:25:42 MDT Print View

Some PCT hikers that I know who hiked last year, which was also a high snow year (not nearly as high, but still high) the consensus was that the Kathoola KTS aluminum crampons were the best thing since sliced bread. Much better than the microspikes and better than real crampons because they didn't have the dangerous aspects of real crampons.