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Sort of crampons, sort of mini snowshoes for use with your slippers
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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Sort of crampons, sort of mini snowshoes for use with your slippers on 12/23/2011 14:27:02 MST Print View

Justin started a thread about how to transit spring snow packs in VERY minimal shoes. Soft and flexible low-cuts. And I imagined having a stiff platform might (1) provide a way to have spikes and (2) provide more floatation. 32 minutes in the garage proved that, yes, you can have both those traits.Top view, plywood crampon

Let me just say: I'm not suggesting this for anything but low-angle snowfields and if you have exposure to downhill nastiness, then have self-arrest capacity regardless of what you have on your feet. Personally, I'd just wear stiffer boots and crampons in most cases, but I did find that a slight increase in area greatly decreased postholing.

Anyway, it's 5" x 15" of 5/8" T-111 plywood (because I had it lying around). The heel cup is cut from a steel can and the edges were smoothed on a beltsander and then covered with metallic tape. The heel cup is secured with 4 1-1/4" #7 sheet rock screws. Under the ball of the foot, there are 4 more such screws. And I cut four slots for a 3/4" x 36" nylon strap with a ladder lock fastex buckle. Here's the bottom:Bottom of crampon

The grooves are routered out of the bottom of the plywood. My thought was to have something akin to a Vibram sole and to resist side-slipping in softer snow.

I wore my softest, most slipper-like shoes (a pair of Merrill's slip-on low-cuts in mesh fabric) and tried them on undisturbed snow, shoveled-refrozen snow banks and the icy driveway.

Floatation versus postholing

In undisturbed, I got much less postholing (2-3") with the plywood than with the plain shoes (4 to 16"). In refrozen shoveled snow, neither sunk in but like on ice, I got much better grip because of the 8 screw tips pointing down.

400 grams for one. So not SUL, but it only took me 32 minutes to make and test. With tweeks and varnishing, maybe 1.5-2 hours and $8 of materials. So I'd be fine mailing them to myself just before the snowy passes and tossing them when not needed.

Tweeks: I'd add a heel strap. I'd varnish it so it didn't absorb water as readily. And I'd consider cuting an inch or so off the front because it would allow a more natural stride - less like wearing snowshoes. I used 1-1/4" #7 screws because my 2" #10s in stainless didn't have threads all the way up, but a little longer and a little beefier would have been better. About 1-3/4" in #8, 9, or 10.

Redesign #1: I'd laminate 1/8" door skin plywood onto 1/2" rigid foam to greatly reduce the weight. In other arenas of my life (boats, planes, treehouses) foam-core construction does wonders for weight reduction.

Redesign #2: Justin originally asked just about stiffening up the sole of his shoe. Using more surface area to get better floatation was my idea. 3/8" plywood cut just smaller than his shoe would provide a cheap set of 8-point crampons and weigh about 150 grams each. Way cheap.

Yes, I know it's a hack job. And not for everyone. I just wanted to see if the concept worked.

I was most pleased by the steel can heel cup. Strong, light and bomber - it got very strong once its bottom was screwed to the plywood.

Editted to correct typos.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 12/23/2011 14:42:25 MST.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Sort of crampons, sort of mini snowshoes on 12/23/2011 14:43:55 MST Print View

I love the creativity. This is what cold winter days were made for--geeking out on MYOG possibilities. Thanks for sharing...

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
oh yeah on 12/23/2011 21:08:20 MST Print View

I dig it. Full disclosure, if I throw a pair together I will also be writing ROKET SHIP on them, because roket ships are awesome!

I've been thinking of how to get just a little more float in sun softened stuff, this fits the bill.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Sort of crampons, sort of mini snowshoes for use with your slippers on 12/23/2011 22:22:30 MST Print View

Soooo practical. I love them.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Sort of crampons, sort of mini snowshoes for use with your slippers on 12/23/2011 23:26:44 MST Print View

lol, that's cool david!

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
great idea on 12/24/2011 04:45:19 MST Print View

I love it. I just might have most of the raw matierals laying around in my basement. Might have to order the roket ship plywood, do you sell it?



Edited by dmgoody on 12/24/2011 04:45:49 MST.

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
I wouldn't use that contraption... on 12/24/2011 06:21:49 MST Print View

There have been several deaths related to the use of that kind of "crampons". they might work on flat surfaces, only on flat surfaces.

In the book "Safety and Risk" (translation of the name, don't know if there's an english edition) by Pit Schubert, the director of the security section of the Deutsche Alpin Club, you can se a few of the accident analysis. With gore pictures.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sort of crampons, sort of mini snowshoes for use with your slippers on 12/24/2011 16:14:13 MST Print View

This one reminds me of another way to speed up snow travel
snow speed test

ziff house
(mrultralite) - F
i suspect on 12/24/2011 20:35:20 MST Print View

the screws do not offer up enough surface area to provide grip. Easy to solve though and a good start.
Best snowshoes i've ever seen were an antique pair of a friend, like upsidedown dinner plates [not round] with a big rim , very simple ,they go anywhere.