Using microspikes outside of the snow?
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 06/03/2012 20:18:08 MDT Print View

It's a weird question, but here me out.
There is a nice peak overlooking my town that I love to hike up to. The approach to a flat grassy area we hang out at is at a sudden and very steep incline with 2-3 foot tall grass. From the wind and people rolling down the hill (lots of fun!), the grass sometimes get pushed over onto the ground. In the summer it can get super slippery. It's kind of hilarious to walk up. This got me thinking, what if I put on my microspikes? It would dig in really well and it's just dirt below the grass.
Here is another example... There have been a few times where I have walked (off trail) down some steep slopes that were completely blanketed with fallen leaves. I have slipped more that once that way. The only way to counter it is to jog downhill in a way that my foot hits the ground hard enough to dig in to the dirt or butt slide. This mostly happens in the summer or fall when the ground is too hard for my shoes to dig in to the dirt.

So here is the question... do you think microspikes would be useful for some bushwacking situations where traction is a concern? Keep in mind that I mostly hike in cheap canvas sneakers which have no traction compared to trail shoes, so that might be partially my problem.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
work on 06/03/2012 21:24:23 MDT Print View

itll work ... just watch out for enviro weenies complaining about you destroying trails ;)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 06/07/2012 19:22:14 MDT Print View

bump.... just wondering if anyone has done this.

Jeffrey List
(jlist) - M

Locale: Cape Cod
Get different shoes instead on 06/08/2012 07:25:12 MDT Print View

microspikes are heavy, so any advantage is usually lost.
I've had good luck in steep/wet/grass conditions wearing a shoe with a very agressive tread, for example the Inov-8 "Mudclaw."

Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
I've used Microspikes and Crampons off-snow on 10/12/2012 03:02:22 MDT Print View

I've used Microspikes in some non-snow situations. Also, on the way back from Big Cragggy in the Pasayten wilderness, I used crampons for a stream crossing on a wet piece of wood that was part of an old bridge that was in the process of getting destroyed. On Goat Mountain in the North Cascades in Washington state, I spent an hour going about a quarter mile in a steep grassy area (more or less dry, even) where I was really uncomfortable about possibly falling in a place where the runout would not have been good. That was before I owned either crampons or Microspikes. I later read in the book "Don't Die on the Mountain" that the author suggested using crampons on steep, grassy slopes. Using Microspikes might make sense in those places as well.

Edited by northwesterner on 10/12/2012 03:03:20 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: I've used Microspikes and Crampons off-snow on 10/12/2012 09:03:37 MDT Print View

Yeah, what Andres said. An ice axe is sometimes used on a dirty hillside for the same reason. In the gully of a moraine, it can be really difficult to get up the last few feet to the ridge. Rocks are embedded into the dirt, but if you push on them, they tend to slip down. Since the hillside is often vertical at that point (for a few feet) an ice axe can be handy. Microspikes (or crampons) might help, but not as much as an ice axe.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: I've used Microspikes and Crampons off-snow on 10/12/2012 09:15:32 MDT Print View

Don't use Yaktrax off snow (on rocks)

The rubber pieces on the bottom get cut and break

Don't walk on rocks you say?

But where I go, where there are icy places that need traction, there are also occasionally rocks, and it's inconvenient to be taking them off and putting them back on

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: I've used Microspikes and Crampons off-snow on 10/12/2012 13:14:45 MDT Print View

I think that is the one advantage of Yaktraks. Microspikes provide better traction, but Yaktraks are a bit easier to slip on and off.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: I've used Microspikes and Crampons off-snow on 10/12/2012 13:56:48 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input.

I tried some microspikes with my vivobarefoot aquas (very minimal and flexible shoes). They worked great. A little uncomfortable and the very front tended to slip off ever once and a while. But very effective.
They are heavy and one of those things that you are reluctant to carry.

What do you mean by "rocks"? Do you mean small rocks embedded in the soil or big exposed rocks and boulders? If there are a lot of rocks on the surface, that would give me plenty of surface to push off of.

Ryan Nakahara
(kife42) - F

Locale: Hawaii
microspikes on 10/12/2012 18:24:28 MDT Print View

Haha you'd be surprised. A _lot_ of hikers use these in Hawaii lately.

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Re: Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 10/12/2012 19:54:30 MDT Print View

*

Edited by Jivaro on 10/13/2012 09:21:57 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 10/13/2012 00:41:22 MDT Print View

Yes, I've seen people use them for very steep, slippery dirt or mud slopes. May be hard on the trail, but usually it's in spots already being eroded due to the steepness.

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
Have you ever even heard of erosion? on 10/13/2012 07:08:43 MDT Print View

Please, please don't do this. Please. Spikes/crampons/etc are for snow and ice, not for destroying mountainsides.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 10/13/2012 07:22:36 MDT Print View

Purchase an appropriate pair of shoes for a wide range of conditions. It sounds like an aggressive outsole like that of the La Sportiva Crosslite would benefit you. Microspikes are really hard on the trail and unnecessarily damaging. Walk lightly, move quickly, and choose your footing wisely.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Have you ever even heard of erosion? on 10/13/2012 07:25:36 MDT Print View

Clayton, what do you do in the paramo in Ecuador?

As far as erosion, sliding down a saturated hill causes far more damage and erosion than holes from spikes. There are places where it would be inappropriate, but in general (with feet, tires, etc), sufficient traction is always better when it comes to preventing erosion.

edit: I do agree with Eugene that proper footwear in the first place is a better solution.

Edited by brendans on 10/13/2012 07:28:03 MDT.

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Re: Re: Have you ever even heard of erosion? on 10/13/2012 08:27:41 MDT Print View

*

Edited by Jivaro on 10/13/2012 09:21:23 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 10/13/2012 16:15:06 MDT Print View

Eugene, I never once mentioned anything about a trail.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
@ Clayton on 10/13/2012 17:40:47 MDT Print View

Just realized my question was poorly worded and was possibly (?) misunderstood. I'd send you a PM but looks like don't have a address set up. I meant to ask if you work/live in Ecuador and spend a lot of time in the paramo. I spent a little bit of time down there a few years ago and it blew my mind. One of the coolest ecosystems I've been in. Would love to get back.

Anyway, carry on...

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: Re: Using microspikes outside of the snow? on 10/13/2012 18:42:49 MDT Print View

"Eugene, I never once mentioned anything about a trail."

Off trail, on trail, whatever...

If there isn't a compacted layer of snow or ice, Microspikes are heavy handed for the task. Do what you're going to do Justin, it seems you've made up your mind already.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
OKAAAAY! on 10/14/2012 01:18:02 MDT Print View

Senior Smith,

If used mainly off-trail and ON GRASS I can see using Microspikes as a safety item. Just try to descend on a different area to minimize the wear and tear on the grass.

AS a former professional trail builder I hate to see "foot made trails" as much as anyone but safety is safety and my advice above stands.

On trail they should be unnecesary.