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Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Snowshoes - MSR Women's, Northern Lites or Other? on 02/21/2013 17:05:17 MST Print View

I'm considering picking up a pair of snowshoes for my girlfriend and I was thinking it would be nice if they could double as lightweight snowshoes for myself on spring sierra trips when I might not be wearing them the entire time. Her use would mainly be for fairly easy winter overnighters in the sierra as well as some day hikes. I estimate that I would be around 250 lbs with a pack and she would be about 100 lbs less than that. Some options I'm considering are:

MSR Lightning Ascent - Women's (7.25" x 22" and 3 lb 7 oz)
Northern Lites Elites (8" x 25" and 2 lb 8 oz)
Northern Lites Backcountry (9" x 30" and 2 lb 13 oz)

A few questions:

- Would the MSR's or the Elites just be too small and inadequate for someone of my size?

- For the trips when Julie would use them, is there a good chance that the NL Backcountry shoes would be too cumbersome for her?

- Other options that could work? Or just a bad idea all together? The priority would be to get snowshoes that would work well for her. Me saving a little weight over my 4 lb 7 oz 30" MSR Lightning Ascents for spring trips would just be a bonus.

Edited by csteutterman on 02/22/2013 11:32:16 MST.

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Snow Shoes MSR Or Northern Lites on 02/21/2013 18:08:20 MST Print View

I think the answer is "it depends".

It depends on snow conditions, and types of routes. If you are going up and down slopes, you will need the extra traction of the MSR.

Will you and your girlfriend be wearing packs?

I own a pair of MSR Denali Ascents. I have the tails for extra flotation but have only used them twice. Most of the time in the Sierra Nevada where we get rather wet snow, the conditions are consolidated enough that you do not need the extra flotation. I must ask where you are going where you expect the snow shoes to spend most of the time on your back?

I have seen many people have trouble with the fancy new snowboard like bindings of the MSR Lightenings. The older pull straps on the MSR Denalis and Classics seem more reliable and simpler.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Snow Shoes MSR Or Northern Lites on 02/21/2013 18:41:34 MST Print View

Thanks Bruce.

"I must ask where you are going where you expect the snow shoes to spend most of the time on your back?"

Good question. Maybe "most" was a poor word choice (I edited the original post). I don't have any particular routes in mind at the moment, but I was planning on extending my sierra backpacking season into the spring this year and had envisioned trips with snow up high where snowshoes would be useful, but not much snow down low. This article got me thinking about it: http://mountaineducation.org/mountain-education-pages/resources/snowshoes-in-spring-sierra.php

Edited by csteutterman on 02/22/2013 15:59:57 MST.

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Snow Shoes on 02/24/2013 22:28:35 MST Print View

Interesting article

In the Sierras on the crest say 8500 to 9000 feet In the shoulder season, like Spring or October when hiking on icy trails I find Microspikes or sometimes light aluminum crampons useful. I doubt I woudl carry snow snoes since you are always putting them on and taking them off.

There was one year when over Memorial Day weekend I went into the Snow Mtn Wilderness in Mendocino County. I had neglected to remember that March that year had brought lot of snow. I had a horrible time postholing and did run into one party walking lightly on top of the snow in their MSRs.