traction advice
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jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
traction advice on 05/22/2007 09:20:06 MDT Print View

Heading out for 3 day weekend in northern N.H. where there are mixed reports of trail conditions. Still have 2' to 3' of snow and ice above 3,000' with raging streams, daytime temps will be in the 70's lower 40's at night. Planning on wearing trail runners with stabalizer's for traction on ice. Not sure if traction other then snowshoes and crampons have been covered here before? any imput on what could be used for this type of travel?

Edited by florigen on 05/22/2007 10:26:35 MDT.

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Re: traction advice on 05/22/2007 12:27:12 MDT Print View

I've never used stablizers (or yaktrax or any of the other "traction devices"), so my opinion my not be totally accurate, but my understanding of these devices is that they work fairly well as long as you're on snow or flat ice. I'd say if you plan on going up anything more than 5 or 10 degree hard ice, you would probably do better (and safer) with crampons. So, my answer would be "it depends". Someone with more experience with these devices could probably provide a better answer.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Re: Re: traction advice on 05/22/2007 14:49:01 MDT Print View

Hi James,
Usually would opt for crampons on any type of vertical ice that was hard pack. With conditions described its sounds like trails will most likely be slushy & slick. Have used stabalizer's on slick trails that are vertical with a fair amount of success where ice was not thick enough for crampon use. Have heard there have been issues with durability with Yaktrak's on rocky trails. The one trade off would be the weight of Stabalizer's opposed to Yaktraks, stabalizer's weight in at a little over a pound. Was going to add hex shaped screws to tread of trail runner's but process seemed way too time consuming to do while on the trail.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: traction advice on 05/22/2007 19:56:48 MDT Print View

Jim, I've used all three traction devices you are considering extensively and still have a hard time deciding which one to use.

Stabilizers are very durable and easy to take on and off. The down side is that they are very heavy compared to the alternatives. My very old size mediums weigh about 24 oz. for the pair.

Yaktrax pros are light and easy to take on and off (5 oz. a pair for my size medium) but not very durable. I've already broken three pair.

Screw shoes are the lightest of all and the cheapest. One down side is that the screws can work themselves out and you have to replace some of them on the trail. The biggest disadvantage for me is that you can't take them on and off easily as trail conditions change. If you decide to go this route bring a nut driver rather than a screw driver. They are a lot easier to use with the sheet metal hex screws than a screw driver.

edit: just noticed that you'll be also facing two to three feet of snow. In that case screw shoes are out because you don't want to use them with your snowshoes. I'd probably take my Yaktrax pros in addition to snowshoes and try to be really careful around the rocks.

Edited by Dondo on 05/22/2007 20:08:36 MDT.

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Re: Re: Re: traction advice on 05/22/2007 22:47:19 MDT Print View

Jim,
Just throwing ideas out there, but for a little bit more weight and space than the stablizers, you could bring an extra pair of light trailrunners with screws already in the sole. Switching back and forth wouldn't be quite as convienient, but then you would have a pair of cleaner, drier shoes to throw on after you get out of the sloppy stuff. I don't know if this would work for your weight and space budgets, but just throwing it out as food for thought.

Edited by james481 on 05/22/2007 22:47:49 MDT.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Traction advice, Thanks! on 05/23/2007 07:17:26 MDT Print View

Dondo,
Thanks for confirmation on Yaxtrax have heard mixed reviews on the Pro version, was looking at a pair at a local outfitter and had my doubts, would be a real downer to be quite a ways out and have this type of equipment failure. Also hex sheet metal seemed like a good option but down time for putting them in and then removing seemed like it would be way too time consuming

James,
Was thinking about two pairs of footwear, Good call on having a cleaner pair, trail runners I will be using are pretty well ventilated and will be bringing dry socks and using stuff sacks over them for in camp comfort. Most likely will take the stabalizer's seems like the best option for now. Really trying to avoid snowshoes since trail reports from this area are usually reading that people carried them and used only in a short section or managed to get by without them.

Thanks for your much appreciated advice, can be challenging this time of the year with gear selection in the N.E. with the sign's greeting you at trailhead's up here with the message "Home of the worlds worst weather" you really never quite know what to expect.
Jim

Edited by florigen on 05/23/2007 08:42:23 MDT.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Traction advice, Thanks! on 05/23/2007 08:17:58 MDT Print View

Jim, I know what you mean about "the worlds worst weather". I'm originally from the Northeast and have had my butt kicked a time or two in the Presidential Range. But I guess that's just part of the fun of it. Have a great trip!

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Re: Re: Traction advice, Thanks! on 05/23/2007 08:47:06 MDT Print View

Hi Dondo,
It's funny how that works out with getting your butt kicked up there and still keep going back for more. 3 Day loop is going to be in the Pemi wilderness area starting with the Bonds to Garfield over Lafayette and Liberty then out. I'm sure something will be sore after this one.

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
instep crampons?? on 06/11/2007 06:39:10 MDT Print View

Can you still buy those little instep crampons that strap under the arch section of your shoe?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
traction advice on 06/11/2007 08:13:12 MDT Print View

ULA Equipment has them. http://ula-equipment.com/axis.htm

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: instep crampons?? on 06/11/2007 10:54:21 MDT Print View

You can, but they don't really work except on icy flat ground - if the snow's slushy or steep then they don't help. The 6 point Camp ones that go under your forefoot might be OK but I don't know anyone who's used them.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: traction advice on 06/11/2007 14:55:42 MDT Print View

Have you considered Kahtoolas? They're not especially light nor inexpensive, but they work well with a variety of footwear, including trail runners, and perform on a variety of surfaces and slope angles.

The aluminums are lighter and have shorter teeth than the steels, but get chewed up on rock.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
traction advice follow up on 06/11/2007 19:00:02 MDT Print View

Thanks all,
Time has past since original posting & ended up bringing stabalizer's which were on and off trail runners once I gained elevation. Conditions for that trip were rather challenging, dry at the trail head with sloppy snow and ice sections at higher elevations, crampons/instep would have been overkill on all sections. Ran into additional issues with snow melt at water crossing that were about 2' deep & raging having to wade through a few sections, extra socks were essential on that outing.
It's now black fly season up there & will be off the trail until about/around the first week in July then after that will be going out every weekend until the end of November for a total of 25 back to back trips.
Thanks again
Jim