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Thread: Carrying Full Crampons

  1. #1
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    Carrying Full Crampons

    I had a question for those of you that own MSR snowshoes (either Denali Evos or Lightning Ascents). Given the greater traction of these snowshoes, do you find that you carry full crampons less often on your winter hikes? I am always looking to save weight, and I was wondering if purchasing a pair of MSR snowshoes would cause me to leave my crampons in the car more often.

    Thanks,

    Walter

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    I'm no expert on this but wondering if the answer is seasonal. Once we get into late March and April and wind dependent, is it possible that still deep snow on the way up could change to ice covered rock on large portions of wind-blown summits and exposed below summit areas? Would snowshoes be worn in these sections of pure ice or would you really want to change to crampons?

  3. #3
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I have not carried (except once in Dec), needed, or even wanted my crampons yet this calendar winter season - for 17 peaks.

    I have used crampons exactly three times in bagging 41 peaks (some repeats), over 26 trips, but only because I had them and felt like trying them out. I have not ever been in conditions where I could not have made do with MSRs, or Microspikes.

    YMMV, of course. IANAL. I do not consider myself an expert on winter hiking. I have almost no experience with shoulder season hiking. I can count my April 4K ascents on a fist (i.e., zero) since I am working on the honey-do yard list, little league, etc.

    Tim
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I have not carried (except once in Dec), needed, or even wanted my crampons yet this calendar winter season - for 17 peaks.

    I have used crampons exactly three times in bagging 41 peaks (some repeats), over 26 trips, but only because I had them and felt like trying them out. I have not ever been in conditions where I could not have made do with MSRs, or Microspikes.

    Tim
    I have to echo Tim on this one and say that because of using the MSRs I wear crampons less frequently.

    And perhaps this is just is me, but when I know I'm going up on a Presi summit cone and am not sure whether or not I'm going to get good packed snow/fill between the rocks, I carry crampons -- although I've yet to put them on this year.

    I suspect that as some of the snow melts in the next couple of months I'll be wearing the crampons more on the summit cones.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WJM View Post
    I had a question for those of you that own MSR snowshoes (either Denali Evos or Lightning Ascents). Given the greater traction of these snowshoes, do you find that you carry full crampons less often on your winter hikes? I am always looking to save weight, and I was wondering if purchasing a pair of MSR snowshoes would cause me to leave my crampons in the car more often.

    Thanks,

    Walter
    It just depends on how badly you want to summit!

    Seriously, if you do not absolutely know the conditions, the more prepared you are, (beyond bringing 100 pounds of gear), the better.

    There are times when crampons are essential, but admittedly, with MSRs, they are rare. However, you will know these conditions when you encounter them! It will be when you are sailing down the mountain on your a$$, unable to stop, and a nasty drop off is rapidly getting closer!
    Tom Rankin
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    Member BF's Avatar
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    Crampons

    Pack for winter conditions. If you do not know 100% of the time what the conditions are then rule of thumb is to carry the same gear all the time. That is all the gear one should have to complete a winter hike. You don't use and I'm sure you don't plan to use a first aid kit, but, you still carry one. (Don't you?)

  7. #7
    Senior Member bcskier's Avatar
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    Hard water ice ahead? MSRs no go.

    When there are ribbons of water ice at any angle beyond horizontal the MSRs won't be of any help. Factor that into your plans. FWEIW, I left my crampons in the car on the Sugarloaf, Spaulding, Abraham trip I did recently because I had the MSRs.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I have not carried (except once in Dec), needed, or even wanted my crampons yet this calendar winter season - for 17 peaks. Tim
    Ditto. With about the same number of peaks this winter I have not carried my crampons for the same reasons and one other.

    I used to wear my crampons as folks now wear Microspikes. Any time the trail was packed and deep enough I wore the crampons. I have a set of SMC hinged crampons that are just as comfortable as Microspikes and more effective. I used to feel like Spiderman out there with them. But then I switched hiking partners. My Airedale Duffy ran free and I never thought about stepping on him. Lauky has to stay attached and I'm afraid of stepping on his foot so since I started hiking with him I haven't worn the crampons.

    I have found that between my MSRs and my Hillsound mini crampons I am covered for almost anything. Just in case I did find myself in a situation where I needed something more I also picked up some instep crampons which take very little space but I've never needed them.

    I should mention I also carry an ultralight ice ax which I've used mostly on steep slopes with soft powder.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member TMax's Avatar
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    I find that I use crampons less often since I started using MSR's, but I still always carry them. Like others have said, when you need them, you need them and it's worth carrying them along. It sometimes means making a summit, or getting back down safely.
    TMax
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  10. #10
    Member Tito Alba's Avatar
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    Like other repliers, I carry microspikes, hinged crampons, and MSR Evo Ascents when I venture out in winter conditions. The crampons are way nimbler than the snowshoes in tight conditions. Rather be switchin' up than getting busted up!

    Carried a 85cm Black Diamond ice ax last time out and it was worth it's weight in gold.
    Last edited by Tito Alba; 03-02-2010 at 11:47 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the responses. Some interesting and useful information.

    Walter

  12. #12
    Senior Member ferrisjrf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tito Alba View Post
    Carried a 85cm Black Diamond ice ax...
    Wow! Are you like 7 feet tall?

    That's huge.

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