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Thread: Edmunds Col Fatality

  1. #61
    Senior Member RollingRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    The popularity of microspkes, etc. is well deserved, as anyone who has done extended mileage in 12-point crampons knows.

    During descent the torque loads crampons place on knees, ankles and hips is significant, especially in mixed rocky and icy conditions. And, 12-points seem to snag any root or rock the front points can reach, making trips and falls more likely as fatigue increases.

    IMHO crampons offer a compromise between safety/security on pure ice and ease of travel on scratchy trails.

    At least the advent of step-in bindings makes swapping back-and-forth easier, if you have the discipline to do it.

    For a soloist, the stakes can be high.

    cb
    I was coming off North Kinsman last weekend with sections of significant ice flows. MicroSpikes were fine going up but decided to use 12-point crampons for the descent. I agree that I was concerned about the front two fangs snagging on a root or rock. I thought about going back to MicroSpikes.

    And yes, wearing them seemed to wear my arthritic knees and ankles...hobbled back to the truck at the bottom. After this experience, I'm definitely going to buy 10-point crampons next winter for these sort of conditions.
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  2. #62
    Senior Member RollingRock's Avatar
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    Has there been any word or press as to what may have happened to this victim?
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  3. #63
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingRock View Post
    Has there been any word or press as to what may have happened to this victim?
    I have not seen anything official but was told by a long time member of S&R in the Whites that a fall was involved. Consider it hearsay for now, but the source is legitimate or I would not post it. I am interested in any details if they ever come to light. RIP.

    I slide on ice descending in microspikes. I much prefer G-10s in these conditions. I wear microspikes when I can, but if I go above treeline, I usually have the G-10s with me. I would say I lean on the conservative side when it comes to traction compared to most hikers in the Whites. I'll put on crampons sooner than others as I simply like the absolute confidence I have when in them compared to lesser traction. I agree about them being rough on feet and ankles though, but I guess that's the trade off for much better traction.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    I have not seen anything official but was told by a long time member of S&R in the Whites that a fall was involved. Consider it hearsay for now, but the source is legitimate or I would not post it. I am interested in any details if they ever come to light. RIP.

    I slide on ice descending in microspikes. I much prefer G-10s in these conditions. I wear microspikes when I can, but if I go above treeline, I usually have the G-10s with me. I would say I lean on the conservative side when it comes to traction compared to most hikers in the Whites. I'll put on crampons sooner than others as I simply like the absolute confidence I have when in them compared to lesser traction. I agree about them being rough on feet and ankles though, but I guess that's the trade off for much better traction.
    With regard to the hiker I heard the same thing (possibly from the same source).

    With regard to Microspikes I think they are a great product. They may be too good, as some people treat them as a substitute for crampons in all conditions. This winter/spring in particular I carry both on most hikes. (I have not had much use for snowshoes in recent weeks.) On modest Tecumseh yesterday, I ascended in spikes but was uncomfortable near the top and therefore wore crampons on the hike out. It made me much more confident with my foot placements. Very few other hikers seemed to have crampons.

  5. #65
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingRock View Post
    I was coming off North Kinsman last weekend with sections of significant ice flows. MicroSpikes were fine going up but decided to use 12-point crampons for the descent. I agree that I was concerned about the front two fangs snagging on a root or rock. I thought about going back to MicroSpikes.

    And yes, wearing them seemed to wear my arthritic knees and ankles...hobbled back to the truck at the bottom. After this experience, I'm definitely going to buy 10-point crampons next winter for these sort of conditions.
    Front points are useful when facing into the slope. Without them, one must use French technique (flat footing) which requires skill and flexible ankles and can be very difficult to impossible on steep hard ice. With front points, one can turn into the slope and use the front points (ascending or descending) on steep ice and snow. You would also want a mountaineering [technical] ice axe and the skills to use the gear properly and safely.

    When descending with a normal stride, the [bottom] points grab into the ice and prevent normal foot shock absorption thus passing the shock up to the knees... 10-point crampons will not prevent this. Short of rappelling, descending on steep ice puts a lot of stress on the ankles and knees. Unless you carry rappelling gear or want to cut steps going down (requires a very long axe and is very slow and tiring)*, you should consider the difficulties of descent on the way up and decide whether to turn back or continue.

    * Step cutting is only used for short sections today. Before the invention of crampons, it was the standard method of ascending and descending steep ice and hard snow. BTW, one usually uses the ice axe pick to cut steps in hard ice.

    While one needs to be a bit more careful with 12-point crampons compared to 10-point crampons, I think most people will find the extra utility to be worth the extra care. Learning a bit of both crampon and ice axe technical technique can also be very useful to a hiker in these conditions. (Icy trails often become technical terrain...)

    Doug
    ex-ice climber

  6. #66
    Senior Member bcskier's Avatar
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    Also an ex-ice climber who has used microspikes and technical crampons on icy trail surfaces. I agree with all that has been said about the relative advantages & disadvantages of each type of traction device. One additional style of traction device is worth considering and I feel it fills the gap pretty well between the two under discussion. Hillsound trail crampons have a more aggressive set of teeth than microspikes but due to the similarities with the m/s attachment system avoid much of the knee pain problems of hiking in full crampons. Descending X-Rivendell trail on Cube this Feb. with a friend who ascended in m/s but descended in his full 12-points I had the ability to compare his progress with my Hillsounds. At least for that trail, with the modest amount of ice we encountered, they were perfectly adequate and saved my knees on the descent. My friend did not feel safe on the m/s for the descent while I had complete confidence in what I was wearing. I will say I spent a few minutes at the top making sure the rearmost points came as close to the back edge of my heels as I could get them. I have had situations where I found if they were more than 1/2 inch too far forward, the points did not make contact before the edge of the heel on the steeper stuff and I was off on a slide before I could roll my foot forward. As Doug stated, some sections of NE trails can become technical and having the gear for those sections or the ability to safely adapt (step cutting for a brief section or traversing off into the trees) is an important consideration.
    Last edited by bcskier; 03-28-2016 at 07:56 PM.

  7. #67
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    Hillsounds do definitely have a significant traction advantage over Kahtoolas and they worked quite well on a hike up Kearsage North a week ago but coming down I still had to swap over to my Grivels. Even though I have the closest size of Hillsounds for my pair of boots, when descending I find the Hillsounds slide back a bit and the heel section ends up hanging loose from the heel. I expect its highly specific to the boot design and relative sizing but on that particular day, the Grivels allowed me to get significantly more grip under my heel than the Hillsounds. I also on occasion with Hillsounds end up going down short section of steep ice backwards facing the ice.

  8. #68
    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Hillsounds do definitely have a significant traction advantage over Kahtoolas and they worked quite well on a hike up Kearsage North a week ago but coming down I still had to swap over to my Grivels. Even though I have the closest size of Hillsounds for my pair of boots, when descending I find the Hillsounds slide back a bit and the heel section ends up hanging loose from the heel. I expect its highly specific to the boot design and relative sizing but on that particular day, the Grivels allowed me to get significantly more grip under my heel than the Hillsounds. I also on occasion with Hillsounds end up going down short section of steep ice backwards facing the ice.
    The Hillsounds have been my traction of choice in these conditions. They've been sharp enough to gain purchase on blue and black ice, to the extent that regular crampons add little extra value -- the longer spikes of the full crampons aren't needed, as there's no snow between the ice and the boots - and absent hard boots, vertical rails and sharpened tips, the front points don't gain secure purchase unless there are pre-existing ripples in the ice or irregularities in the rock to exploit. Nonetheless, I've still been carrying them. I found my mountaineering ax to be helpful occasionally, but more for cashing in on out-of-reach rock knobs, cracks and stumps than to succeed at getting a decent hold on the ice.

    On several trails recently (most notably E. Osceola, Avalon Trail, W-J Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail), there were ice bulges for which I wished I'd brought my Omega's, G-14's, twin tools and dynamic rope. It was usually possible to bypass these and hug trees without too much of a detour, but not always, such as at a choke point just below where the trail on East Osceola's face moderates and gains the ridge.

    Peakbagger, I too have found the Hillsounds to have their issues, but also think I've figured them out. A large part of it is a need for care in adjusting the tension and height of the silicone rubber at various points around the circumference of the boot in conjunction with the Velcro strap, but I've also observed a tendency for the bottom link of the vertical chains at the balls of my feet to break. In separate incidents, 3 of my 4 such chains have done this (it's 4 rather than 2 because I'm not consistent about L and R foot placement). In each case, I used my Leatherman pliers to remove the remnants of the old link from the spike plate, and attach the next link up to the plate instead. I've also had this happen to two other hikers in my groups. I think it's a looseness issue, because the problem has not recurred with the shortened chains. So the Hillsounds perform really well, but get good at adjusting them so as not to slide out of place on your foot, and have pliers and/or backup traction.

    Sadly, I can also corroborate, from the experiences of hikers in my groups, reports that chain links are pulling through the rubber on late-vintage MicroSpikes.

    Apologies to the moderators for contributing to the morphing of this thread from discussion of a winter tragedy to traction choices.

    Alex

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