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Thread: Help Me Change My Butt-Sliding Ways

  1. #1
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    Help Me Change My Butt-Sliding Ways

    Hey Folks,

    New here and signed up specifically for this question though have read and appreciated many posts in the past.

    This question is specific to White Mountains conditions. I know that butt-sliding guts the trail and that it's a generally inconsiderate practice. However, at some point, the grade gets to the point my snowshoes are sliding and I don't feel agile enough with them on. I worry that I'm going to snag one and go face first into a stick, particularly in places where the trail is narrow.

    Anyone wanna offer tips for staying up?
    Last edited by MattPicard; 03-08-2021 at 10:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    IMO, its doesnt gut the trail. It smooths out the post holes . To me the biggest inconsiderate thing is that if out of the control it can force people going uphill to have to jump out of the way. Unless its "bobsled" run like the chute that forms between the summit of South Hancock and the junction with the trail to North, a responsible but slider can usually control their speed by kicking in the heels or leaning back and getting the bottom edge of the backpack to drag. I used to rig my showshoes for that eventuality.. IMHO if you cant slow down to stop within 30 feet you really need to work on your technique can work with stiff heels but the chute has to be soft enough to kick the heels in.

    That said generally on steep downhill slopes on packed trails, crampons give the best traction (and can create postholes). Micrrospikes can

  3. #3
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    When a trail gets steep, the proper thing to do is kick in steps with the toes of one's boots. One can do this in snow shows or spikes. After a few people kick into the same spots, it builds "steps." On the way down, one places one's heels in the steps, and then they get even better. When you get a bunch of people who cooperate on this, it makes even the steepest places doable.

    Then one person sleds down and destroys it for everyone.

    Some other ass-hat will sled down these days, but I still don't want to be the one who screws things over for all those who are working together.

    Brian

  4. #4
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    What B said.

    And to make it easier, especially on descent, take off your snowshoes. I'll put on microspikes at the drop of a hat, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    What B said.

    And to make it easier, especially on descent, take off your snowshoes. I'll put on microspikes at the drop of a hat, too.


    Appreciate these responses. I took off the snowshoes and switched to microspikes the last time. Seemed the thing to do, but then there's the postholing. Appreciate the opinions.

  6. #6
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattPicard View Post
    Appreciate these responses. I took off the snowshoes and switched to microspikes the last time. Seemed the thing to do, but then there's the postholing. Appreciate the opinions.
    Your job is to get safely down the trail by whatever means available. Don't worry about "messing up the trail" if this is just a consequence of your acting safely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattPicard View Post
    Appreciate these responses. I took off the snowshoes and switched to microspikes the last time. Seemed the thing to do, but then there's the postholing. Appreciate the opinions.
    I don't mind hiking on a trail (up or down) after people butt-slide down. A smooth trail is better than postholes.

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    Over the years I have heard but not experienced a disparity in approach between the ADKs and the Whites with respect to kick stepping routes. The claim by the ADK folks is if in doubt establish a kick step route during an ascent. This included at one point early in my hiking career someone insisting that that was also the same requirement for snowshoes which is decidedly difficult with the rotary pin type technical bindings in use today as they tend to rotate vertical while kicking and televators in general seem to be the trend. I havent visited the ADKs in the winter in the high peaks since they banned fires in winter but on my two winter trips prior to that in February I never saw the fabled kick stepped routes. I been hiking in the winter in the whites for 30 years and rarely if ever have I seen any attempt at formal kick step routes on the usual hiking trails although I think I remember possibly encountering some on Lions Head Winter route one year. The OP was asking about the Whites thus I did not give him chapter and verse of a practice that is non Whites specific. Perhaps some old ADKs pros can chime in if its truth or aspirational but in my experience its not the practice in the whites. My observations are even without a lot of butt sliding, the trails are chutes by the end of the weekend and generally unless there is snow overnight most are climbed with microspikes or crampons the next day
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-08-2021 at 05:09 PM.

  9. #9
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    A good mountain snowshoe will allow you to walk down most any packed snow surface. The Tubbs Flex line is very good for this. They will consistently outperform Microspikes.

  10. #10
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Maybe you could elaborate on your snowshoes and the conditions which are providing you problems. I've been winter hiking for a few years now and except on the rare occasions of either water ice or deep powder, mountaineering snowshoes such as the FlexAlp (Tubbs) or Evo/Lightning Ascent (MSR) have been outstanding for me. So much so that I highly prefer and trust them over microspikes or Grivel G10 crampons.

    Plus, as maineguy says "Get down safe". I'd rather a thread about me buttsliding than one about me being rescued

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Maybe you could elaborate on your snowshoes and the conditions which are providing you problems. I've been winter hiking for a few years now and except on the rare occasions of either water ice or deep powder, mountaineering snowshoes such as the FlexAlp (Tubbs) or Evo/Lightning Ascent (MSR) have been outstanding for me. So much so that I highly prefer and trust them over microspikes or Grivel G10 crampons.

    Plus, as maineguy says "Get down safe". I'd rather a thread about me buttsliding than one about me being rescued

    Tim
    Thanks, Tim. I have the MSR Revo Ascent. Last weekend I was descending a known bushwhack. The trail was broken out but hadn't been traversed by too many, so it was still pretty loose. I found that in a few select spots, the shoes weren't cutting it: If I pointed them down the fall line, I could stand, but they would slide if I took a step. If I stood with them perpendicular to the trail, I was having to take such tedious baby steps that it was completely inefficient and a ton of strain on the legs. I couldn't seem to stomp a downward step b/c the trail was indeed a pretty firm monorail already, but it was loose enough that I would slide. A friend of mine in similar gear seemed to fare a little better but was still troubled by those spots and ended up sliding around at times. Normally, I'm not concerned with giving up a little control, but this trail was tight, and the risk of getting a broken branch in the face was high.

    Do you have recommendations as to how to orient the shoes? Technique? I believe someone above mentioned that I should be able to just walk down with good snowshoes, but I was finding it would either be committing to a floppy, sloppy and dangerous run /jump situation by leaning forward, or a downward slide/ski by leaning backward. Thanks for your advice.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Welcome Matt,

    Butt sliding is glissading and is an established way to descend. It does slick the trails down some and busy trails, especially at the end of the day do get icy. As mentioned, if you are walking down and are having issues standing up, a controlled slide is fine. (Heading down Field above Avalon in a couple of spots is my favorite and I rarely slide. Postholing and injuries are certainly things that are more troublesome. If you are safer sliding, then slide. Being in control is important though for your safety and others,
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    Butt sliding is glissading and is an established way to descend.
    Thanks for that. If people complain that butt sliding ruins the trails, I respond that butt sliding at least benefits someone, while post holes benefit no one. And aren't we supposed to be prepared for anything?

    As far as kicking steps go, that's ancient history, at least over here in NY.

    I prefer to butt slide with snowshoes on. Sliding with spikes or crampons seem like an invitation to twist or break your ankle, knee, or hip!

    I did some serious butt sliding yesterday on Hunter. I had MSR EVOs on the whole time. They can help you paddle, and steer. Practice makes perfect!
    Tom Rankin
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Glissading with crampons should NEVER be done. Even Bear G. broke his ankle or leg doing it. Those who do it think they can hold their feet up but it only takes a bump or small change in the surface to bounce you a little bit and have you drop your feet.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  15. #15
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Butt sliding and butt sledding is not glissading. It’s all about technique and the appropriate equipment in the moment.
    Last edited by skiguy; 03-09-2021 at 11:03 PM.
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