Microspikes are wear items

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peakbagger

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A rant/observation, Microspikes should be regarded as wear items and not long term durable goods. I am as guilty as others of avoiding putting on microspikes until absolutely necessary in mixed conditions of ice and bare rock. If there are spikes rather than the "traction" bits on Kahtoolas, they are not designed or intended for ice climbing and dull ones work about as well as out of the box ones. It comes down to physics, the weight of the hiker is bring concentrated onto some very small points of contact and ice is not that hard to really resist a dull point versus a sharp point, they both should be adequate as a traction aid. The other aspect with typical microspikes is its highly likely their demise is going to be the molded eyelets pull out of the rubber so its not like they would last forever. If you feel guilty about wearing them out buy two pairs when you see them on sale and then you have backup or pair you can lend. I have pair of well wrn and somewhat patched kahtoolas that I use around the house and to go for a daily walk in icy/snow conditions.

If someone still feels guilty about dull points, a dremel tool can touch them up altough its important to avoid making them too pointy or they dull out quicker.

I will also make the plug to either buy Hillsound's with the vecrro strap over the top of the boot or easily retrofit one onto a Kahtoolas. The common failure for most microspikes is the the chain/rubber interfaces gets caught between the edge of the boot sole and a rock and the gromet in the rubber tears. The strap allows the rubber to ride higher so its not as prone to getting pinched. It also can assist someowhat in the formation of "snowballs" the tighter the chain is to the boot sole the less they typically form. The last use for the strap is that it keeps the spike on the feet as its easy for spikes without the strap to catch on something and be left back on the trail. Usually folks notice it a 100 or so feet down the trail. WIth a strap, at worst it gets partially pulled off but stays with the boot.
 
A rant/observation, Microspikes should be regarded as wear items and not long term durable goods. I am as guilty as others of avoiding putting on microspikes until absolutely necessary in mixed conditions of ice and bare rock. If there are spikes rather than the "traction" bits on Kahtoolas, they are not designed or intended for ice climbing and dull ones work about as well as out of the box ones. It comes down to physics, the weight of the hiker is bring concentrated onto some very small points of contact and ice is not that hard to really resist a dull point versus a sharp point, they both should be adequate as a traction aid. The other aspect with typical microspikes is its highly likely their demise is going to be the molded eyelets pull out of the rubber so its not like they would last forever. If you feel guilty about wearing them out buy two pairs when you see them on sale and then you have backup or pair you can lend. I have pair of well wrn and somewhat patched kahtoolas that I use around the house and to go for a daily walk in icy/snow conditions.

If someone still feels guilty about dull points, a dremel tool can touch them up altough its important to avoid making them too pointy or they dull out quicker.

I will also make the plug to either buy Hillsound's with the vecrro strap over the top of the boot or easily retrofit one onto a Kahtoolas. The common failure for most microspikes is the the chain/rubber interfaces gets caught between the edge of the boot sole and a rock and the gromet in the rubber tears. The strap allows the rubber to ride higher so its not as prone to getting pinched. It also can assist someowhat in the formation of "snowballs" the tighter the chain is to the boot sole the less they typically form. The last use for the strap is that it keeps the spike on the feet as its easy for spikes without the strap to catch on something and be left back on the trail. Usually folks notice it a 100 or so feet down the trail. WIth a strap, at worst it gets partially pulled off but stays with the boot.
I find wire ties on the top to keep them up works well also.
 
...I am as guilty as others of avoiding putting on microspikes until absolutely necessary in mixed conditions of ice and bare rock. ...
Good reminder to label the bag for one of my two pairs as "ROCKS" 'spikes, so I can remember which to grab for a given hike.

I have pair of well wrn and somewhat patched kahtoolas that I use around the house and to go for a daily walk in icy/snow conditions. ...
Around the house? How are your floors holding up? Lol, just joking.
 
I switched to the Hillshound trail crampons and would not go back to Katoolah microspikes. They are absolutely dreadful on ice and if anyone hasn't noticed, the Whites have a lot of ice. I do switch into Kahtoola K10's once the ground has solid cover and those absolutely rock. 😂
 
I have a pair of Kahtoolas with the Velcro straps from my first pair of Hillsounds that I use as loaners. Since moving up here 5 years ago I’ve hardly used my Hillsounds, once we get enough snow I’m on snowshoes and bushwhacking instead of following trails.
 
I did this to my MicroSpikes, years ago. I use my Mircrospikes as my sacrificial spikes, so to speak. When I will be encountering both ice a bare ground. At any rate, it's easy to add straps to MicroSpikes. DSC_7500.JPGDSC_7506.JPG
 
I've never had a problem with microspikes staying in place. They fit snug on my boots and the only way they are coming off is if they get snagged on a something on the ground, which has happened only once.
 
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Agreed that micro spikes are a wear item, but so too are many pieces of gear. Snowshoes for me last 20-30 hikes and then need repairs. When I was really bushwhacking alot, gaiters and mitten shells would last 1 season without repairs. Cotton canvas (summer gloves) 3 hikes. Pants were an ongoing sewing project with patches over patches.
 
I switched to the Hillshound trail crampons and would not go back to Katoolah microspikes. They are absolutely dreadful on ice and if anyone hasn't noticed, the Whites have a lot of ice. I do switch into Kahtoola K10's once the ground has solid cover and those absolutely rock. 😂
I think this is common sense, *wear item* - for example, that awful grinding/screeching noise on rocks… hellooo… no bueno… I really, truly, can not stand seeing people walk on straight DRY rock or pavement… I.do.not.get.it.
Without me reading any information I knew immediately “that noise is horrendous, keep nice, take off”
New is absolutely different… unless you’re filing the heck out of them, no… even so, no way. 2021 season mine were “sketchy” and filing was tedious and really the length was half of new, impossible to be the same. (Hillsounds) (I say 2021 because I felt ice was twice as bad as 2022)
 
BTW, the Hillsound spike plates are not that hard to build up with a Mig Gun. If someone really wants, they could go with hard facing wire. The trade off is its bear to grind points.
 
Microspikes are a contributing factor to the rapid destruction of our White Mountain trail system over the past dozen or so years.

They provide a false sense of security, resulting in some users proceeding in conditions for which they are inadequate. Said users then resort to trampling off to the side of the icy footbed, resulting in destruction of the moss and vegetation root system. This then results in trail creep and further erosion, which in turn creates worse icing conditions in future; a vicious cycle.
 
Microspikes are a contributing factor to the rapid destruction of our White Mountain trail system over the past dozen or so years.

They provide a false sense of security, resulting in some users proceeding in conditions for which they are inadequate. Said users then resort to trampling off to the side of the icy footbed, resulting in destruction of the moss and vegetation root system. This then results in trail creep and further erosion, which in turn creates worse icing conditions in future; a vicious cycle.
Yes, I believe this is true, especially in the fall and spring. But, what is the alternative to microspikes? I used to use either full or instep crampons before I switched to micros. They undoubtedly cause more damage than the microspikes. On my last hike out here, almost everyone in the morning was using microspikes. Of course, the trails out here are way better designed as well as more hardened.
 

BTW, the Hillsound spike plates are not that hard to build up with a Mig Gun. If someone really wants, they could go with hard facing wire. The trade off is its bear to grind points.
Microspikes are a wear item...just like the studs I used to have in my snow tires years ago. I can't imagine anybody trying to build up microspikes with a mig welder and then filing them down. But that doesn't mean people haven't tried.
 
Microspikes are a contributing factor to the rapid destruction of our White Mountain trail system over the past dozen or so years.

They provide a false sense of security, resulting in some users proceeding in conditions for which they are inadequate. Said users then resort to trampling off to the side of the icy footbed, resulting in destruction of the moss and vegetation root system. This then results in trail creep and further erosion, which in turn creates worse icing conditions in future; a vicious cycle.
Wouldn’t that be the wearers’ fault? I mean, microspikes were invented to make inadequate conditions more adequate. Same as skis, snowshoes, ice axes, insulated clothing & footwear... You can’t blame the tool or the fact that it exists for any improper use.
 
I think the answer is that there are certain conditions in which trails should be avoided (i.e. shoulder seasons).

I've found Microspikes to work nicely on soft ice and hard pack, as well as low angle ice.

They are not a substitute for snowshoes or crampons.
 
Wouldn’t that be the wearers’ fault? I mean, microspikes were invented to make inadequate conditions more adequate. Same as skis, snowshoes, ice axes, insulated clothing & footwear... You can’t blame the tool or the fact that it exists for any improper use.
I agree to a point. IMO there is something to be said of the manufacturers and especially the companies that make cheap knockoffs of traction that appeal to the unseasoned user. "Microspikes" has become a buzz word like giving candy to a baby. You have just got to have some. I posted a thread here earlier this year about hikers using studded trail runners during the consistent wet weather over the Summer. That is complete over kill IMO and yes you do not have to remind me some think it is no big deal. I'm going to agree with rocket21 that yes there are times to just stay away from certain areas and find another more appropriate activity. Yes, it is mostly the users discretion.
 
I think the answer is that there are certain conditions in which trails should be avoided (i.e. shoulder seasons).

I've found Microspikes to work nicely on soft ice and hard pack, as well as low angle ice.

They are not a substitute for snowshoes or crampons.
Just as snowshoes are no substitute for spikes in many conditions. Reports advising either/or are typically written by inexperienced people. Using snowshoes for traction is inefficient. Sure leave them on for short stretches but far from ideal. For the record I love snowshoeing and am sad that the conditions where they are actually justified and necessary are dwindling.
 
IMO Trail damage is a function of number of inexperienced users and the warming climate. The area is seeing lots more freeze thaw weather for longer periods and that is when the trails really take a beating in the fall. Same with spring as warm weather down south means folks head up north encountering thawing trails. This incredibly wet season in NH has not helped, the trails never really dried out this year and its still quite wet in the woods.
 
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IMO Trail damage is a function of number of inexperienced users and the warming climate. The area is seeing lots more freeze thaw weather for longer periods and that is when the trails really take a beating in the fall. Same with spring as warm weather down south means folks head up north encountering thawing trails. This incredibly wet season in NH has not helped, the trails never really dried out this year and its still quite wet in the woods.
Excellent post. Here is a report as of today from The RMC's FB page which concurs with what your saying about the underlying liquid still present.
Trail report as of November 26th:
A wind chill advisory is in effect on the summits until 11am Saturday due to unseasonable cold.
Above treeline, a crusty layer of snow is covering icy rocks. Deeper drifts have accumulated up to six inches. Micro spikes are recommended.
Gray Knob currently has 2.5 inches of snow at the stake.
Below tree line a crusty snow layer about an inch thick is covering a frozen layer of slush, icy rocks, and thicker ice patches. This continues to about 2500 feet in elevation; below that, there is a thing layer of snow on fallen leaves. Micro spikes are recommended above this elevation.
Please note that trail conditions can change very quickly in the Northern Presidentials. The conditions posted on this page may have changed since they were recorded.
 
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