[at-l] Snowshoes?

L. Clayton Parker l.clayton.parker at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 21:08:10 CST 2010

Mt Mitchell is 20 or so miles from the Appalachian Trail  northeast of
Hot Springs. I attempted a summit in February of this year. The
"official" snow depth was 60 inches, all "powder". I did not make it. In
the south we don't cut branches for 15 to 20 feet above the trail, since
we don't normally have to deal with tons of snow. I could not find the
trail for the last mile. The branches that were supposed to be over my
head were in fact IN the snow, my 33 inch snow shoes were postholing 4
feet into the snow and still not hitting bottom. Took me over an hour to
go half a mile.  Ohh, and forget about blazes, they were under the snow

The funny part is, I had asked a local outfitter about places to go
snowshoeing in the fall and he had laughed and said I probably wouldn't
get enough snow....

Lee I Joe

On Wed, 2010-12-22 at 15:55 -0800, Tom McGinnis wrote:

> That first question is a biggie, there, Frankenshoen. Shoes for down
> south?!? For *powder*?!? The last time I was able to do Fontana Dam to
> Springer, I started out wading drifts of oatmeal snow up to my hips,
> and finished in shirtsleeves on Springer. When I lived in New England,
> I made neoprene-decked jobs (they're right inside, and despite lots of
> Wisconsin use, look new at 30 years old)  You planning on a move soon?
> --- On Wed, 12/22/10, L. Clayton Parker <l.clayton.parker at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>         It would help if you told us your intended usage. Packed vs.
>         loose powder, trail vs, backcountry; walking, hiking, running,
>         etc. 
>         That said modern snowshoes fall into four broad categories,
>         Mountain Hiking, Backcountry, Trail Walking and Speed. Classic
>         metal and older wood framed snowshoes fall in the first two
>         categories while plastic and composite framed snowshoes can be
>         found in all four categories. Almost all snowshoes (with one
>         exception) include some sort of built-in cleat similar to a
>         crampon. The sole exception is made to wear with regular
>         crampons.
>         Classic snowshoes are typically a bit heavier, more rugged,
>         provide greater flotation and are usually more expensive.  
>         Plastic and composite snowshoes are smaller, lighter, less
>         tiring to use and generally much less durable. Some trail
>         runners cost more than classic snowshoes (isn't carbon fiber
>         wonderful?), but in general they are usually cheaper.
>         I own a pair of Atlas Backcountry 33s made to integrate with
>         Black Diamond Sabretooth crampons. They no longer make them
>         but you might find a pair on eBay. They are for serious winter
>         mountaineers, not for casual backpacking and camping. Atlas
>         snowshoes can be viewed at
>         http://atlassnowshoe.com/snowshoes . At the other end of the
>         spectrum are offerings from MSR
>         http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/snowshoes/category . These are
>         good choices for the average backpacker who is going to be
>         mostly on trails.
>         That said, even the classic snowshoes can be overwhelmed in
>         deep enough loose powder. If you look through the sites, you
>         will see that the largest shoes are in the 24 inch range, I
>         have postholed with the Atlas 33" snowshoes on the Three
>         Sisters in the Rockies, on Mount Washington in New Hampshire
>         and on Mount Mitchell in North Carolina! In each case there
>         was over 6 feet of loose powder *on the trail*. If the Atlas
>         snowshoes won't stay afloat, the plastic ones definitely
>         won't.
>         Lee I Joe
>         On Wed, 2010-12-22 at 15:20 -0500, Frank Looper wrote:
>         > I need a recommendation for snowshoes. Light and cheap would
>         > be nice, but built-in crampons or similar and the ability to
>         > handle powder is more so.
>         > 
>         > Alps? Ajax? MSR? I have no idea.
>         > 
>         > Thanks!
>         > InsaneLunaticWalker 
>         > 
>         > 
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