[at-l] Snowshoes?

L. Clayton Parker l.clayton.parker at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 21:20:15 CST 2010

Okay, now I can answer a bit more. 

If it is anything like last year, the snow below about 5,000 feet
experienced repeated melts and was not powder except for the fresh layer
on top. Crampons are all you will need for that. Above 5,000 feet last
year it never got above freezing, the snow accumulated all winter and
remained powder until March or so. At about 5,500 drifts were ranging
well over 6 feet and as I said earlier, the snowshoes were postholing. 

I don't think that given that, the weight of all out backcountry type
snowshoes is justifiable. If it were me, I would wear good
mountaineering type boots (not plastic, this isn't NH) that are
compatible with step in bindings, and a take a pair of crampons and a
pair of the lightweight snowshoes. Durability is not an issue, if they
last a year or three you will probably have gotten all the use out of
them you need to. The crampons MUST have  bot plates to keep the snow
from balling under your feet, unless you wear plastic boots, it will.

Lee I Joe


Once I knew where I was going, but now I have  forgotten. Sometimes my
mind wanders.  Sometimes it goes alone, other times it takes me
along ... this isn't one of those times ... 

On Wed, 2010-12-22 at 20:08 -0500, Frank Looper wrote:
> Not moving. Backpacking AT in January. Terribly snowy Winter in the
> South this year. Like last year. Maybe more.
> Heck, we're even having a white Christmas!
> I expect deep snow in the Smokies.
> On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM, Tom McGinnis <sloetoe at yahoo.com>
> 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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