/ Snowshoes - MSR Lightning Ascent or MSR Denali Evo

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stevev on 01 Dec 2011
I am struggling to decide on which model is best. The only differences seem to be a fabric base rather than a metal one.

Is there much to choose between the two?
ice.solo - on 01 Dec 2011
In reply to stevev:

ive used the evo ascent models (full plastic ones) for years. a bit cheaper, bombproof, only a skerrick heavier.
if youre expecting a lot rocky stuff they may last a bit longer.

i actually like the CAMP snowshoes better - and theyre even better priced. better binding, more ergonomic, lighter.

whatever you get, the ascent bar thing that flips under your heel is great if doing serious hills. saves you putting crampons on earlier.
Damo on 01 Dec 2011
In reply to stevev:

I've used both. In theory they should feel different underfoot, but I really couldn't tell much difference. I only used the Lightnings for a short trip, but over more extended use they might be easier on the knees/feet for some, as some find the Denalis a bit unforgiving or something.

I agree the flip-up heel bar is good. The Denalis also make reasonable stove bases and emergency shovels.
Paul F - on 01 Dec 2011
In reply to stevev:

I have the Lightning Ascents and prefer the design. Nice and lightweight with the pie cutter design providing excellent grip on ice and short sections of verglas rock. The 'fabric" is the same stuff they make rigid inflatable boats out of, so it is very tough. Don't bother with the Lightning Axis model as the adjustment is fiddly and can fail in use.
MSR consider that the Lightning is a great mountaineering shoe and the Denali Evo is a great all rounder.

jon on 01 Dec 2011
In reply to stevev:

We've got half a dozen pairs of each for clients to use. Firstly, whichever you chose, get the ascent version - it has a heel raise for steeper terrain. The bindings are more or less identical.

The Evo is heavier but is much more sturdy and a bit more durable. It traverses on hard snow better. It has an extension that can be fitted on the back to give more flotation in deep snow, though neither of us have ever bothered using it.

The Lightning is, well, lighter. It is nicer to use in deep snow than on hard stuff. It is more flexible than the Evo. It doesn't traverse as well. It is a bit flimsier. The flexible deck can get frayed and cut where the boot comes down on it, or by a particularly abrasive crust on the snow.

Overall, I prefer the Evo. Just a personal choice really, but based on the above. If you are heavy, I'd go for the Evo. Both have more or less identical bindings. We've seen a few breakages, but given the use thay get I'd say probably no more than other makes.
stevev on 01 Dec 2011
Thanks for all the advice, I am pretty heavy, 100kg. It is really as an alternative to my ski touring setup for when I am out with non-skiing friends. I am in W.Austria so not planning anything too extreme, but certainly more than just easy trecks.

davidbeynon - on 01 Dec 2011
In reply to stevev:

Has anyone used Yowie shoes? They look like an interesting light option. Cheap too.

In reply to stevev: I've got the Lightening Ascents. Have used them a fair amount and they get bashed against wood and rocks quite a lot here and are still doing fine. Can't comment on the Denalis as I've not tried them. For me the lightenings work better on harder snow I've found in the Norwegian coastal mountains - ice climb access - than down here in Finnish forest, although they are OK if it's not too powdery. If you haven't used snowshoes before, don't expect miracles. If there isn't a track, you can still go down a long way. It is less hellish than without but sometime not that much less when they start getting caught under branches and the like at the bottom of the snow pack!
ice.solo - on 01 Dec 2011
In reply to stevev:

I find the msr bindings irritating for one hand work in crap conditions.

Other snowshoes exist with more crampon-like bindings that are nicer to use.

If you go thru a north american source you will find hundreds to compare, with msr being somewhere in the middle of the pack. Reliable but clunky.

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