/ Winter Climbing with Microspikes

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
DSM - on 28 Feb 2013
What experiences have folk had climbing easier winter routes in fell running shoes with microspikes (eg Kahtoola)?
Is this potentially an enjoyable activity or is it a figment of my deranged imagination?

DSM
Carolyn - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:

I know of one experienced mountaineer who made a rapid exit from the bottom of a snowy Lorton Gully with them on his feet.....

But I haven't tried them on anything steep enough to call a route myself.
mrchewy - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM: They work pretty well going upwards BUT descents can be an issue as the rear points are too far in on the back. It can get a little slippy. Obviously you'd have no option to kick steps but there's more than a few Grade Is you could manage and even something like Fiaccaill Ridge, I'd be happy in that combo in certain conditions.
arch the parch - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM: Just did jebel tobkal with a pair of pogu spikes and they were perfect. no need for full on crampons in the excellent conditions. not sure i'd want to run in them but otherwise brilliant bits of kit. easy on, easy off.
Eric9Points - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:
> What experiences have folk had climbing easier winter routes in fell running shoes with microspikes (eg Kahtoola)?
> Is this potentially an enjoyable activity or is it a figment of my deranged imagination?

The Kahtoola spikes are a bit like wearing rock shoes on rock, they improve your grip up but don't anchor you to the ice like real crampons. On neve there's an angle above which they'll just slide off. On water ice, worse I'd imagine.

Like IainRuk I expect a fell runner will get killed wearing a pair sooner or later.

Andy Say - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:
1. None.
2. Yes.
3. Yes

All depends on what you consider an 'easier winter route' that you 'climb' to be, really. We talking grade I gullies? II?
DSM - on 28 Feb 2013
Hmmm so Kahtoola's or Pogo's with a pair of axes might be viable?
I should say I've soloed quite a few easyish gullies in Walsh fell shoes with reasonable success & I'm wondering what difference adding a pair of axes & microspikes will make.
Mind you all this fancy footwear looks a bit pathetic when you think that Steep Ghyll on Scafell was reputedly first ascended in 1890, presumably with hobnail boots & alpenstock!

DSM
DSM - on 28 Feb 2013
Is & some IIs (snow routes) seem to be feasible in fell shoes alone. So I'm talking about IIIish snow routes I suppose.

DSM
Andy Nisbet - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:

Colin Maclean was wearing something similar on the FWA of The Needle, except his were proper crampons but only with microspikes.
IainRUK - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:

I wouldn't.. I'd use kahtoola crampons, work fine on trainers. I used them on my Paddy. PersonallY I don't think microspikes are for the mountains but each to their own.. I know Tom Phillips used them on his Ramsay.
Milesy - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:
> Is & some IIs (snow routes) seem to be feasible in fell shoes alone. So I'm talking about IIIish snow routes I suppose.
>
> DSM

In soft snow maybe. Hard neve? No chance.
drmarten on 28 Feb 2013
I've used them on the walk-in when the path was icy but crampons would have been overkill. I don't rate them for ground other than that, they do tend to slip off your boot so I wouldn't trust them on any steep ground at all - particularly on descent as noted above.
DSM - on 28 Feb 2013
Thanks for that. How robust would you say microspikes are? The silicone uppers & thin chains look father flimsy...

DSM
mysterion on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to DSM:

I found microspikes to be fine on something steppy but not reliable on banked out slopes of around thirty degrees or more - the forces just twist them off your feet.
charlie out - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to DSM: I have lots of experience with MicroSpikes, I'm a keen fell runner and winter climb as well.

MicroSpikes are great for running on the fells in winter and with an axe you can get up some quite dicey stuff.. BUT, they aren't for winter climbing, even on a grade 1 snow gully, you might get high, but then a little too high to get yourself in trouble.

If you want to climb easier winter routes, light style, then use a flexable point crampon, like Kahtoola KTS, Camp Magics, of similar, as at least the spikes will give you some traction on steeper ground.

I was testing some Tricouni TRIGS, yet to come to the market place, but on an ascent of the NE gully on Catstye Cam I had to add MicroSpikes for more traction.. had I had KTS, then it would have been ok... but this is all down to experience and had I slipped, well I would have been moving pretty fast to the valley floor.

Running shoes and flexable crampons means no solid base and therefore no frontpointing at all.

Helvellyn is easly possible with MicroSpikes and an axe under winter conditions, as long as you have the knowledge to do it...

I'm not advising it, but there is a little info to help you with your decision.

Have fun and stay safe ;-)
Full moon addict - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to DSM: they are a bit flimsy. I've used them a lot but wouldn't trust them on anything long and committing. the front chain has come out repeatedly and its hard to fix. Kahtoola crampons are much better but even they have their limits. I've done up to grade II in these but not with rock hard neve. If you get steepish hard neve the front points don't project enough to get a grip and it becomes very dicey. It feels very pioneering and you get a feel for how the early pioneers must have found it. Hard snow in grade I gullies wasn't so easy in those days!
DSM - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to charlie out:
Thanks for the suss. I'd have thought that semi-flex crampons like Camp Magix would not last long on bendy fell shoes - have you had any breakages?

DSM
charlie out - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to DSM: I've not had any returns, but mainly Camp Magics have gone to walkers, Kahtoola KTS are super flexable and no breakages reported yet....

Steve Ashworth - AKA Winter Climber has loads of experience as well, I think he uses G10's on his fell shoes?
martinph78 on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to drmarten: So you took them as well as crampons?
DSM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to charlie out:
I can see the sense in a flexible full crampon like a G10 for climbing in fell shoes. Cheers.

DSM
ads.ukclimbing.com
drmarten on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
Is that a leading question :-)
I did take crampons as well for use on the hill. It was the Cobbler and I know the path from Succoth to above the forestry can be icy in places and crampons just a bit much if the ice is patchy with no snow cover. It's okay if you've got the room in your rucksack otherwise I'd leave them in the boot. The combination of crampons and spikes worked well that particular day. It's not often I have the space to carry both - if not then crampons get the nod.
martinph78 on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to drmarten: Not a leading question, just curious. I've not got microspikes, one of the reasons being that I have crampons and if they are in my pack I would not want to take the microspikes as well. I know someone else with microspikes and crampons though and reckon they would take both as well. I've not used microspikes so finding this thread interesting (from a walking point of view, rather than climbing).

Cheers, Martin
Full moon addict - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to charlie out: well I'm the first then - my KTS steel crampons broke whilst in the cairngorms. the main bar snapped and I had to use a lace to tie the crampon up. see http://johnfleetwood.smugmug.com/Scotland/Cairngorms/Rigby-Cairngorm-Round-Dec-2010/15110480_2CDwMj#...

drmarten on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
If you have the money (£40 odd) and the space then the microspikes are a nice extra to have (but not essential) - they go on very quickly and can be stored in a jacket pocket. In the same way you'd put away any walking poles and get the axe out you have to get rid of the microspikes and don crampons at the appropriate time. They have their uses as long as you are aware of their limitations.
martinph78 on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to drmarten: Cheers, I might borrow some and try them next year. Would only use them for low-level walks/SAR activities etc.
Wesley Orvis - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to DSM:

I think it's down to experience on the easy grade routes, a few weeks back i was on a grade II gully with rope, two axes B3 boots and crampons and a guy passed by with micro spikes, fell running trainers, one axe, no helmet, he seemed a lot more at home than me and my two mates on the rope.
parkovski - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to charlie out:

I agree with everyone about microspikes: good on ice and verglass - helpfull over good fellshoes in some snow conditions, but lacking any proper steep snow and ice traction.

I've climbed up to grade III with G10s on fell shoes - this works suprisingly well. I've also run in to routes in a pair of Nepal Extremes. Assuming the point of all this is to be able to make extremely fast ascents by running in and running out, I think the ideal compromise would be finding a really light stiff boot you can run reasonably well in, plus a light 10 point crampon.

"Running shoes and flexable crampons means no solid base and therefore no frontpointing at all."

You can front point, it's just mega sketchy and really, really hard work!
charlie out - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978: I take micro spikes sometimes as well as crampons , they weigh very little and take up little room. Great for icey paths where crampons are clumsy, plus why wreck your nice crampons, when you only need spikes?? They are very versatile, one of my favourite pieces of kit...
charlie out - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to parkovski: yep point taken. Front pointing possible, but ultra hard work. Not like in boots.

Why did you run in Nepal Extremes? Why not put them in a pack and run in fell shoes?

Respect to you!
charlie out - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Full moon addict: did you get in touch with Kahtoola? Bet they would like to know.

I guess it's possible to break any of the crampons on the market designed for running and from what I understand John, you do operate at the extreme end of fell running.

Good to know their limits I guess, but not ideal for it to happen whilst out in the wilds.

Can you post a link to your full blog, would like to read it
Full moon addict - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to charlie out: the blog is at www.longdistancechallenges.blogspot.com

not been in touch with kahtoola, but maybe should have. the crampon points were ridiculously blunt and short by then anyway.

j
IainWhitehouse - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Full moon addict:

The leaf spring bar has a lifetime guarantee so as worn as your KTS were I would still like to have them replaced. I'm not aware of any previous failures of the leaf spring so I'm sure this is something the guys at Kahtoola will want to see.

Could I ask you to PM me so I can get some more details and so we can arrange return and replacement?

Regards, Iain

Beta Climbing Designs Ltd
(UK Kahtoola Distributors)
charlie out - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to Full moon addict:

Good to see Iain got in touch, hopefully you have your new leaf spring bars... I should have know they have a lifetime guarentee...

Will check the blog out, thanks for the link
charlie out - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to DSM:

Just in reply to your first question that started this trhead off.. I was out on Sunday in Kahtoola KTS, ticked Gully 1 on Red Tarn Crag, conditions were fantastic, made it all the easier and safer...

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.611397815552315.1073741826.121033984588703&type=1&...

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.