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2/2/2014 4:15 PM
 

evanhill wrote:

All of a sudden, it was like I was a new man! Same conditions, same day, the 25" shoes were exponentially easier to move in. I went on ahead and spent another hour and a half going out to some elk rubs and other sign I'd seen earlier this winter. I wasn't sinking in any more in the 25" shoes than I had been in the 36" shoes. It was a LOT in both cases, but there was a night and day difference in my ability to travel:

That seems counterintuitive since people usually say that surface area is the determinant of floatation. But in my experience, the location of the pivot also has an effect. Is there some rule of thumb as to how binding placement on skis affects flotation?

 
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2/3/2014 6:02 PM
 

 

Scot,
If you can set aside a set of loaner 25” snowshoes I would sure appreciate it. Then all I need is poles.  If not then I will pick up a pair.  Thanks!

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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2/3/2014 8:11 PM
 

Strow, consider them reserved but remind me when you get here. I've got poles in various lengths too.

Timateo wrote

That seems counterintuitive since people usually say that surface area is the determinant of floatation. But in my experience, the location of the pivot also has an effect. Is there some rule of thumb as to how binding placement on skis affects flotation?

Surface area IS the determinant of flotation -- it's just that in the conditions I've experienced, the difference in flotation between 25" and 36" is negligible at best. Either neither one works (most of the winter), or both work equally well (springtime). In either case, the lighter smaller snowshoe is much easier to move. I've been told that 56" snowshoes would float me in most conditions. Not something I've tested.

Skis seem to be complex beasts when it comes to "flotation". Here are all of the factors I think come into play:

  • Ski surface area
  • Ski tip width and shape
  • Ski weight
  • Ski length
  • pivot location (like you say)
  • technique - are you letting the ski "ride" forward, or lifting it a bit?
  • snow conditions
  • overall speed

I've had skis stay subsurface the entire time but still be pretty easy to move and float some (my preference), I've had skis stay subsurface but want to dive like a pair of lead submarines, and I've had skis that want to climb to the surface with every stride. The Rossignol BC 110s in the relatively short 169 length that I'm running right now are pretty excellent.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/3/2014 9:42 PM
 

evanhill wrote

 

 Timateo wrote

 

That seems counterintuitive since people usually say that surface area is the determinant of floatation. But in my experience, the location of the pivot also has an effect. Is there some rule of thumb as to how binding placement on skis affects flotation?

 

Surface area IS the determinant of flotation -- it's just that in the conditions I've experienced, the difference in flotation between 25" and 36" is negligible at best. Either neither one works (most of the winter), or both work equally well (springtime). In either case, the lighter smaller snowshoe is much easier to move. I've been told that 56" snowshoes would float me in most conditions. Not something I've tested.

It might be the primary determinant but I doubt it is the only one. Geometry (both the shape and any nose upturn) also surely plays a role. I know geometry design has something to do with ease of movement and tracking, but I can’t imagine that the center of gravity is unimportant for flotation.

 
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2/3/2014 9:58 PM
 

Based on my hiking in Colorado, I would recommend a pair of Kahtoola Micro Spikes and large snow shoes.  I have Atlas 22" (wife's), Crescent Moon gold 30" and Atlas 12s in a 36" length.  The 36" shoes with hiking poles and gaiters are the way to go in the back country.  Backcountry, with deep snow is hard work so dress light!  Carry gear and layers in your pack for stops or changes in weather.  

 

On trails, light snow, or ice the Micro Spikes are incredible.  You can really motor on trails with the spikes.  They give great traction and are quick to put on or take off.   I try and hike at least twice a week, all year regardless of weather.  I have used the microspikes more than any other piece of gear I own.  

 

Off trail 36" shoes are far superior to the smaller shoes.  If you fall over in the backcountry getting up is difficult without poles.  The heel elevators rock for steep assents.  Poles are also great on assents and descents.   There are so may trails in my area, I must admit that I have used the Crescent Moons the most, probably out of lazyness.  They are very comfortable to walk in due to the taper.  Often, when I go out, it is with others that have no desire for true backcountry, the lighter shorter shoes are more appropriate for "social" events.

 

If you are looking for more float, go with skis!  One note:  downhill in trees scares the crap out of me!   The AT setup has proven very versitle and effective.  I use short (170), wide, BD skis with skins but would like to try the waxless skis. 

 
 
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2/3/2014 10:16 PM
 

i've got the MSR Evo Ascent and really like them.  bulletproof, easy to use--they're the glock of snowshoes

 

 
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2/3/2014 10:17 PM
 

[QUOTE]evanhill wrote

Strow, consider them reserved but remind me when you get here. I've got poles in various lengths too.

Will do.  Thank you again!!!

 


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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2/4/2014 5:26 AM
 

evanhill wrot

Just goes to show how huge of a role environment plays in backcountry travel. It's really the only actor involved. You've *always* got to be paying attention and learning. Drop into a new drainage you've never been in? The rules probably just changed a little bit. Go into a long familiar area at a different time of year? The rules just changed a lot.

You are absolutely right ! Listen to the land and learn..  

 
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2/4/2014 12:44 PM
 

Based on my size I need something like a 66" shoe for full flotation. I even found a place that made them, but just didn't want to spend the cash. As a result for a number of years I had a pair of 36". I say had because the actually saw little use. The act of tramping down a 36" foot print and then lifting up the shoe that inevitably had a fair amount of snow on the deck due to size was not fun at all and quickly wore me out.  They were also an absolute pain around camp since they were so big and unwieldy.  I got a pair of 21 or 22", I can remember which for use around camp, and quickly discovered that not all snow shoeing is work and sucks. I also didn't feel like I was really sinking deeper than with my 36". That is what started us on our winter of testing. In my experience the 25" gives about the same or the same floatation and the physical output to use them is considerably lower. One of these days I wouldn't mind trying a pair of 66"s, but I am not going to spend the cash to do it since my primary method of back country travel is skis.  I like skiing and doing stuff I enjoy back country is pretty much what I am about. 

I wonder if those of you who really like the 36" are closer to getting full floatation and that is why you are liking them.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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2/4/2014 1:06 PM
 

There is a fairly broad swath of conditions under which waxless skis are nice. However, it doesn't take much in the way of deep snow or incline before you put kicker skins on anyway. And for pulling a sled, no reason to even leave the parking lot without kicker skins on.

+ 1 on microspikes or similar. We've had enough snow this year I haven't used mine yet, but there are some years where that's pretty much all that gets used. Superbadger and I backpacked into the center of the West Elks a year ago December and no kidding we couldn't have even made it in without spikes.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/4/2014 1:37 PM
 

 I'm a big fan of the waxless skis, particularly the Karhu XCD Guides (now sold as the Mashus Annum).  These things are really light, fairly fat as far as waxless skis go, and are absolute noodles in powder ( a good thing), yet they come up on edge nicely and will drive nimble on corn, junk, or corduroy, as long as you've got a strong boot/binding combo to drive them with.  If I want a bit more glide, i just use some rub on wax.  Hasn't caused the fishscale base any detriment at all...they still grab for the up.  That said, I still always carry skins for 'em and sometimes even harscheisen for steep climbs, and icy conditions.  I've had mine set up with G3 Targa telemark bindings, but I will be replacing the tele bindings with Silvretta 404 randoneé bindings before coming out to the HPG Gathering, so that I can ski 'em with either La Sportiva Nepal Top boots, Scarpa Phantom Guide insulated single boots, or Koflach Degre doubles.  That way I can just bring one pair for the trip.  

I've got fatter backcountry tele skis (Karhu Team 100s) with 22 Designs AXL bindings, but those may be a wee bit overkill for this upoming event!  

+2 on the microspikes...they rock.  I also have a pair of Kahtoola's KTS stainless steel lightweight crampons.  They will also work with just about any boot.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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2/4/2014 2:25 PM
 

scothill wrote

  I wonder if those of you who really like the 36" are closer to getting full floatation and that is why you are liking them.

Scott,

pretty much that is it. 25s are fast and nimble and I use them for skiing and as camp shoes. But with a load I do not float... 

 

 
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2/4/2014 4:10 PM
 

Having just tramped three days in the Rockies with my issued snowshoes on, carring a 50lb pack - floating may be a misnomer.  Perhaps in-snow stability is the true phrase.  Our snowshoes are 46" long (incl a 12" tail) and 12" wide.  The snow was pretty powdery (about 8" on top of 24" hard packed stuff) and we were sinking down about 2" or so, which is good.  It is the length of the tail that provides you the necessary stability to carry a heavy pack and move efficiently over the snow.

 
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2/4/2014 4:27 PM
 

 Sinking 2" into 8" of powder is pretty good, in my opinion. Were these the Magnesium framed big-boys available as mil-surplus? 

 
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2/4/2014 5:53 PM
 
Yes, those are indeed the ones.
 
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2/4/2014 6:00 PM
 

Craig Robertson wrote

Having just tramped three days in the Rockies with my issued snowshoes on, carring a 50lb pack - floating may be a misnomer.  Perhaps in-snow stability is the true phrase.  It is the length of the tail that provides you the necessary stability to carry a heavy pack and move efficiently over the snow.

Right on .

 
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2/4/2014 6:00 PM
 

praharin wrote

 Sinking 2" into 8" of powder is pretty good, in my opinion. 

+1

 
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2/5/2014 7:41 AM
 

I have to agree that is good, and if that is what you are getting with 36" that makes sense. However, in my case that would have been sinking 8" no matter if I was on 36" or 25" shoes, so I rock the 25". 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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2/6/2014 11:04 PM
 

 My experience is similar to Scot's. My first modern snowshoes were the Sherpa Bigfoot, purchased new in 1977 or 1978. I used these 36" 'shoes for a couple years before picking up Sherpa Fearherweight's and Lightfoot models. Didn't use the Bigfoot much there after.

Since then I have used a couple dozen different snowshoes and wore out several pairs and I keep coming back to 22" 25" as what works best for me.

Last Sunday were were snowshoing on the CDT where there was 2' of fresh powder on top of a pretty firm base. I had decided to bring a small 22" pair of Redfeather's and at first was wishing I had skis with the powder until we started to run into lots of deadfall. Then I was very glad I had the mini 'shoes as it made stepping or climbing over the deadfall much easier and it wouldn't have mattered how big my snowshoes were, the snow was so light that I would have sunk to the firm snow regardless.

I should have snapped a photo as the Redfeather's were only slightly bigger than the Hoka trail running shoes I was wearing, but I was able to move effortlessly, actually running the downhills, most of the flats and some of the climbs as well.

 
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