Thursday, January 20, 2011
Winter Boots and Traction
Shoveling your driveway, walking in the woods, and mountaineering can be a very slippery experience.
What do I do?
At the extreme, for Winter mountaineering (climbs up Mt. Washington in -20F with 80mph winds), I use Scarpa Omega double plastic boots and Petzl Sarken Sidelock crampons. These boots are the lightest extreme winter mountaineering footwear available and after ten years (they were called the Scarpa Alpha back then) mine are still in great shape. The Petzl Sarken is an extremely durable 12 point crampon for use with boots that support "step-in" style crampons.
For walks on less intimidating terrain, I use Garmont Momentum Snow GTX boots, which are waterproof, insulated, vegan footwear. Although I "bareboot" most hiking trails, for significant verglas (thin ice on rock) and long relatively flat ice hikes, I use Kahtoola KTS Aluminium crampons. Kahtoolas are lightweight, durable, and very effective on ice.
I've had mixed results with Stabilicers, which add a heavy "second sole" to winter boots that already have traction soles. I've not had good results with Yaktrax which tend to break easily and provide only minor traction while hiking on ice.
Scarpa, Petzl, Garmont and Kahtoola products are great. For the past decade, I've used them to scale every peak in New England during the winter and to walk hundreds of miles around the Boston suburbs on ice.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM