Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kahtoola MICROspikes Video Review

How do Kahtoola MICROspikes perform on real ice and snow?  Dr M is wearing a Smartwool Baselayer Turtleneck & socks, Scott Motives goggles and Merrell Sheepskin Boots. Goose Down Jacket by Moonstone, Nordic Merino Wool hat by Turtlefur & softshell snowpants by Athleta.

Kahtoola MICROspikes

I was watching a film called North Face (Nordwand) last night which is set in 1936 and follows the exploits of four German-Austrian mountain climbers attempting to summit Der Eiger, (The Ogre).  One thing I noticed among the pitons, ice axes and boots was how stiff and inflexible the footwear was.  That was state of the art for the 1930's but crampons have pretty much stayed the same.  Lots of buckles and straps, certainly not very "foot-friendly" then and still are today until I checked out Kahtoola MICROspikes.

Now while I wouldn't necessarily use these for doing an ascent up the Eiger's North Face, they are very practical for getting a grip on mountain slopes, icy terrains and snow covered trails.  More than that, due to being attached to a very tough elastomer harness, these can be folded up, put in a pouch and stored in your backpack or car's glove box.  MICROspikes also boast 3/8 inch hardened stainless steel spikes. The elastomer stays flexible down to -76 degrees to move with your footwear for a snug, secure fit and grip.

A video is worth 1000 words so here you can see jumping and kicking on a sheet of ice in MICROspikes.  Snowshoes can only get you so far as they are best suited for flat, wide fields and paths. Flexible crampons open up a whole new world of backpacking in less than ideal conditions as you can slip on your MICROspikes and portage your snowshoes on uneven, tight trails.  You also don't have to wait for the spring thaw to get out there and jog or hike. Kahtoola MICROspikes can take you there and get you back without unnecessary slips and falls.  I can see these working well on water resistant athletic shoes too!

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