by dennispdxfromExcellent snowshoesI just got back from my first snowshoe experience of my life. I moved to the Pacific Northwest (from the midwest) about a year ago and really got into hiking late last spring. Once the weather started getting colder, I wondered how I would get my outdoor fix. Some people recommended snowshoes, and here I am now having just completed my first trip.
I did a fair amount of research and was pretty set on the MSR Lightning Ascent 30's. I got an REI credit card and was waiting on the free gift card to arrive to use for purchase of snowshoes. While I was waiting though, I kept researching and eventually noticed that Atlas came out with a new pair that was similar. What I had heard on a couple of outdoor forums was that the binding systems of Atlas snowshoes were great but the overall effectiveness of the MSR snowshoes (traction, etc.) was better. Then when the Atlas Aspect snowshoes came out, I saw they had the crampon under the foot AND the extra traction along the sides and side-to-side between the exterior frame, much like the Lightning Ascents by MSR. I also liked that the front of the snowshoes was a round tube, which I thought might have less chance to catch on snow/ice than the MSR version. I had never experienced snowhoes before, but I decided to give the Atlas Aspect 28's a try. I decided on the 28's (vs. 24's) because I am about 200 pounds without a daypack/backpack.
I did a 6-mile out-and-back today with about 1700' of elevation gain from the trailhead to my turnaround point (Cooper Spur trailhead to Tilly Jane on Mt. Hood). I don't have anything else to compare the Atlas 28's to, but I thought they performed fantastic. They were pretty easy to get on and never came loose at all. For the first half mile or so, it was a little weird having them on, but after that, they were perfectly normal. There were a few times when I forgot I had them on. They never slid backwards when walking uphill, nor did they slide forward when walking downhill. There were a few spots that were slightly icy but I didn't slide at all. The traction is excellent. I went off trail a couple times to try them in new deep fresh powder. I think the average I sank was about 8" with the deepest being maybe 10"-12" from time to time. On compacted snow, I didn't sink any. I had an easy time turning around in most places. The only time it was mildly difficult to turn around was in deep fresh powder (even then, it was no big deal). As a sidenote, at my turn-around point I decided to take off the snowshoes and walk around for a couple minutes in just my hiking boots to see how different it would be - I slid around a little bit and postholed in places where the snowshoes didn't sink at all.
Overall, I am extremely happy with my purchase and look forward to using them a lot more this winter.
Date published: 2012-01-14
Rated 5out of5
by Don the KayakerfromPerformed impeccably !great on in any condition on different snow types. Used several times a day in different terrain while remaining adjusted and comfortable.
Date published: 2012-02-29
Rated 5out of5
by AndrisfromExcellent snowshoes!I'd used borrowed / rented snowshoes a number of times, and always felt them to be heavy and kind of awkward.
This is the first pair of snowshoes I've actually owned, and man...what a difference! When I first put them on for a day hike up Eagle Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park I was amazed at how light they were. I literally wondered if I'd stepped out of them as I took my first steps.
Things only improved from there. The ~4 mile round trip, off trail hike offered plenty of steep terrain. The climbing bars were easy to flip up and down, and the shoes provided great traction while traversing. I like the backpack friendly pack-flat design, which attracted me since I may use these for backcountry boarding at some point.
I did get into a little bit of terrain that was too steep for these shoes on the descent that left me floundering a little....but this was really steep...something I'd be more comfortable on a snowboard than in snowshoes for...so I can't really complain.
All in all, a great product!
Date published: 2013-05-26
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