How do I identify women's hiking boots on the REI website that are crampon compatible?
Dear REI Employee,
As I am coursing the pages of your website's offerings for women's hiking boots, I am wondering how will it be designated which boots can be paired with crampons for a multi-surface, multi-temperature hike?
@MissTina Thanks for reaching out!
Almost all of our hiking boots will be compatible with a style of crampon referred to as a 'strap-on' crampon. They are designed to adjust in size and are secured to your boot via a strap system that does not require any specific features on the boot to function. They are great for general mountaineering or hiking where you may being crossing glaciers, snow, or ice. You can take a look at our selection of strap-on crampons here.
Additionally, if you'd like to learn more about the different kinds of crampons, we recommend this Expert Advice article. If you're looking for a 'step-in' crampon for technical mountaineering or ice climbing, please let us know and we would be happy to call out the mountaineering boots with toe and heel rands for locking in step-in crampons.
Do you have a particular hike in mind that you are preparing for?
Hope this helps!
Thank you for your timely response, JohnJ. Yes, I am hiking to Phantom Ranch in January from the canyon's South Rim. I have been briefed to expect ice and snow the first two miles down into the canyon, so I thought I'd find a hiking shoe that is compatible with crampons that can be taken off and stowed once we reach an elevation that is dry and without snow and ice. Any recommendations you'd like to make by way of women's hiking boots suitable for this escapade of mine, please? Fire ...
@MissTina What an outstanding trip!
My wife worked at the Grand Canyon for a summer and her stories of that place have put it at the top of my bucket list, you're in for a special treat!
In terms of recommendations for boots, I would say that your best bet would be to set up a virtual outfitting session with one of our footwear experts. They can not only talk you through boot options but, most importantly, also get as much information about your feet as possible to make the best choice for you. It is a free service we are offering and you can sign up with our Outfitting Scheduler. We are getting a lot of great feedback from our customers and outfitters alike!
I would also recommend checking out a couple of these other crampons that are designed specifically for hiking:
They may be able to save you a little bit of weight and space in your pack while you're not wearing them.
I personally use the kahtoola micro spikes on that particular section, when 100% ice and they worked great.
I also think that any longer spikes become dangerous for the casual hiker, because they can dig into the ice if you're not expecting it, a could cause a person to trip. You can't walk 'as casual' as with shorter micro spikes.
I can almost guarantee one thing, have your video camera ready to go, to film folks trying to walk on the ice in running shoes or street shoes, while trying to avoid the edge.
That said, you're wise to think about this.
Ps - the shorter traction devices are what they sell at the Bright Angel gift shop at the top of this section, so I guess that's all the rangers think you'll ever need.
Now some photos of this situation 🙂 Good luck and enjoy the trip!
(btw, these pix are from a March trip)
You definitely do not need full on mountaineering crampons. In fact, their longer spikes often pose a tripping hazard, especially if you are not used to them.
Keep an eye on the weather. Winter precip can be extremely variable in the Southwest - every thing from huge snow drifts to bare ground. One or two trekking poles will also be very handy, even if the snow cover is minor.
The mules do a pretty good job keeping the Bright Angel trail fairly clear, as seen in the preceding pics.
Haven't experienced the snow and ice at the grand canyon but I'd say the Katoola hiking crampons and the KTS steel crampons are overkill. You will be on trails with occasional icy snow rather and long or steep snow traverses I suspect.
Trekking poles are essential in my view but Katoola microspikes or the similar but slightly better Hillsound trail crampons are easy to carry and easy to take on and off plus you can keep them on over dirt and rocks for short distances. We used these in the Sierras last year hiking over various snowy traverses. They are most useful for ascending, descending or traversing slight to moderate inclines when the snow is icy. They work but are less useful as the snow becomes slushy.
They are not appropriate for traversing steep inclines as they can slip around the side of the shoe or so I have been reliably informed but it seems unlikely you will encounter anything of that sort.
They can be worn with trail runners but are more comfortable with stiffer shoes or boots. If wearing trial runners one or the other might be more comfortable. My friend had trouble with the katoola microspikes but liked the hillsound trail crampons with her trail runners.
I appreciate your perspective and your wisdom, too. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me give all these things consideration. I will follow up with you guys and show you pictures, for sure! Be well, and again, thanks for squaring me away!
Thank you, @hikermor,
I agree with you that full-on mountaineering crampons are not necessary for the 1-2 miles at the top of the canyon that we 'might' experience. I had considered renting them as another suggested; however, I guess I am worried that they might run out by the time I get there. Although, I suspect there aren't many people hiking the canyon in January as say summertime. A friend of mine just hiked these canyon trails on Thanksgiving day, and he specified how terrified he and his crew were on account of falling down these icy cliffs. Something about there isn't much wiggle room, so I'm not sure what to believe as the pictures above show something entirely different. Plus, like you said, the path might be more clear on account of the pack mules. Have you hiked there yourself? Just curious. For now, cheers!
Thank you so much for helping me make sense of all of this, for I have never hiked in winter let alone hiked the Grand Canyon any time of year! These pictures are really helpful, and I am so grateful for them. Thank you!! When I come back at the end of January, I will be sure to follow up with you and maybe share some funny videos of teenagers sliding and falling on the ice in their sneakers! (wink). For now, cheers!