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#36071 - 04/25/14 08:15 PM hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ?
jc9922 Offline


Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 10
Loc: California
I plan to hike Mt Whitney by June 13. I was told that at that time of the year there might be some snow up there. I never hike with snow clamps. Which one should I buy? I see on ebay some choices...which one should I buy...does it matter ?

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#36072 - 04/25/14 09:19 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: jc9922]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: jc9922
I plan to hike Mt Whitney by June 13. I was told that at that time of the year there might be some snow up there. I never hike with snow clamps. Which one should I buy? I see on ebay some choices...which one should I buy...does it matter ?


I never hike with snow clamps either, and I like to hike in June, so I hear you. Last time I did Whitney from the Portal was on June 19, in a pretty heavy snow year, and the only route was straight up what is known as the Chute (but really isn't one). Definitely conditions for crampons and ice axe.


This year, I would bet, the switchers will be pretty open by Mid June, but you never know, so you should definitely be studying up on "microspikes", "crampons" and ice axes, and more importantly, learn about how they are used and in what conditions.


Short answer is you should probably not have to buy anything, but plan on renting what is appropriate when you arrive in Lone Pine. This year it may be ice axe and crampons, or tennis shoes and Dirty Girls, but snow clamps will definitely be unnecessary.
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#36074 - 04/25/14 09:20 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: jc9922]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7786
Loc: Fresno, CA
jc, by mid June, there won't be much snow left this year.

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#36075 - 04/25/14 09:27 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C
jc, by mid June, there won't be much snow left this year.


Spoilsport.
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#36081 - 04/26/14 08:32 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: saltydog]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Don't forget the ice pick.

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#36082 - 04/26/14 10:27 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: wbtravis]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Don't forget the ice pick.


That's the spirit!
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#36102 - 04/27/14 07:42 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: jc9922]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 210
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jc9922
I plan to hike Mt Whitney by June 13. I was told that at that time of the year there might be some snow up there. I never hike with snow clamps. Which one should I buy? I see on ebay some choices...which one should I buy...does it matter ?


Snowclamps...You mean crampons? The Black Diamond Strapon steel are a nice all around model, the Grivel G12s are great and are very solid, but might be overkill for just using them on the switchbacks for a half hour 1x/year. If you're likely to use them several times on other hikes where you might have mixed terrain, definitely stay with Steel vs. aluminum, since aluminum models will dull sooner or even might crack. For once or twice a year on pure snow routes, aluminum have their value in weight savings though are pricey.

Many people use microspikes to save weight. They have their use on moderately easy icy sections or packed snow, but don't bite very deep for those sections where a fall would have bad consequences. Your risk mindset will dictate your choice there. I used these in places like the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon but would not feel comfortable with them on a real mountain, stick with crampons. Also, if you're in terrain where you need traction, you'll want an ice axe. However, make sure you get some instruction/practice on using them.

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#36106 - 04/27/14 04:17 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: nyker]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Good advice. Microspikes might be good for icy sidewalks, but not on a real mountain.

Yes, crampons (with appropriate mountain boots) and an ice-axe. But...get professional training on their use, and plenty of practice. Both of those tools can injure you if you don't know how to use them properly.

Training needs to be first-hand, not just internet based or book learning.

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#36123 - 04/28/14 08:54 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: Bob West]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Bob,

What do you mean? You can't rent skills, too?

People ignorant on how this mountaineering thingy works climb up and glissade down the chute without incident...99% of the time. The 1% that crashes and burns does so in a spectacular matter. This makes their local paper...with a headline that says something...XX year old name a town dies on Mt. Whitney.

To all those contemplating going up and glissading down the chute with their rented aluminum clampons and ice pick or with their own Microspikes and trekking poles, run a Google search on death on Mt. Whitney or Newport Beach man dies, wife injured on Mt. Whitney.

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#36129 - 04/28/14 01:40 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: wbtravis]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
When I was on Inyo SAR we recovered the body of a guy who lost control while glissading down the snow-covered switchback area below Trail Crest. He apparently lost his ice-axe about 50 yards before he impacted a snow-covered rock with his chest. He was a fairly experienced mountain winter traveler - no amateur.

Our team used to do an annual refresher course on ice-axe/crampon use, with in-the-field practice. The most interesting test was practicing an ice-axe arrest while sliding head first while on one's back.

You never know what can happen in an out of control glissade. I once went end over end while glissading down the snow gully above Sam Mack Meadow, below the Palisade Glacier. My climbing partners wanted me to go back up and do it again, because they didn't have their cameras ready...LOL.


Edited by Bob West (04/28/14 01:50 PM)

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#36130 - 04/28/14 02:17 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: Bob West]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
A self-arrest with an ice axe is like throwing yourself upon a Caltrop if you get it wrong.
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#36133 - 04/28/14 04:36 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: wagga]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I have crashed a burned a few times glissading. Thankfully, other than a sprained ankle nothing was hurt other than my pride.

I glissade so infrequently because it is dangerous. Conditions have to be right and there has to be run out.

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#36148 - 04/29/14 11:00 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: nyker]
jc9922 Offline


Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Mr Nyker:

I have climbed Mt Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Mt Baldy and others ....but none of them had snow. I don't plan in putting myself in danger in something I feel I cannot do. All I want is to be able to walk over icy trails if I found them up Mt Whitney in June....I don't want to climb a wall of ice....I just want to be able to walk safely over a trail that is covered with icy snow. What do you recommend me to do ...can you repeat your answer if so....may be you can provide me a link to the equipment I should buy. I appreciate very much your input.

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#36154 - 04/29/14 03:23 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: jc9922]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Visit a local climbing shop and ask their advice regarding equipment. Just reading about it on websites is not going to give you enough information. Talk, face to face, with experts.

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#36162 - 04/29/14 10:32 PM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: jc9922]
JAGCHiker Offline


Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 45
Loc: GC


"I have climbed Mt Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Mt Baldy and others ....but none of them had snow. ... All I want is to be able to walk over icy trails if I found them up Mt Whitney in June....I don't want to climb a wall of ice....I just want to be able to walk safely over a trail that is covered with icy snow."

jc9922:
The danger is in what you don't know- and that ignorance can definitely 'ruin your day' in one misstep. There is no such thing as "walking safely over a trail with icy snow" on this mountain- just reduced risk; especially if you're not comfortable with the equipment and the environment. A misstep on a "small section of ice/snow"; can result in a very painful result if one falls/slips more than several feet.

I would suggest gaining an appreciation for the environment by looking at You Tube Videos= Mt Whitney maion trail in June; and look at the cables and windows/back side trail sections.
Do a Google search for "DayHike Mt.Whitney info". Under Trail Description; item 4. Cables: look at the link for 'holding snow into the summer'. Note the cables, snow/ice,width of foot path,the slope of the mtn; and ask if I slip, what could happen here....? These sections are not the place to learn foot placement/technique to maintain the appropriate purchase for the conditions; as you're crossing them.

Then go talk to the climbing store and talk to someone who has been on this trail in early summer with these conditions. You'll at least have an appreciation for what they are discussing.

An ice axe, crampons, and even microspikes can do more harm to someone who doesn't know how to use them- false confidence. Its better to wait or turn around; than take the axe's pick or adze to the chest; or start tumbling because you didn't plant your foot traction correctly- slipped- and then caught the spikes.....

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#36166 - 04/30/14 05:03 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: JAGCHiker]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
We keep giving advice and hopefully, people new to Whitney will listen and heed.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=20806

"Snow level is approximately 9,000-10,000 feet. Crampons and ice axes recommended for travel on steep snow covered slopes."
"April through June: Snowpack is receding. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel."


Edited by Bob West (04/30/14 05:06 AM)

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#36169 - 04/30/14 08:32 AM Re: hiking shoes snow clamps which one to buy ? [Re: Bob West]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
People want to do, they don't necessarily want to do what is required to do it safely.

This describes what goes on at Mt. Whitney in the early shoulder season. People figure out they will have to deal with snow and ice, if they are going to reach the summit on the day of their permit reservation. Then, they scramble to learn about the gear they need but rarely the skills required.

Generally, when the trail has been beaten in through the cables, this is a walk-up requiring Microspikes and trekking poles. However, people need to be able to recognize on the way up, where the problems lie for the descent. If they do not have the ability to recognize areas that will be impassible for them descending, they will those who stop to help them at risk.

If you don't want to deal with snow and ice, come in July through mid to late September. What snow and ice in this time period is transient.

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