Popular Snowshoes

General Palm Springs area.

Popular Snowshoes

Postby Vadosian » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:01 am

Hello All,

I know we have a few months to go before this topic becomes more relevant, but I'm curious to know what snowshoes are the most popular now. And, what everyone on this forum prefers. I have an old pair of Sherpas that have been relaced a couple of times (not by the factory), with climbing cord, tie-wraps (these fail in extreme cold), and by heavy gauge clothesline. This all probably sounds funny, but I enjoy experimenting with my gear as long as it doesn't endanger myself or anyone else. I used my Sherpas in every condition short of extreme mountaineering!

Also, does anyone know why the Sherpa brand is not found in our regular outdoor outlets anymore? Did they go out of business?

Thanks much for your greetings upon my joining this forum.

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Postby wingding » Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:12 am

I have Atlas Elektra 1025's and I really like them. They are women's snowshoes, but Atlas makes a comparable men's pair that are just called 1025's. I think that the Elektra's now come in 1023 and 1027 sizes and not 1022 and 1025 like they used to. I think the 1022's were probably a little small for most people with winter gear on their back. The women's model is shaped a bit different than the man's model, which makes them easier for me to walk in.

It seems that Atlas and MSR snowshoes are the most popular. They used to rent Sherpa snowshoes at the rental place in Long Valley at the top of the tram, but I haven't heard of anyone buying Sherpa's in a long time.
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Postby zippetydude » Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:00 pm

Hey V, ready for some snow, huh?

I have a pair of Atlas Dual Trac running snowshoes that are light and work fine. I found them online, and they had lots of good ratings and comments. Since I had never used snowshoes before, I don't know how they compare to other snowshoes.

A word about these local mountains might give you another option. I've carried my snowshoes more than I've worn them - the snow in the San G Wilderness gets packed and firm pretty quickly, and I find I am much faster with Kahtoola lightweight aluminum running crampons than I am with the snowshoes. I don't even notice them while running, but they give me great traction and I seldom have trouble with postholing.

Sounds like I work for Kahtoola. I don't want to go overboard, but they're a cool option you might consider where postholing and exposure aren't significant factors.

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Postby wingding » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:08 pm

I carry my snowshoes more that I wear them too, but it sure is great when I end up in nice soft powder and get to wear them. Sometimes it's nice to get off the beaten trail and wander out where tracks haven't been made or to be the lucky one to make the first tracks along the trail after it snows.
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Postby Vadosian » Thu Oct 19, 2006 9:36 pm

Yes, fresh powder is the best! Better workout too!

A couple of times I was the first to break trail snowshoeing up to Round and Tamarack Valleys. Kind of gives your routefinding skills a little test.

Have any of you navigated the route to the peak that follows along the drop-off into Snow Creek. It gets a little spooky and ice axe skills are a must, but the views are awesome!

This is a little off topic, but have you hiked up in Bogart Park? This is a great place only minutes from home that gives a great workout. There are several trails with many levels of steepness. I used to encounter a few bears while hiking, but not for a couple of years. :lol:

Everyone, have a great weekend.

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Postby Perry » Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:40 pm

Sherpa was the innovative original designer of the modern snowshoe, but they didn't go any further by improving traction and reducing weight. Other companies now have better designs and probably better marketing departments to go along with that.

I use an older model of the Redfeather Sport 30. They are very light and maneuverable and good for fitness backcountry snowshoeing. They use a limited-rotation hinge which is nice for bounding down slopes. The claws are sharp enough for clear ice and deep enough for powder. On a side-slope in slushy snow, I get better traction going slightly uphill or slightly downhill. I'm a light person, so Redfeather works really well for me.

The MSR's actually have a sidebar for a straight traverse and better for anything that requires a lot of traction. They are clunky and heavy, with a fully-rotating hinge which helps for moving slowly through really deep powder, but you have to be careful and not do any jumping, jogging, or sudden changes in direction because the tail can rotate all the way towards the front and twist your ankle. But for mountaineering, they are probably the best and most popular for mountain climbers. They also have a flip-up heel piece to provide relief for the calf muscles on long steep climbs.

Atlas is good. Heavier than Redfeather but able to take a little more abuse (bushes and rocks) and heavier loads. Their bindings are spring-loaded, meaning they naturally hold the foot in a forward position.

Tubbs are clunky and cheap. I've never liked them. From what I remember they often use the aluminum cleats, which aren't very sharp. The only thing I like is the plastic decking lets the snow slip off and not stick (wet slushy snow), but polyethylene is a cheap plastic that isn't very strong either, and combined with small cleats you could be sliding around a lot. Tubbs has a good marketing and business department. That's why they are so successful. Their backcountry snowshoes have some decent traction.

For fresh snow or steep climbs, poles make an enormous difference. The baskets need to be large enough for powder snow, which is about twice the diameter of most ski pole baskets (4 times the area).
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Postby phydeux » Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:26 am

I've got a pair of Tubbs snowshoes that look a lot like the old Sherpas. I got them about the time they first came out. They have a 'deck' laced to a tubular aluminum frame, and they have plastic components and web-strapping vs. the vinyl and leather used in the old Sherpa models (the old leather straps were "snow magnets"). Though not as cutting edge as today's stuff, they have worked well over the years, and they are about as heavy as today's models. And they've even been up Denali :D .

As stated above, Sherpa was the innovator and patented a lot of their ideas. However, they didn't go any further with those ideas, and once the patents expired competitors came on the market with better, cheaper, innovative designs.
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Popular Snowshoes

Postby plm » Sun Oct 22, 2006 9:40 pm

Sherpa no longer makes snowshoes. Those involved with rescue work appreciated their design, particularly their aggressive claw. When I last spoke to someone at Sherpa, it appeared they would continue to do repair work, but would no longer manufacture the shoes.

Tubbs seems to have a good approximation of the Sherpas, though nobody currently seems to make them in the extra long sizes Sherpa did.
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