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Old 12-26-2016, 11:12 AM   #1
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I own and use a pair of Atlas snowshoes - tubular in design. I am seeing a lot of MSR composite (plastic?) showshoes in photos of winter ADK hikers. Are these better suited for trails if considering a high peak or two with snow? Certainly look a bit less weight.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:04 PM   #2
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Looking through snowshoe listings it does look like the MSR plastic snowshoes are generally at least a little bit lighter than the Atlas snowshoes (by as much as half a pound per pair). The Lightning Ascents are lighter still.

The biggest advantage of the MSR-style of snowshoe in the High Peaks, IMO, isn't so much the weight as it is the aggressiveness of the crampons. The Evo-Ascents have 2 lines of metal teeth that run most of the length of the snowshoe that helps a lot with traction. The Atlas snowshoes have something similar, but it's a lot smaller.

I think there's also something to be said that the MSR-style of snowshoes are worn so frequently because they are considered fashionable. A lot of people purchase them simply because they see so many other hikers using them in winter. Depending somewhat on the specific model of Atlas snowshoe you have, they will probably work just fine in the High Peaks. I might suggest trying a hike with your personal snowshoes, then trying a second hike with a rented pair of MSR snowshoes (either form the Loj or the Mountaineer) before deciding whether it is worth spending a few hundred dollars to invest in a new pair or not.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:39 PM   #3
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Be sure you try them in "real snow" with some depth as well, not just firmly packed trails behind a dozen other hikers. Purchase show shoes for the type of conditions in which you will use them. try to use those fashion style snowshoes where I live in the western adirondacks and Tug Hill, and if you ever have to break trail in 3 feet of lake effect fluff, they are less than useless as you sink in up to your waist.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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I have a pair of MSR Revo 25s, I've done some walking around on several feet of fresh powder, and sank in about 8 inches, with no pack (~180 lbs). I do like how bitey they are, and they have this heel-lifter device you can pop up out of the frame, to make climbing steep slopes easier. It seemed to help on a gentle slope I have near the house.

+1 to the idea of renting a test pair as well. If you read the MSR site, every single one of their shoes reads like it will let you climb Everest, so YMMV.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:53 PM   #5
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I love my Atlas snowshoes, and their binding design!
Great all-around snowshoe!
Also much nicer looking than those goofy looking plastic duckbill things that many peak geeks wear.
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:09 PM   #6
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I'm not going to win any popularity contest with my Havlicks., but they seem to work pretty good for most of the off trail hiking I do.
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:06 PM   #7
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Great feedback

"aggressiveness of the crampons" - we hiked Algonquin in April and used crampons on the snowpack on trail - no snow off trail so we did not bring snow shoes. With the packed snow and ice in trail I could not picture myself using the Atlas's I have with the teeth across ball of foot. The lengthwise teeth of MSR look much better.

"3 feet of fluff" - Right. I cant picture how the MSR types would do in deep stuff.

So rental - yes, that is the way to go.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tick Magnet View Post
I'm not going to win any popularity contest with my Havlicks., but they seem to work pretty good for most of the off trail hiking I do.
I'm a traditionalist, wood and rawhide work for me and have for a lot of years.
High elevation folks like the more modern shoes.
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:09 PM   #9
Pauly D.
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I bought a pair of MSR Denali's off eBay this year. I used them yesterday on hard pack and light ice. They worked great, especially with the aggressive side rails. Very stable and secure on all hills. I could have gotten by with just microspikes but these are a good choice for places that require snowshoes. They also have removable tails and heel lifts which are nice options.

For powder nothing beats the old wood and rawhide shoes in my opinion. They are an absolute pleasure to walk on. I have an old pair of Faber bear paws that I adore. Not the best in wet snow but for deep snow and rolling hills there are a treat.
Oh I'd rather go and journey where the diamond crest is flowing...
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:51 AM   #10
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I have had great service from MSR....and love the shoe....not great in 2ft of powder..just be third in line....enjoy
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:48 PM   #11
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It ain't the shoes... it's the binding that's so superior in the new shoes... in putting on, adjusting, re-adjusting and cutting in when traversing, as well as crampons built in for climbing and scrambling, moving very fast, coming down steeps, in sticky snow...

I've spent many hundreds of hours and uncountable miles in wood shoes, and I love em! They are kept up, (varnished) and displayed on my walls! But if you want a shoe that's part of your foot, will take an absolute beating, won't risk losing a finger while adjusting to frostbite, don't have to constantly feel like they will slide off to the sides- or back out, or loosen up, re-adjust to different boots, walk without feeling like you have a load in your drawers (LOL) and getting on and off easy, etc. etc.... for efficient and safe footing while carrying a shotgun (no poles ) etc., you can't really compare I'm afraid. On the flats, perhaps... but anywhere difficult... no comparison. The wood ones float you as well... perhaps better as they are usually all purpose sized and thus on the large side. And some of the new designed shoes are better than others.. But Id base my choice huge in the design of the binding- then the rest.

You do have to have more than one size-no doubt. And mountaineering is a differn't animal. My three cents.

Last edited by RichieC; 12-28-2016 at 02:26 PM..
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