Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

IR - MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes - Andy Rad

Expand Messages
  • Andy Rad
    IR is also posted to test site with 4 photes and table layout. http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/MSR%20Ascent% 20Snowshoes-AndyRad/ Initial
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 28, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      IR is also posted to test site with 4 photes and table layout.


      Initial Review: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes

      Date: Dec 28th, 2004

      Manufacturer Information

      Name: Mountain Safety Research (MSR)

      Website: http://www.msrcorp.com

      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research (MSR)

      Model: Lightning Ascent Snowshoes

      Year of Manufacture: 2004

      Color: Orange & Black

      Size: Men's 8 x 25 in. (20 x 56 cm)

      MSRP: $249.95 (US)

      Listed Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz. (1655 g) per pair

      Measured Weight: 3 lbs. 9.9 oz (1641 g)

      Initial Review

      Snowshoes arrived in generic packaging from CascadeDesign, the parent
      company of MSR, and came packaged ready for display in a stacked
      array with two securing rubber straps and wraparound
      cardboard/placard strap. The wraparound placard covers/shields the
      lower shoe's snow claw and the 2 cross-members are covered by plastic
      slip on protectors. A protective cardboard panel, between the shoes,
      eliminates the sharp claw and cross-members from the upper shoe from
      damaging the lower shoe's binding and deck.

      To date, this is the 8th pair of snowshoes I've owned. My first 2
      pair were traditional wood, one a long tailed version, and the other
      an oval Bear Paw design for bushwhacking. My 3rd pair was a military
      model constructed of a magnesium/aluminum frame and stainless
      webbing. With the exception of my MSR Denali Classics, the remainder
      have all been tubular aluminum frame with a solid deck and some sort
      of articulating binding.

      The distinguishing feature of the Lightning Ascent snowshoes is the
      lack of tubular frame, and use of flat stock aerospace-grade
      aluminum. The frame utilizes a 0.10 in. (2.5 mm) piece of aluminum
      stock that is stamped and shaped into a vertical blade with a shape
      that includes teeth the full circumference of the frame. MSR calls
      this full 360o of ice biting frame a Total-Traction™ Frame and
      definitely appears ready for tackling icy snow conditions. The frame
      has considerably more flex/twist than my tubular framed shoes. By
      grasping the shoe at both ends, I'm able to twist the frame about an
      inch (2.5 cm). This had me concerned, and I further tested the frame
      by stepping on a 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) piece of wood; first on a front
      corner and then on a rear corner. In both cases the shoe twisted
      enough to allow the remaining 3 corners to contact the floor surface,
      but sprung back into shape once I stepped off the shoe. In addition
      to using aerospace-grade aluminum, MSR added 2 cross-members to
      strengthen the frame, provide traction, and act as a binding anchor
      and heel plate.

      The front binding is very similar to the MSR Denali Classic, except
      that it has 2 across-the-boot straps instead of 3. I particularly
      like the open metal binding/latch that allows the bindings to be
      fully swung away during boot placement and then latched and secured
      when ready. I've owned a pair of MSR Denali Classics for 3 years and
      have had no issue with this style of bindings. In comparison to my
      heavy-duty backcountry shoes, the bindings are on the light side, but
      I consider the MSR line as recreational snowshoes. For if they were
      intended for backcountry travel they would be longer to support the
      added weight of heavy/extended packing.

      Other than on my back-country skies, I've never used heel lifts or
      what MSR calls Televators™. As is evident in the photo, the
      retractable bar behind the binding is a welcomed addition when
      climbing. Not only does it reduce calf fatigue when climbing on your
      toes, but distributes the weight more evenly. The Televators™
      pronounced click when locked out of the way and when activated
      appears well designed. This may not seem like an important
      consideration, but I've used heel lifts on skies that would work away
      from the heel. Consider stepping down expecting to contact a heel
      lift and it isn't there, it can throw a person off balance.

      The articulating binding's pivot point is under the ball of the foot
      as expected, and secured by 2 pins on either side. The binding is not
      spring loaded as many shoes, but drops/drags as the user steps
      forward. Many of the modern snowshoes have spring loaded
      articulating bindings. This allows the shoe to be distanced away
      from the snow as the wearer lifts their feet, thus allowing the user
      to step backwards. The Lightning Ascent has a hard stop at about 70o,
      thus requiring the user to lift their feet and tip their toes
      forward/down in order to raise the rear of the snowshoe above the
      snow. I can't say one has an advantage over the other. I have both
      and find the spring loaded bindings tend to throw snow up the back of
      the legs or up the back. They make for stepping backwards more easy,
      but one generally isn't walking backwards that much.

      The twin tooth snow claw is constructed of stainless and is the base
      plate on which the binding is mounted. Penetration depth is 1 inch
      (2.54 cm) and points are 1 inch (2.54) apart. Considering the 360o
      Total-Traction™ Frame, 2 protruding cross-members, and snow claw,
      these shoes should be aggressive in icy conditions.

      The deck material is constructed of what appears to be fiber/cord
      reinforced synthetic rubber, and is attached to the frame and front
      cross-member by rivets through stainless tabs. Attachment to the
      front cross-member and frame makes for 22 rivets/attachment points
      and for a taut deck. The rear cross-member also serves as heel
      plate, thus the decking material is never used to support the user.

      Test Plan

      January testing involves 2 extended weekends skiing between yurts. I
      take snowshoes as I like to hike around in the evening. This means
      that the shoes worn will be of two types; plastic telemark boots and
      lighter duty x-county NNN-BC boots. I suspect that at least 8
      different people will be experimenting with these new snowshoes while
      on the yurt trips. Since the binding facilitates an open toe, I
      don't foresee any issues. A third trip in January will consist of a
      short overnight trip in preparation for an extended annual
      backcountry trip. February consists of a 5 day back country ski trip
      and the snowshoes will be carried along as community gear as an
      emergency backup in the event of a broken ski. They will also be
      used for around camp. Again plastic telemark boots and deep/light
      snow are expected. Since the user would be following ski tracks the
      short length may be sufficient. The January preparation trip will
      determine if they make the selection. Late February and March will be
      marked with at least 1 overnight trip and several weekend day trips.

      Tester Information & Background

      Name: Andy Rad

      Gender: Male

      Age: 47

      Height: 6 ft (1.83 m)

      Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)

      Email: aisrad@...

      I started backpacking 21 years ago, mostly 3 day trips with at least
      one 7 day trip per year. By backpacking, I'm referring to summer,
      winter camping, and fall hunting. About half my trips are light
      weight solo and the other half with my family. I own a llama that
      was purchased when my 3rd child was 2, some 10 years ago. This
      allowed me to continue backpacking as a family activity. When I'm
      not with the family/llama I tend to take less-traveled trails or
      bushwhack the hard mountainous terrain in and around Idaho. In
      recent years I've begun substituting a collie for the llama. The
      majority of my trips are in central Idaho, with a few into northern
      Idaho, eastern Idaho, and eastern Oregon.
    • Alex Tweedly
      Only a couple of minor things for you Andy. ... Edit: 8x25 in converts to 20 x 64 cm. The 20x56 cm is the other size - 8 x 22 ... Edit: typo, I think -
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 3, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Only a couple of minor things for you Andy.

        Andy Rad wrote:

        >Initial Review: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
        >Date: Dec 28th, 2004
        >Size: Men's 8 x 25 in. (20 x 56 cm)
        Edit: 8x25 in converts to 20 x 64 cm. The 20x56 cm is the other size -
        8 x 22

        >MSRP: $249.95 (US)
        >Listed Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz. (1655 g) per pair
        Edit: typo, I think - should be 1645 g (I only noticed because the 0.1
        difference to the next weight was equated to 14 g - so I knew one of the
        had to be wrong; otherwise I'd never have known :-)

        >Measured Weight: 3 lbs. 9.9 oz (1641 g)

        >Test Plan
        >January testing involves 2 extended weekends skiing between yurts. I
        >take snowshoes as I like to hike around in the evening. This means
        >that the shoes worn will be of two types; plastic telemark boots and
        >lighter duty x-county NNN-BC boots.
        edit: x-countRy

        comment: NNN-BC ?? Is that going to be familiar to all likely readers
        (including international ones) ?
        I don't recognize it - but if you feel that anyone likely to be reading
        a snow shoe review "for real" will know it, then it's fine.

        -- Alex.

        No virus found in this outgoing message.
        Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
        Version: 7.0.298 / Virus Database: 265.6.7 - Release Date: 30/12/2004
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.