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APPLICATION - SNOWSHOES - Mike Wilkie

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  • foreverwild
    Please consider my application to test one of the three snowshoes. I have read and will comply with all requirements for being a tester in chapter 5 and will
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2007
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      Please consider my application to test one of the
      three snowshoes.

      I have read and will comply with all requirements for
      being a tester in chapter 5 and will follow all
      procedures in completing reports. I have read and am
      familiar with all of the latest bylaws v.0609 and the
      complete Survival Guide.


      Name: Michael Wilkie
      Age: 31
      Gender: M
      Height: 5’8” (1.73 m)
      Weight: 148 lb (67 kg)
      Email: foreverwild1885@...
      Location: Davenport, NY


      Hiking for me started at a young age as I was always
      an avid camper. As a young boy I became a member of
      the Boy Scouts and started backpacking on weekends and
      week long tent camping trips. I now live in the
      Catskill region of New York State and backpacking here
      has become serious for me over the past years. Any
      free time I have when not in the backcountry I’m
      learning new skills, studying trail maps and
      researching new gear.

      I camp, day hike or multi-day backpack through the
      Adirondack or Catskill Regions every weekend. I
      consider myself to be a mid-weight packer as I always
      like to be prepared and currently use tent for
      overnighters. With my experience testing gear for the
      BGT I would like to learn to lighten my pack load.

      Being an aspirant of the Catskill 3500 club and
      planning to become an Adirondack 46er, peakbagging has
      become my favorite outdoor activity. Climbing to
      summits this winter will be challenging as I learn
      snowshoeing and using crampons. My long-term goal is
      to complete some long distance thru hikes. My trail
      segment adoption also keeps me busy doing trail
      maintenance inside the Catskill Park.

      Peakbagging, backpacking and camping are my main
      backcountry activities. Other outdoor interests
      include canoeing, kayaking, snowboarding and mountain
      biking. After this winter I will be able to add
      snowshoeing to this list. I just love spending as
      much time in the wilderness as possible.

      The following information is the average conditions
      for the regions in which gear testing will occur.

      I intend to test any gear throughout the Catskill and
      Adirondack Regions on and during long day hikes at
      elevations on the Catskill Peaks of 3500–4200 ft (1067
      m-1280 m) and Adirondack Peaks up to 5000 ft (1524 m).
      I will also test any gear during several multi-day
      backpack trips. I also take many camping trips during
      the months of April through to November. Any gear
      testing on these trips will be used in temperatures of
      32 – 90 F (0.00 -32.22 C) and weather conditions from
      cold rainy days to hot sunny dry days. Winter tent
      camping trips will consist of temperatures below 0 F
      (-17.77 C) and above with snow a definite.

      Annual precipitation averages 40 to 48 in (1,020 to
      1,230 mm); 60 to 100 in (1,500 to 2,550 mm) occur as
      snow. Mean annual temperature ranges from 46 to 50 F
      (8 to 10 C). The growing season lasts for 120 to 160
      days, decreasing with increasing elevation.

      The location of my town is southeast of the Great Lake
      Ontario. Lake Ontario produces its own winter storms
      called Lake Effect storms. These Lake Effects can
      drop heavy amounts of snow at an unbelievable rate.
      These storms can leave behind 5 ft (1.52 m) of snow
      easily. Last winter we were hit with a snow squall
      during a Lake Effect that accumulated 2 ft (0.61 m) in
      just 3 hours. After the Lake Effect, 5 ft (1.52 m) of
      snow buried my property. A small town located on the
      western coast of the lake had an unfortunate
      experience with about 10 ft (3.05 m) of snow. There
      is no question; snow is a definite here for me.


      Field Information

      As stated above in my bio, I day hike or multi-day
      backpack in the New York State backcountry every
      weekend. Any gear I am chosen to test and review will
      receive consistent use over the test period. This
      gear would be used on and during all day trips and
      multi-day backcountry adventures for the entire test
      period.

      This winter (during the test period) I will be
      backpacking mostly to mountain summits all above 3500
      ft ((1067 m). I can expect extreme temperatures in
      these cold mountainous areas with snow and icy
      conditions. During these trips I will be using
      snowshoes and 12 point crampons. On any overnighters
      I will be camping with a tent or sometimes in the
      occasional lean-to. I will assess any gear being
      tested under these conditions for its quality and
      report on all of my experiences. All my personal
      evaluations, findings and test experiences with the
      gear will be recorded. I will incorporate these
      recording into my reviews.

      During the months of this test series, the Catskill
      Region here turns into a winter wonderland. Snow is a
      definite as I climb and backpack over this mountainous
      terrain. This terrain will vary but will mostly
      consist of ascents on steep traverses. Some steep
      scrambles will force me to change out of the snowshoes
      and into crampons. These changing’s would be great to
      include in my reviews of how the snowshoes handle my
      entry and exit of the shoe in the field. These times
      in crampons I will be able to assess how the snowshoes
      affect my pack weight.

      Choosing me to test one of these three snowshoes would
      be a good decision due to my inexperience. Since I
      have never used snowshoes my opinion will be unbiased.
      I could only assume there will be plenty of
      inexperienced snowshoe users who will read these
      reviews in the future. I can give this review an
      inexperienced user perspective of the product and
      explain its user friendliness to a newbie snowshoe
      hiker.

      As it is my plan to start snowshoeing this winter I
      can guarantee consistent use of them. This would be
      an excellent test series for me since I have recently
      started to research snowshoes in anticipation to
      purchase a pair in the near future.


      Test Plan

      My plan is to test the snowshoes during all and any
      weather conditions Mother Nature has in store during
      my outings. My main concerns will be about its
      durability, functionality, usefulness, ease of use and
      most of all comfort and fit. I will report all
      testing done to access any special features that this
      product may have or contain.

      As I do backpack every weekend, here are some of my
      definite trip plans: I will be summiting four
      mountain peaks to put towards my winter requirements
      to become a Catskill 3500er. This club requires each
      member to summit all 35 high peaks in the Catskills
      all over 3500 ft (1067 m) in elevation. Four of them
      are to be completed a second time during the winter
      months. Details of these four mountains that I will
      summit during this test series are as follows.

      Slide Mountain (Highest peak in the Catskills)

      Elevation – 4180 ft (1274 m)
      (20-foot closed contour)
      Latitude/Longitude (WGS84) 41° 60' N; 74° 23' W
      41.999112, -74.386045 (Dec Deg)
      550847E 4649860N Zone 18 (UTM)
      Country United States
      State/Province New York
      County/Second Level Region Ulster (Highest Point)
      City/Town Shandaken

      Blackhead Mountain

      Elevation - 3940 (1207 m)
      (20-foot closed contour)
      Latitude/Longitude (WGS84) 42° 16' N; 74° 6' W
      42.267745, -74.104703 (Dec Deg)
      573835E 4679892N Zone 18 (UTM)
      Country United States
      State/Province New York
      County/Second Level Region Greene

      Balsam Mountain

      Elevation - 3600 (1097 m)
      (20-foot closed contour)
      Latitude/Longitude (WGS84) 42° 5' N; 74° 29' W
      42.090932, -74.488016 (Dec Deg)
      542341E 4659999N Zone 18 (UTM)
      Country United States
      State/Province New York
      County/Second Level Region Ulster

      Panther Mountain

      Elevation - 3720 (1134 m)
      (20-foot closed contour)
      Latitude/Longitude (WGS84) 42° 3' N; 74° 24' W
      42.05648, -74.394295 (Dec Deg)
      550119E 4656225N Zone 18 (UTM)
      Country United States
      State/Province New York
      County/Second Level Region Ulster

      I also take a short 1.75 mile (2.82 km) hike every
      Tuesday and Thursday mornings. If I am chosen to test
      any of these snowshoes I will be sure to wear them
      during the test period on all of these morning hikes.
      These morning hikes take place in the forest behind my
      house that is mostly an uphill/downhill rocky terrain.
      This hike is a moderate ascend to an elevation of
      2000 ft (610 m).

      With all the testing and consistent use that the
      snowshoes will endure during this test period, I will
      report of any wear and tear they display. I will
      report of their current conditions throughout the test
      period and will explain all of the pros and cons that
      I may find.

      ********************************************************************************

      Assessments to be made of Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes:

      The Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes is my first choice of
      the three snowshoes to test.

      Frame:
      How strong is the Momentum SuperLite 7000 frame? How
      light is the frame and what is its true measured
      weight? Does the ergonomically tapered frame make for
      optimal medial clearance and stability in all
      conditions?

      Articulation:
      Does the new RII pivot system optimize efficiency,
      lateral flex and traction? Does the rotating cord
      enhance gait mechanics? Does the RII make for a
      natural foot position? Does the Control Wing design
      center my heels?

      Binding:
      Do the ActiveFit bindings make for a custom fit to my
      size 8 Columbia Titanium Ice Dragon snow
      hiking/snowshoeing boots? Does the asymmetric (L/R)
      design with enhanced Cinch Pull make for ease of
      entry/exit? Does the new ActiveLift heel lift reduce
      calf fatigue during prolonged climbing? Does the heel
      lift make extended climbs easier and more efficient?

      Crampon:
      Do the aggressive stainless steel Viper/Python
      crampons provide unsurpassed traction in ascent,
      descent and sidehill traverses? What kind of traction
      will they provide in all terrain types that I will be
      traversing?

      Deck:
      Is the proprietary ArcTec decking tough and puncture
      resistant?

      ********************************************************************************

      Assessments to be made of MSR Lightning Ascent
      Snowshoes:

      The MSR Lightning Ascents is my second choice of the
      three snowshoes to test.

      Traction:
      Will the Serrated Total-Traction frame deliver
      unprecedented 360° grip?

      Weight:
      How light are these snowshoes? What is their true
      measured weight?

      Terrain:
      Does the Televator heel lifter reduce calf fatigue,
      making climbing easier and more efficient? How do
      they handle on steep terrain?

      User-Friendly:
      Do 3-strap step-on bindings fit my Columbia Titanium
      Ice Dragon snow hiking/snowshoeing boots? How fast,
      secure, and easy to use are they?

      Support:
      Will the True-Hinge steel crampon enhance foot
      stability and minimize heel drift? Will this result
      in more efficient gait mechanics and less expended
      energy? How well will they grip?

      Waterproof:
      Will the materials soak up water and freeze? Will the
      straps remain easy to use in all conditions? Do I
      consider them to be 100% water proof?

      ********************************************************************************

      Assessments to be made of the MSR Denali Ascent
      Snowshoes:

      The MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoes will be my last pick
      of the three snowshoes to test.

      Terrain:
      Will the Televator heel lifter reduce calf fatigue,
      making climbing easier and more efficient? How do
      they handle on steep terrain?

      Traction:
      Do the steel traction blades with saber teeth,
      crampons, and molded braking bars in deck provide
      exceptional grip?

      Walking:
      Does the tapered tip and tail make walking easier and
      more natural? Do they make for easier walking?

      Versatile:
      Do the 6” Evo flotation tails allow me to fine-tune
      the snowshoes to meet changing conditions and pack
      weight? (This will be included in the review if the
      tails are supplied to me from the company. The
      website states they are sold separately. I will make
      this purchase if necessary for testing and the
      review.)

      User-Friendly:
      Do the new stand-up bindings allow easy entry and exit
      from the snowshoe?

      Fit:
      Does the crampon extension plate eliminate heel drift?
      Does the four-strap binding provide a great fit and a
      secure attachment to the snowshoes?


      Here is the rank order of the snowshoes I prefer.

      First - Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes
      Second - MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
      Last - MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoes

      Previously written reports:

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/foreverwild


      Thank you for considering me for this test series.


      Regards,
      Mike Wilkie
      (foreverwild)
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