Saturday, January 05, 2013

Yaktrax Review Hiking a Snowy / Icy Old Rag Mountain

Snow and ice greet the reviewer on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park

Today's ramble was Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park via Berry Hollow. Since I had been forewarned about snow and ice in the park, I threw in my Yaktrax walkers - the simple coil and rubber traction devices that slip on over one's footwear.

Yaktrax regular walkers with the coils
With the trail mostly a granular surface, the coils did a good job of gripping the snow, allowing me to walk a relatively normal gait on the trail. When I reached icier sections at a higher elevation, I could fee the coils slipping unless there was some snow to grip. I would look for areas that had this kind of surface but realized as I descended that microspikes would have probably worked better in these kinds of conditions. Thankfully Yaktrax has an array of traction options including an extreme kind with a tougher chain and spikes in the toe and heel (called xtr extreme).

Once I got out of the icy and steeper terrain, I hiked along just fine on the regular walkers while those in tennis shoes  without traction were slipping on the snowy trail. Everyone wanted to know what I was wearing on my feet to deal with the winter conditions.

The south (like Virginia where the park is located) tends to get more ice than snow, and with melting from warmer temps and then refreezing, traction devices with microspikes are probably a better choice.      

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