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[Yosemite]

Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby mebgardner » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:51 pm

I'm seeing the snow continue to fall in the High Country.

I have a permit for Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest in late June.

I'm hopeful the road will be open, and if so, I'm expecting snow on the trail. Likely sun-cupped in a lot of places, and likely hard packed from "tourists", like me!

Do you think I should bring crampons?

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:54 pm

I would take microspikes. (Crampons are not the same thing -- they are sharper and require you to walk funny so you don't shred your pants.)
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby mebgardner » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:06 pm

OK, I can accept that.

I think this is another good idea from you, and I'm *really thankful* for your advice

Thank You.
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby Phil » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:06 pm

If you buy a pair, Kathoola makes the best.
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby mebgardner » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:59 pm

OK, Thanks Phil.

How do you know this? Tried many brands?

I believe what you're telling me, partially because I trust your opinion, partially because what you write agrees with the concensus.

But, I thought I'd ask: How do you know this?
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:11 pm

There used to be just Kahtoolas, the only microspikes around -- not too many brands of microspikes around even now, they have minimal competition. People often refer to microspikes as Kahtoolas even though there are others. Sort of like Kleenex is becoming generic for tissue. They occupy a niche between the Yaktrax and the full crampon, of which there are numerous types, but all of which are more aggressively appointed to deal with solid ice. Yaktrax are too flimsy and are better for icy parking lots (short distances, more variable icy surfaces). Kahtoolas are duller points, durable (stainless steel chain and silicon upper to fasten around the shoe/boot), and suitable for crunchy late season shallow snow, with some icy areas, as long as the slope is not significantly steep. The trail route to Clouds Rest has steep places but none are likely to be icy as the south facing slopes are getting enough sun to melt out and the concern will be short shady spots along the way. Once on the mountain itself you likely won't need the traction assistance. Slopes on the way to the top of the north side of the ridge may have some icy patches of consolidated snow, but nothing vertical and if they are icy there will be less icy routes around the ice. Microspikes will help in such variable conditions where full crampons are overkill.

Older Kahtoolas can tear, where the chain fastens to the silicon, but are generally durable -- more so than rubber or plastic. They can be repaired with heavy duty wire, temporarily. (Flexible but durable/heavy wire is the winter repair kit choice for skis, snowshoes and other traction devices.) The few competitors don't use such durable materials. Traction devices made of some amount of rubber will fail a lot faster. So will lighter metals. Aluminum is a frequent light component competing brands use in an attempt to make them lighter to carry, but crampons or microspikes of steel stand up to the beating of ice and rock much better.
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby Phil » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:57 pm

LOL! AT's answer was better than I was going to give you. What she said.

I've been out with people using other brands that have all broken at either the links or in the upper. I used to be a ski patroller and we did a lot of walking on snow and ice for calls and everything else we ended up doing when we didn't want to fall on our patients or faces. I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews before buying my Kathoolas. I've used them on mountaineering boots, hiking boots, and ski boots...they haven't broken. Stainless steel chains and spikes, hold their points pretty well, good bales/uppers made of silicon that doesn't get all rigid or tear when cold, stronger eyelets, go on solidly, easily and fast. Yaktrax are sort of silly with cables, and as AT said, they're best for parking lots and sidewalks. I still want actual spikes for the best traction, but where a set of crampons would be way too much.
Last edited by Phil on Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby Phil » Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:03 pm

I don't know, Meb. We've been up that way quite a few times over the years in late June and we never had any problems that more than a good pair of boots with good lugs or walking around was sufficient to deal with. Poles aren't too bad an idea either. There are always exceptions, but I think AlmostThere pretty well described the conditions. I'm not sure where to find info like accurate snow depth at various elevations online, but sometimes you can call the park and ask a ranger where the snow level is or read the reports from the ranger couple that are stationed in Tuolumne over the winter. The biggest deal are the mosquitoes. You can make really good time across almost anything when you're being chased by ravenous swarms. As I've suggested to others before, you can always throw the spikes in the car and if you need them, you have them. You'll have good idea of what to expect up on CR from a quick glance driving by Olmstead Point.

Oh yeah, you can also get a good shot of CR and a fair amount of the high country at similar elevations from the webcam up on Glacier Point.
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Re: Crampons for late June at Sunrise / CR?

Postby mebgardner » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:45 am

Those are excellent replies! Thank you both, so much :)

I will now study the rest of my route to determine what is north facing. I know I have some long steep climbouts from LYV up to Merced Camp, and Vogelsang.

I remember being chased by mosquito swarms along this route before. We ram with full packs, just to get away. We did not, of course, and then we were sweaty, tired and swarmed too.

Yeah, it's amazing what kind of distance you can make when driven... By blood loss!

Thanks again, so much, both you and AT.
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