Snowshoes

9:54 a.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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Does anyone have the 1235 atlas snowshoe and what is your opinion on floatation. Floatation in these versus a 10 x 30 synthetic or the old alaskans 12 x 60 web leather.

5:51 p.m. on December 3, 2011 (EST)
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Doesn't anybody snowshoe anymore, that can give advice?

6:06 p.m. on December 3, 2011 (EST)
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I had this discussion about shoes in general just before you posted this. Here is the info I got.

6:10 p.m. on December 3, 2011 (EST)
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There is another thread elsewhere on Trailspace on this same topic going on.

Short answer - more area = more flotation with more flotation being better in powder conditions. Powder conditions obtain in really cold, dry conditions, such as are common in Alaska (which is the reason for the Yukon/Alaska 12x60 and other long, moderately wide shoes), Canadian and northern US Rockies, and even sometimes in the California Sierra Nevada. The Atlas 12 series do fairly well in powder, though you will sink in to some extent (depending on your load).

So, which is better depends on (1) conditions and (2) load (= your weight + pack weight). There is slight loss of flotation with the "tennis racket" weave, but not much.

7:23 p.m. on December 3, 2011 (EST)
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beartooth, I do have the Atlas 1235's - bought new last winter - but I didn't respond earlier because I don't really have an answer to your specific questions - I have no idea how these compare to the others you mentioned.

I've used them very little so far, but based on what I have seen I like them - they (being "35's") are very big (not super maneuverable) but I got them to accomodate my weight (~180) plus pack.  I am very impressed with the bindings compared to others I have used.

If there's other info I can provide let me know.

11:44 p.m. on December 4, 2011 (EST)
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I'm no snowshoe expert, but many of the members of wintertrekking (another site I belong to) are, at least as far as using them in Canada goes. Many of them use traditional, native style snowshoes of various shapes and sizes. Everyone there says "bigger is better."  Snowshoes for mountaineering are something else.

I had a pair of Atlas 1025's and in pld Sierra snow, they were fine for me, but in new snow, they would sink quite a bit. In Yosemite, I saw people walking in snowshoes down Glacier Point Road, but they really could have carried them instead because the road was packed and groomed; off road, different story.

9:47 a.m. on December 5, 2011 (EST)
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I have snowshoed a lot, we used to call them "misery slippers" and have had both several pairs of traditional wood and "babiche" shoes and have three pairs of modern "hightech" ones. For most uses and most people, especially for novices, the modern shoes by Crescent Moon, Northlite, Faber and MSR are FAR superior to any traditional shoe.

I don't buy Atlas  since they went "offshore" as I think that the quality suffered as a result and while I used to consider Atlas a top maker, I now prefer the makers listed above. There are also heavy duty "Sherpa" type shoes made here in BC at Prince George, largely for use in forestry.etc. and these are the best option for large and heavy people, but, they are pricey.

For deep, COLD, powder in moderate terrain, AND IF you can and do maintain them properly, a major pita, a good set of Alaskan/Yukon style traditional shoes with GOOD bindings is faster and smoother to make tracks with than any modern shoe. That said, I sold my last pair over 30 years ago and would not bother to buy them again, no working bush pro I know of now uses these in BC.

The best of these was and still is made by Faber Bros. of Quebec and they are still popular in some regions of eastern Canada; they also make a modified "Bear Paw" style called, IIRC, the "Green Mountain" and I used these for many multi-day treks here in BC during the '60s and '70s, they are the best "all around" traditional shoe I know of and will support 200+ lbs. in 6-8 ft. of snow comfortably.

12:34 p.m. on December 5, 2011 (EST)
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i'm not familiar with the Atlas shoes. 

i have used the same pair of Sherpa aluminum/neoprene deck snowshoes for over 25 years - they were that well-built.  (have had to replace the bindings and claws a few times).  you can still find them floating around on Ebay though the company went out of business years ago.  (word to the wise - Sherpa took manufacturing offshore, and quality suffered.  the older shoes, yellow/tan neoprene deck with lots of neoprene lacing, are the more durable, better-made shoes.  note also that the standard aluminum binding claws on the Sherpas were not great - they work much better with a more aggressive steel claw).

if i had to buy a new pair today, it would be IRL/Arctic Trekker.  sizes range up to 10x37, and the ice claw works as well as many crampons. 

they weigh a lot by modern standards, but i think it's worth it.

http://www.irl.bc.ca/Forestry%20Supplies/snowshoes.htm

August 30, 2014
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