User Review: MSR Men's Lightning Ascent
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: full retail minus 20% at REI
I bought the 30" Lightning Ascent 'shoes after sliding on a steep Nevada slope in my Atlas 'shoes and injuring my shoulder. The Ascents are THE grippiest 'shoes on the planet. No more sliding on the steeps. I got 30" 'shoes because I want max flotation. I'm a backcountry skier and 30" is nothing for me to manipulate when compared to skis.
- GREAT grip in all directions, especially laterally
- Decently light considering the strength and grip
- Nice flip-up heel supports for steep ascents
- Very tough sheet material
- Frame is virtually bullet proof
- Good tail extensions available (newer models, after 2010) and easy to attach
- Binding straps need a more positive, secure buckle.
- Flip-up heel elevators need more secure locking (seems to have been corrected in 2011 models).
The original Lightning Ascents (LA) I have aren't compatible with the newer tail extension-adaptable models, but I'll grind slots in the bottom edges and put small stainless steel bolts in the sides to accommodate the new tail extensions. There are not too many pieces of equipment I can't successfully modify. (Modification done, works well and is at least as strong as the new model that is made for the extensions.)
As for the bindings, I'll see if I can get the new upgrades from MSR/Cascade Designs. They could be more user-friendly than the original bindings. My original bindings sometimes have a strap coming loose if the plastic "keeper" slips off its location.
The MSR LA 'shoes are very durable, more so than tuibular aluminum framed 'shoes and I could see them ending up in military use — with the better bindings (and in all white, natch :).