Kia ora all. Can people share their thoughts on using microspikes. Are they at all useful? Are they helpful for crossing slippery rocks? What are people's experiences of using them?
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Right. Mine are Asolos, not particularly ridged.
The Kahtoola microspikes sold here now come in two versions: an aluminium and a steel version. I think the steel one has slightly longer teeth and would be more robust if in contact with rock. The extra length of the spikes would also make them better if you're carrying a heavier load
I've been using Kahtoola micro spikes for three years now. I find they make for safe walking and I can walk down steep hills at normal walking pace and up steep hills by using the front spikes so the toes grip into the bank. I use them in streams too. They are noisy on the rocks if you are hunting tho. They last about a year before the rubber starts breaking. The tread on my footwear doesn't wear out now so the first thing to go on the shoes is the sides split or separates from the sole. Once I bought some cheap ones off the net and they lasted four and a half days, the links kept pulling apart. I work in the bush on steep terrain and I wouldn't be without them now.
I've used spiked loggers gumboots a lot in slippery untracked bush and open ground during winter conditions. Most trampers would probably complain that they are too heavy but they give excellent grip and keep your feet dry and warm in cold wet conditions. I've climbed quite a few hills in them too. The downside is they get too hot in warmer weather and the tops can chafe on long down hill stretches if your legs get sweaty.
Too heavy for what they provide in my view, I use these or 10 point crampons https://vargooutdoors.com/pocket-cleats.html
I've worn out quite a few pairs of instep crampons over the years (they don't last long with lots of use) and a few pairs of the spiked boots. You can get replacement screw in spikes for the boots. I also own proper strap on 12 point climbing crampons which unlike the other two grip options mentioned I try and save just for snow and ice. Being used to heavy boots the spiked gumboots or high top leather boots with strap on instep crampons are not a problem weight wise though most people used to light weight gear would balk at the weight.
Have you tried the Kahtoola flexible crampons designed to be worn with less stiff boots?
I have a pair of the [Hillsound Trail Crampons](https://www.gearshop.co.nz/products/hillsound-trail-crampon) and a pair of the [Petzl aluminium alloy 10 pt crampons](https://www.trekkinn.com/outdoor-mountain/petzl-leopard-flexlock-fil/136172998/p?utm_source=google_products&utm_medium=merchant&id_producte=3717318&country=nz&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzrGf47TG6gIVAiQrCh3zdgnVEAQYAiABEgJB0vD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds) The Petzl Leopards are much more of a real crampon with proper spikes and front points. With a reasonably rigid boot and the points sharp and two ice tools, you'd be OK on a reasonably steep and icy route - say the East Ridge of Taranaki or the like. They weigh less than most of the microspike type crampons, and they will also fit and stay on quite lightweight tramping boots. @Yarmoss - the crampons you say are always falling of your Asolo boots, are they an older pair of club crampons with the old style straps? If so, it might be worth trying some with this more modern strapping system. But: There are plenty of conditions where I'd rather be on a pair of the micro spikes like the Hillsounds or the Kahtoolas and a pair off walking poles. On moderately angled mixed ground, say iced over track or snow and iced over tussock, vegetation and rocky ground, snowed over scree and the like, I don't feel like putting on the real crampons, but I'm slipping all over the place in just boots. The trail crampons are ideal as they provide quite a secure grip on most of that variety of terrain, without worrying about the variation in penetration and trip potential between stepping on snow covered icy rock, tussock, scree, or a patch of actual snow in crampons with longer spikes. But then if it's actual solid steep snow and hard, I'd much rather be on the real crampons...
Have you looked into Kahtoola's flexible crampons? They have two versions; one made in aluminium with smaller teeth, and the other with longer steel teeth which should be more durable on rock. Both are designed to be worn on flexible boots. I just got a pair which I haven't had the chance to use yet. They seem easy enough to fit. I also have the microspikes by the same company. Very effective for contact on icy surfaces, but I got the crampons for extended tramping for the extra penetration and grip under load, especially if going up or down steeper inclines. I can't really speak with any practical experience of using them to traverse rock.
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