Some friends and I rented a cabin in Soda Springs near Donner Pass this weekend and hiked to the top of Castle Peak. Castle Peak is just east of PCT Mile 1162 and the P. Grubb Hut.
The snow was low on the North slopes and nonexistent on the West and South facing ones. What was there was mostly ice, which was a great test of Spring Conditions in the Southern Sierra and a workout for my Hillsound Trail Crampon Pros.
The Trail Crampon Pros are a lightweight, light to medium duty Crampon that “share some features of climbing or mountaineering crampons, they are not designed for technical ascents or ice climbing.” (From the Hillsound web site)
The bindings are made for speedy install and removal; Handy for hiking long sections of dirt, rock and occasional ice. As the quote above says, they are NOT made for serious Alpine use. I can attest to that because when worn with my Trail Runners the heel section would show a gap, sometimes up to one inch when stepping. This is partially because the Crampons are not designed for flexible shoes (Alpine boots don’t have much flex between toe and heel) and the bindings just aren’t that secure. They fell off once on the flats when I was doing almost 4 MPH…
But when they work it’s like magic! Walking up an icy hill becomes almost a pleasure. Even at 24onces they are on my Carry list come June when I hit the Sierra.
I called this a Practice Hike; It was a moderate 8-9 mile hike with 1800ft of elevation gain. A nice hike with friends. However, any benefit was likely erased with the large pot-luck dinner and adult beverages later that evening.
I regret nothing! 😉
48 days to go!