Climbing Mount Shasta with MicroSpikes instead of real crampons?
I’m planning on hiking up Mount Shasta (avalanche gulch route) this June. A lot of sources say you need fully on hard plastic mountaineering boots and crampons to make it up there, but a friend of mine who has done it a few times says he’s not sure you really need those. I just have regular hiking boots and I don’t want to have to buy/rent mountaineering boots unless I really have to. There are some less-hardcore things called MicroSpikes that will go onto the normal hiking boots which should still increase traction in snow/ice and have pretty good review, but are they good enough for Shasta? Apparently it gets up to as much as a 60% grade in some spots and is generally pretty steep the entire way. What is the steepest terrain that MicroSpikes are acceptable for?
I have Kahtoola Microspikes and have used them – they are a great thing to have for packed snow and are very convenient and light to pack; but I would never hike on ice with them, and would definitely NOT use them for a hike like Shasta.
That being said… regarding any attempt on a mountain like Shasta, or Whitney, or any other mountain: success on a summit attempt is more about you enjoying the experience and living to tell others about it, and less about whether or not you summited.
My answer to your question is no. Microspikes are not acceptable. There is still a TON of snow and ice up there. Once you are on the hike and in the full of adrenaline from the climb, you are more apt to push forward with inadequate equipment than turn around, thereby endangering yourself and any SAR staff who may have to come retrieve your injured self.
Rent the gear, practice mountaineering skills (you didn’t even mention an ice axe… I HOPE that is in the plan too?) and go with people who have the proper experience.
If you lack the funds to properly equip yourself now, wait until you can afford to do it right.
The mountain isn’t going anywhere.
Also, you may want to check this book out at the library: http://www.deepsurvival.com/
Great stories about the decision processes that humans go thru in adventure situations… it’s quite eye opening.
Climbing Mount Shasta