Kahtoola is an ancient word meaning someone who is a tool in Tibetan. OK, not really, it means "directly" in that language. Kahtoola makes some nice non-technical crampons, and their new MICROspikes may fill a small niche but I don’t think it’s the one they were targeting.
The MICROspikes – and I’m getting pissy just having to use the caps to compensate for the 90s tech-product spelling – have small crampon-like teeth as part of the chains that go under the foot. On bare ice they work beautifully, really digging in and providing a stable work platform. They also fit over any footwear and stay on relatively well.
What’s the problem? Snow. These babies ball up faster than Paris Hilton in front of a cell phone camera. And not small balls either. Big balls. Big, white balls. The chains are the culprit, collecting softball sized clumps in just a few steps. If you’re looking for light-duty traction for your non-technical footwear, these fit somewhere between Yaktrax and Kahtoola’s own aluminum crampons, which are excellent if you don’t want frontpoints.
One response to “Kahtoola MICROspikes”
Kahtoola has some hints for reducing balling: “Some snow conditions are particularly sticky – think of plastic ski boots in certain conditions. The best defense with any metal part in the snow is to start with them cold. This will GREATLY reduces the snowballing. When you pull them out of your warm car on a cold day they can be magnets for snowballing because they melt the snow onto the surface and then promply freeze.”