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 Post subject: MinusEstPlust snow shoes review
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:39 pm 
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Location: Chamonix, France
So about a week ago I went into a shop to rent some tele skis (I've been learning, but every time I take the two planks practice all the beautiful telemarking scandinavian girls disappear), and saw these. I thought they'd be cool to try, so I googled.

http://www.minusestplus.com/

http://www.minusestplus.com/eshop/cat037_l2.html

It's a small company, and they are cool about tree hugging stuff so I figured I'd buy them even if they suck. But they don't =)

I was at Grand Montets resort about 3 days after a massive dump (snow conditions varied). Since I don't have the unlimited pass to go up to the off piste stuff, I went to the highest chair lift and skinned up from there.

Somewhere near the end I got sick of traversing, and gave the snowshoes a shot.

The design is very simple:

Image

You place them between the crampon (any type is supposed to work) and the boot, and they just provide surface area.

The two halves can slide to accomodate most shoe sizes, and there is no front/back, left/right or top/bottom, so it's pretty simple to put them on.

Just be careful to not drop them when fumbling with the crampons on hardpack - they have no bite on their own and will slide very easily.

once you thread the crampon stuff through them you just put the crampon on normally.

So after I put them on I started walking straight up the slope, which was about 40-45° at the steepest parts. The conditions were mixed, sometimes soft powder, sometimes a thin wind crust, and sometimes really hard stuff.

They kicked steps very well because they are thin and low profile - it wasn't difficult to break the crust at all.

In the soft stuff they provided much more float than I expected. Here's a pic of some lard ass standing on one leg:

Image

For comparison the pole is in the pic too. I didn't pound it in or anything, that's from walking normally.

On one small ice patch I could easily duck walk (french crampon technique) since after all I had real crampons underneath.

They weigh very little, and pack well under the shovel in the shovel pocket of my backpack.

If my crampons were more packable I wouldn't ever think twice about bringing them along.

In short, I am very happy I bought them. I might even invest in lighter, smaller crampons.

Hope this helps all you vert junkies who are having trouble getting their fix.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:47 pm 
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Location: PNW Hood Canal
n-much, great info, thank you very much. I like wearing crampons, these may fit into my gear collection soon. I like verts, but you can never have enough gear to keep the wife a little stirred up, right?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:34 pm 
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Badass. I want some.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:54 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Those things look pretty cool. The only thing I would worry about is if you ran into really hard frozen stuff. With Verts you can basically frontpoint up frozen stuff if you need to. With these, it looks like the front of the deck sticks out a lot further than the crampon points (Verts end just barely past the toe of the boot).

But then (duh), at that point you could just take the decks off and use crampons directly.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:53 pm 
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jimw wrote:
Those things look pretty cool. The only thing I would worry about is if you ran into really hard frozen stuff. With Verts you can basically frontpoint up frozen stuff if you need to. With these, it looks like the front of the deck sticks out a lot further than the crampon points (Verts end just barely past the toe of the boot).

But then (duh), at that point you could just take the decks off and use crampons directly.


Yeah, the other day I was frontpointing some bulletproof windboard. I had axes too and it sucked. Best to just take 'em off at that point.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:56 pm 
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From another point of view:

If you are already well into the bulletproof windboard with these decks and they are held to your boots by your crampons you have to remove a crampon to remove the deck to reattach and probably adjust the crampon to then do the hokey pokey with the other leg...and you are already in a locaiton with poor purchase.

That reminds me of why I think the best part of the burton interface is the drop in crampon. You can already be on that icy sidehill traverse and realize that you need a board crampon and bend to insert it. With the voile design you have to remove the pin, maybe you can put the crampon onto the slider track that is attached to your boot, maybe not, then put it all back together.

If you have already reached either of these points, the transition to getting your purchase improved costs you some sphincter factor and some interesting balancing while on very unsure surfaces.

BGnight, get a set, get into your frontpoint mode and film the hokey pokey, I bet we would love to see that one...so long as you don't end up doing the slide to self arrest with those axes while wearing one crampon through your snowshoe deck and having the other crampon and deck in your hand. jimw was a long time rider of the burton system, he knows the value of dropping that board crampon in, no matter when.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:33 am 
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Yeah Mumbles, I was thinking the same thing. At least with Verts, you *can* climb anything except maybe solid blue ice, so you don't have to take them off and switch over. What would be cool is if those minusestplus things had some kind of quick release mechanism.

And about the Buton crampons... well I know you're new around these parts, but I have been singing their praises for years now. I can't wait for Will to come out with the drop-in version that works with his bindings.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:43 am 
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well, a very simple hack would be to just trim the front part of the deck to allow front pointing. That would hurt some of the float, obviously, but it's a simple matter of priorities.

It does seem to me that if I really need to front point, I am probably carrying ice tools, not a splitboard though. I definitely don't want to be ice climbing anything technical with a soft snowboard boot ;-)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:48 am 
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nothingmuch wrote:
It does seem to me that if I really need to front point, I am probably carrying ice tools, not a splitboard though. I definitely don't want to be ice climbing anything technical with a soft snowboard boot ;-)

The problem is, in mixed conditions, you may not know ahead of time that you're going to run into a patch of hardpack, until you're halfway up that 45 degree chute, which may not be the best place to switch over. I guess this is more common in spring, when stuff is frozen in the morning and then softens up. You might ask, why not just use crampons then? Because it's not always like that. Sometimes you have some soft rotten sections, and Verts are a godsend in that case, otherwise you're postholing to your nuts.


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