This is not a guide to winter walking in the hills. Winter hill walking is full of dangers; the risks should be understood and not taken lightly. Every year people die out on the hills of Britain. If you know nothing about winter hill walking, get advice before venturing out. Don’t put your life or that of other people at risk.
Getting out during the winter when snow is on the ground gives you a fantastic opportunity for landscape and nature photography. Being prepared and having the right gear is part of getting pictures.
Ice and snow, as everyone knows is not easy to walk on you end up slipping and sliding all over the place. To help keep your footing you can add metal spikes to the bottom of your boots. For serious hill walking crampons are the only way to go. Crampons provide you with the best possible foot hold on snow and ice.
The problem with crampons is to work properly you need to be wearing boots designed to take crampons. These are normally grade B1 – B3 boots. Crampons are similarly graded C1 – C3. B3 boots and a good crampon offer the best grip you can expect in snowy conditions. If your route has the possibility for steep long slides or falls, you should be wearing crampons. Your safety relies on not slipping in the first place, as ice axe self-arrest may not be an option.
If however you are like us your winter walking is going to be on defined paths with gentle gradients for the best part micro spikes can be an answer. Micro spikes are short metal spikes attached to chains which in turn are attached to a large rubber band.
You pull the micro spikes on using the rubber band to get a snug fit on your boot. The short spikes make walking on snow or icy covered paths a lot easier. As you push off, the spikes grip the ground and let you get a better foothold. Because the micro spikes slip over your boots they fit to all grades of boot or even running shoes. As we said they provide you with improved grip but not to the level of a crampon.
If you are going to venture out on the hills this winter make sure you understand the dangers and asses the risks.
When buying any walking gear that your life may depend on, we suggest you seek out and take professional advice on what you need to stay safe.
If you are taking gentle walk in the winter hills, then a set of Kahtoola MICROspikes are a great addition to your feet.