ProView – MSR Women’s Lightning Ascent Ultralight Snowshoes

By Outdoor Prolink Editorial Intern Sara Aranda. Sara likes to climb, trail run, travel and adventure and is spending her winter in Yosemite. Look for more blog posts and photos from Sara coming soon!

After a long day of nonstop snow, where the flakes wafted like feathers to the ground, the sun was out and the trees were dripping. I first wanted to go out for a sunny trail run but soon realized within the first half-mile that the snow was just too deep. So I ran back home and swapped my shoes for the super lightweight MSR Women’s Lightening Ascent Snowshoes.

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My first outing with these babies was a month earlier, up at the Badger Pass Ski Resort here in Yosemite National Park. A friend and I hiked out to Dewey Point, a 7-8 mile round-trip trek. The weather forecast called for snow later that day, but we were psyched still. The hike was gorgeous and we wandered through trees and across white meadows of snow dunes.

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I was happy to find that there were a few inclines so I could to try out the MSR ‘Televator’ for the first time. The MSR Ergo™ Televators are a metal accessory that allows for support underneath the heel when confronted with steep inclines. This reduces calf strain and allows for greater endurance when stomping up-hill.

Lightening

Easily engaged with your trekking pole handle, I lost no time switching back and forth depending on the terrain. Unfortunately the tell-tale view from Dewey Point was masked by the snowfall that finally showed up, so we turned around and made it back relatively quickly, the whole time amazed by how light the snowshoes were.

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The Specs
The MSR Women’s Lightening Ascent Snowshoes have an aluminum frame designed for a narrow gait and the bindings are built to fit smaller boots. The Ergo™ Televator reduces fatigue, and the split teeth of the crampons provide a deep bite. All of these features facilitate all-terrain capabilities, from powder flats to steep, rocky slopes. Freeze-resistant engineering and add-on adaptability makes this snowshoe, in my opinion, one of the coolest and most advanced shoes out there. I mean, what more could you ask for? They even stack nicely.

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The Overall Experience
I was super psyched to keep trying out these snowshoes on as many different terrains as possible. Flats are obvious, but I wanted to test them on the steepest terrain yet. The snow was deep the day I ditched my running shoes for snowshoes, and unfortunately I didn’t have any tails to add onto my shoes for extra flotation. For my weight and height, I got the 22-inch shoes, which only weigh a whopping 3lbs 10oz total, so they are extremely easy to maneuver and carry. I was able to cross shallow streams and slush with no problem. There was a stream crossing that required a full immersion up to my ankles and everything stayed dry and intact. The crampon teeth held up exceptionally well to the occasional rock under the snow and during stream crossings.

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I heard the sound of a waterfall coming from the slope above me, somewhere behind the trees and against the granite walls. During the summer, I know there’s a spot up there called The Devil’s Bathtub, so I decided to test the terrain and find the source of all these streams spilling across the trail. I lifted the televators and started uphill. I had to weave through trees and around rocks, yet found it easy to maneuver the shoes around the technical terrain. After a successful mission to the base of the waterfall, coming down was a little more tricky as gravity wanted to just roll me down the slope.

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But I just followed my tracks down and it was easy to trust the traction and bite of the entire shoe to keep me from sliding away. Back on the flats, the sun shone so beautifully through the trees as they rained down. The beauty was surreal, and I was thankful to have such burly snowshoes to bring me there!

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