I hike in all seasons and weathers. I love the old adage there is no bad weather only bad gear. My Kahtoola microspikes are excellent when there is hard ice on the trail. Turns a sheet of ice into a sidewalk.

But terrible things happen in slushy conditions. Then the wet snow sticks to the bottom, accumulating to about six inches, and then it's like walking on bowling balls. The stuff knocks off pretty easily but rough terrain can be ankle-busting.

I just aborted a hike when I got to a steep section with about a foot of packed ice under an inch of wet slush. It was too slippery for hiking boots, and too slushy for microspikes. As the snow melts here in New Hampshire, particularly on the trails up in the White Mountains, there are a few months with conditions like this, melting stuff on top of a winter's accumulated pack. What's the right gear for that?

1 Answer 1


Snow shoes.
Not just any snow shoes, but those with metal edges and crampon-like teeth below the foot. They increase your traction on slush a lot and if you encounter ice on the top or get deep enough for ice contact, the metal will provide you with traction. This traction on ice is obviously very limited by the non-ideal force transfer from your feet to the snow-shoes, but for limited steepness it works. For steeper slopes with ice, there is no alternative to crampons (with antibott (plastic at the bottom to make snow fall off)). I deep slush it is very strenuous to walk with snow-shoes, but the same is true with hiking boots - so I assume you are used to that.

  • 1
    Oh THAT'S what antibott means!
    – Bob Stein
    Apr 22, 2018 at 16:30
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    @BobStein-VisiBone I didn't even think about it when writing, but that word is indeed very much not self-explanatory.
    – imsodin
    Apr 22, 2018 at 16:36
  • I wonder if antibott may be what I'm looking for. Snowshoes also accumulate blobs. Midwinter 20F snowshoes would have been perfect. Spring 50F perhaps calls for crampons + antibott. But how do crampons feel on bare ground?
    – Bob Stein
    Apr 22, 2018 at 21:27
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    Terrible. Sure, you do use crampons on technical combined (rock & snow/ice) alpine ascents and they are even good for steep rock (dry tooling), but walking on flat solid ground is shitty. You need to be careful to not catch on your trousers and also to risk to stumble is quite high. If there is just one critical section, attaching crampons just for that part is probably a good option.
    – imsodin
    Apr 22, 2018 at 21:50

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