Best Snowshoes for 14ers
If you’re hiking or climbing 14ers in winter months here in Colorado, snowshoes are often a necessity. The Rocky Mountains are blanketed in a thick layer of snow, sometimes into June or July. Especially for areas below tree-line, a good pair of snowshoes will help you stay above the snow and avoid post-holing. A lot of people ask me what I think are the best snowshoes for 14ers. Here’s a few things to consider, along with my four recommended pairs.
How to Pick the Best Snowshoes for 14ers
When picking a pair of snowshoes for 14ers, you want to consider a few important things. First, look for a pair that has good traction with crampons or teeth to help you keep your balance on steep, slick slopes. Second, you want a pair that includes a heel lift. They save you a ton of tension on your leg muscles during uphill sections. Third, lighter snowshoes are best, though they often come with a premium price. Finally, consider the binding types, as more expensive options are more comfortable than others. The best showshoes for 14ers meet all these requirements.
The Four Best Snowshoes for 14ers: My Picks
The best showshoes for 14ers are all called backcountry snowshoes. They have all the features you need to stay afloat in deep mountain snow. I walk through each option below.
MSR Evo Ascent Backcountry Snowshoes
The Evo Ascent snowshoes are the most affordable option on this list. With good crampon teeth and an easy to use binding system, they’re a great first pair of snowshoes that work great for any hike. Their biggest downside is their weight, which is a big heavy thanks to their durable plastic construction. I wouldn’t use these for extremely long treks where that weight becomes a burden, but they’re great for short trips.
Tubbs Flex ALP Snowshoes
Tubbs is another great snowshoe brand that has several contenders for the best showshoes for 14ers. Their Alp backcountry snowshoes have a flexible design that’s supposed to provide better stability and balance on the snow. A touch crampon and heel-rest also help for steep hiking and climbing up the high peaks. They’re a bit lighter than the Evo Ascent but aren’t the lightest option either.
MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
When it comes to the best snowshoes for 14ers, there’s no better option than the MSR Lightning Ascent. With the same grip and features as the Evo Ascent, the Lightning version is made with a lightweight carbon material that cuts significant weight from these snowshoes. This makes the going much easier for more technical and extreme adventures. These are simply the best snowshoes for 14ers, though they’re also the most expensive.
Tubbs Flex VRT Snowshoes
Tubbs produces a number of different snowshoe options. Their Flex VRT shoes are made with a special DynamicFit binding that provides more comfortable support using an air cushion. It’s slightly more expensive than their ALP model but is better for technical situations thanks to their advanced binding features. It’s a good choice for mid-length trips up steep slopes.
Enjoy a Winter Hike with the Best Snowshoes for 14er
There are a lot of great snowshoes out there. When picking out the best snowshoes for 14ers, you should pick a pair that has crampons and traction, a heel-lift, and good bindings. These four options are just a few of the many snowshoes available online. I hope you enjoyed this gear review on the best snowshoes for 14ers.
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About the Author: Alex Derr
Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.
best snowshoes for 14ers