So when an opportunity to attend MSR’s latest Revo Ascent snowshoe from their Women’s specific range, on a snowshoe course self funded in the Alps, the opportunity to test a new product seemed too good to miss.
The main question present in my mind was one of practicality. Was it worth owning your own pair of snowshoes a worthy investment to make the most of moving through snowy, non-technical slopes or a cumbersome and heavy addition to a mountaineer’s kit?
What the manufacturers say:
Our Women’s Revo Ascent snowshoes deliver the same powerful grip, security and supreme durability of our men’s model—yet do so in a lower- profile design that gives those with a narrow stride better agility through the snow. The external traction teeth of the ExoTract ™ deck ensure control, especially in rugged terrain. Its plastic foundation delivers unrelenting durability along with torsional for excellent purchase. With the Women’s ultra- secure PosiLock ™ AT bindings and Ergo ™ Televator heel-lifts, the Women’s Revo Ascent snowshoes deliver tenacious performance for any adventure.
- Women’s ExoTract Deck: Aggressive perimeter teeth and new durable steel DTX crampons offer advanced traction in a snowshoe tapered for those with a narrow stride or anyone seeking a lighter snowshoe.
- Ultimate Foot Security: Two-piece, independently conforming Women’s PosiLock AT bindings create our most secure, freeze-resistant attachment for smaller footwear.
- All-Condition Adaptability: Add-on Modular Flotation tails allow you the manoeuvrability of a smaller, primary snowshoe with the added, on-demand flotation of optional, 5-inch (13-cm) tails.
- Uphill Efficiency: Ergo Televators reduce fatigue and increase traction on the steeps with an ergonomic design that engages with a flick of a pole grip.
MSR Revo Ascent Women's Snowshoes on Test:
The latest offering from MSR, the Revo Ascent, offers users an option to buy a snowshoe that is durable, more secure for smaller feet and all terrain performance. As a ‘Women’s fit’ Snowshoe, the Revo Ascent, is definitely worth choosing over the standard snowshoe, as it offers women the option to use a lighter and ergonomic shaped snowshoe for a smaller boot underneath the MSR bindings to ensure greater fit and confidence to be able to move on steep ground, along with a built in high-strength DTX 4 point crampon.
As a winter mountaineer, I’ve experienced many exhausting days in the past (minus snowshoe) wading through thick powdery snow in Scotland wearing normal B-rated winter boots, or crampons for short technical sections.
Ease of Use
After a brief introduction on the course on how to wear snowshoes (walking along snow with a slightly wider stance then normal to avoid tripping over your own feet,) the snowshoes were a straightforward piece of kit that allowed hiking over deep soft snow to be much easier, as the snowshoes spread the weight over a larger area to avoid sinking in.
The snowshoes are attached on using MSR’s PosiLock ™ AT bindings – three straps which go across the top of the boot, and one around the back of the boot to secure the heel in. If you’re not familiar with bindings, it’s worth remembering that they need to be pulled tight across the boot to stop the boot from ‘wriggling’ out of the straps and secured with the plastic clips that keep the straps in place. Throughout the day, these may need to be tightened, as constant movement will cause these bindings to become looser throughout the day.
During the course, I was offered the opportunity to test the Revo in a number of snowy conditions. On hard frozen ice, (such as walking on the ice formed on the high mountain tracks overnight) the built-in crampon provided extra support on steep terrain that would have otherwise made it very slow to make progress. The crampon remained sharp during the week of testing, although did show signs of some paint coming off on where it had been used on gravel/ road. It was a great feature, which could cope with the mixed winter terrain, whereas other snowshoes during the course suffered from weaker crampon points and snapped off. Additional ridged ‘teeth’ on the outer edge of the snowshoe made it easier to climb uphill and avoid slipping on the ice.
Climbing uphill on a south-facing slope, which should have been very tricky to climb without snowshoes, the Revo Ascent Snowshoes also had a feature known as the ‘Ergo Telvators’ which are a foldaway ‘wire step’ which can be lifted easily so the boot doesn’t have to pull as high each time you move uphill. This can be done using a walking pole, to avoid bending down and tripping over your own feet.