BILLY GOAT TECH AS­CENT PLATES

Backpacker - - NEWS -

OUR TAKE The Billy Goats fill a gap in the moun­taineer­ing mar­ket by crush­ing climbs too steep for snow­shoes, too nar­row for skin­ning switch­backs, and too pow­dery for boot­ing in cram­pons alone. The rec­tan­gu­lar (13.5 by 7.5 inches), alu­minum plates sand­wich be­tween your boot and cram­pon, adding float to your cram­pons’ trac­tion. (Op­tions for both ski and snow­board boots are avail­able.) They make as­cend­ing steep, loose snow a breeze, as one tester dis­cov­ered after a slog on the 40-de­gree slopes of Alaska’s Mt. Ec­cles.

THE DE­TAILS As­sem­bly takes a minute to fig­ure out; it’s best to fit them at home be­fore your trip. The plate/cram­pon combo felt heavy on our feet, but at 13.4 ounces per plate, they’re lighter than any snow­shoe or ski, and cram­pons pro­vide bet­ter trac­tion. Testers re­ported no balling un­der the plates.

TRAIL CRED “Am I go­ing to take them on ev­ery trip? No. But for steep climbs with vari­able snow, I feel much more con­fi­dent with th­ese on my feet,” says our Alaskan tester. $130; 1 lb. 11 oz.; bil­ly­goat­tech.com

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