Backpacker - - Snow Safety -

OUR TAKE With a wide heel riser of­fer­ing 19 de­grees of lift—the most of any we tested—the Flex VRT pro­pelled us up high-an­gle ter­rain with ease. “On a climb of 14,265-foot Quandary Peak in Col­orado, the lift pre­vented me from suc­cumb­ing to calf burn on 25-de­gree slopes,” one tester says. (The mech­a­nism is easy to op­er­ate with poles.)

THE DE­TAILS A six-tooth, car­bon-steel toe cram­pon claws into snow—even wind­blown crust—and toothed rails add trac­tion for head­ing up, down, or side­ways. The Flex’s nar­row de­sign pre­vents awk­ward steps, while the cutouts in the tail elim­i­nated balling. Draw­back: Flota­tion is mixed in deep snow with medium loads.

TRAIL CRED “I slid into the bind­ing as eas­ily as into a snow­board bind­ing and clamped down the en­tire front of my foot with a twist of the Boa dial, fuss-free,” one tester re­ports. $260; 4 lbs. 8 oz. (24 inches); 24 inches, 28 inches; tubb­ss­now­shoes.com

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