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Superior traction, performance, and comfort for winter expeditions.

From MSR's most aggressive line comes the Lightning Ascent Snowshoe. When your backcountry adventure has you facing the most demanding conditions, the Lightning Ascent utilizes the latest generation of proprietary winter travel technology to help you get from A to B without any icy obstacles holding you back.
  • New Torsion2 crampons feature independently flexible split teeth that maintain continuous contact with the ground to better distribute forces on rugged terrain
  • Modular Flotation technology lets you quickly attach Lightning flotation tails (sold separately) to help bear extra weight or navigate extra-deep snow fields
  • PosiLock AT Binding System holds your foot securely in place for optimal energy transfer and reduced slipping even on steep terrain
  • 360 Traction frames offer edge-to-edge grip for navigating slippery terrain
  • Ergo Televator engages with simple flick of a pole to help reduce fatigue on steep inclines

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MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe - Men's

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5 5

The standard in alpine showshoes

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

What else can I say other than it's the best snowshoe I've ever used. Before I dropped the cash on a pair of my own, I did a number of hikes in rental shoes from local shops in the North East. I tried Tubb's, MSR Evo's, and a few other random pairs. Once I went on a winter overnight with a borrowed pair of the Lighting's I was sold. They weren't the lightest pair, but as far was performance per ounce, nothing can touch them. They feel firm, but allow flex without worry. The ascent bar comes up without any effort. The multitude of gripping features is great for ice, snow, and rock combo's. They pack up nicely too, and go on any size boot with minimal effort. Also everything is easily replaceable on the binding, so if something breaks, it's an easy fix. These are by far (in my opinion) the best snowshoe for alpine ascents. They also work very well with mountaineering boots. No fit issues and in my opinion, they work best with a stiff synthetic or plastic boot, rather than a hiking/backpacking boot. They really are a great snowshoe.

One thing to note about the MSR EVO, although lighter and cheaper there is a tremedus amount of flaping from them. I thought about getting the EVO to save weight, but when I tried they I felt like I was all over the place. When you lift your leg to walk, the binding opens fully, but because they are so light, they bounce on the pivot point. This gets really annoying after a few miles and sprays snow everywhere. Just wanted to mention it before you let either weight or $$$ steer you away from the lightnings.

Happy trails!

The standard in alpine showshoes

does msr have a 36'' snowshoe? I do not...

Posted on

does msr have a 36'' snowshoe? I do not like the idea of a 5" inch extension. I weigh a little over 250lbs I cannot afford to spend $300.00 on snowshoes and $50.00 on extensions and have the extensions break or fall off.that would be $350.00 for shoes I cant use or resell. I need msr because of side traction. any ideas?

Responded on

Unfortunately, MSR does not make a shoe larger that a 30 in. However the 30in shoe is is rated for 180 - 300 lbs. If you were to add the float tail in deep snow it would increase the float and would most likely never break. I would only be a little concerned about breaking on packed snow with a heavy load on top of your weight. I would only consider the float tails if you are planning on using these in soft deep snow.

4 5

Almost perfect.

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've been using these all winter hiking in the White Mountains of NH. It's been plenty snowy here, so I have a good impression of how they fair. With my pack on, I'm about 200 lbs, and I rock the 22's. I've broken plenty of trails, and the only time I had any trouble sinking was on the path less traveled with about 3 feet of unpacked pow. The foot straps work great, no trouble at all going up, or sliding down, hills. The grip is fantastic even on the steepest spots, and the little "Ergo Televator" is a super awesome on the reallllly steep grades.

My one gripe has already been stated above. The front-most hook buckle digs into the decking. Mine has already cut a really ragged gauge into it. I really hope they're figured the geometry out better on the next year's model.

5 5

Gift

  • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share

Bought these for my boyfriend for Christmas. I have the female ones and really liked them. We have been out a few times together with them and the times he has been out alone he says they are great. The 30" seem to be ok for 6'1" 200lbs. Been a ton of snow this year in New England so hopefully more trips out before its gone so we can add to the review. Bindings are easy to use and secure and neither of us have been having the issues with the binding digging into the fabric. Maybe its just different placement of boot in the binding? I will update if this becomes an issue

5 5

Great winter sport

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

What a great snowshoe and the bindings don't come undone. I got the 25" in black. I am 175lbs and wear a light pack. I move great making my own path where ever I go. Great way to stay in shape in the winter. Get these and don't look back.

2 5

Great performance, flawed design

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

To begin with, these are great performing snowshoes. They are lightweight, ,maneuverable and well-constructed. The incorporation of a floating tail extension (optional) is especially effective and cleverly done. The bindings are quick and easy to use, even with heavy gloves on and in low temperatures.
Unfortunately the snowshoe binding has a design flaw. The front hook buckle can easily dig into the fabric at the toe opening on the inboard side because that hook extends just far enough to catch. I used them only a few times when I discovered that the buckle hook had dug a ragged little notch where it hit the material. My wife also has a pair of these snowshoes and the exact same thing happened on hers. I contacted Cascade Design (MSR) at 1-206-505-9500 and one of their tech reps admitted that they are aware of the problem and are currently redesigning the binding so as to eliminate the problem. The new design should be available next season. In the meantime the tech rep said that the notch created by the buckle hook should eventually reach a small maximum and go no further. He also suggested moving the foot back somewhat would allow the buckle to be cinched more tightly and no longer hit the material. I did point out that this would place your foot too far back for optimum usage.

Great performance, flawed design
Responded on

I too have been experiencing this problem on and off depending on how my boots are in the bindings.

5 5

Great shoe.

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Light, agile, with great float and superior traction.

The binding on this shoe is superior to all others: easy to secure, easy to adjust, and if something breaks (which it won't) all the straps are interchangeable so you have a built in backup.


2 5

Didnt like these at all.

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I just bought my ascents and am disappointed with them. The flotation in deep snow was very poor, the tails seemed to make it worst cuz the shoe would dive toe first into snow , the weight transfer was too far forward. We couldnt get to our destination, flotation wasnt enough, you cant even get to a mountain in these, let alone get up it. We were sinking over 2 feet; I'm 170lbs, using the 25's with tails, no pack. Second trip the frame bent behind the right foot, no idea how it happend, but flotation was totally gone after that, can only be fixed with a big set of pliers, and disconnecting web, which I dont how to do. Going to bring them back. I have been ski mountaineering for 10 years. Not impressed by the price of these pieces of work.

5 5

Excellent Snowshoes

What can I say, excellent traction, light, decent float, perfect binding system, televators rock. Best snow shoes on the market.

Note: I have found that some people are unable to use these snowshoes because their boot is too thick for the opening and the binding will catch on the decking of the snow shoe. Something to be aware of before you buy them. Luckily mine fit perfectly with Kamik Northfield boots, which are a bulky boot.

Video attached, could have probably benefitted from the tails to add float. (210lbs total weight on that trip) Purchase during the summer on amazon, they were $80 brand new

5 5

Bomb proof

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

These snowshoes are awesome, I've only worn them one time since i have got them. I hiked Mt. Mansfield (VT) the other day and there was hardly any snow on it, i mainly needed it for the traction. I walked to the top on ice and rocks and they didn't even flinch. Everything i was expecting.

Snowshoeing up Alta to earn some turns.

Snowshoeing up Alta to earn some turns.

Posted on

These snowshoes are amazing. Have used them in the White Mountains in all sorts of conditions and in Utah in deep powder. There is not another pair of snowshoes I would trust. The durability, construction and design of these are unparalleled.

The flat stock frame provides incredible traction while on any terrain. The frame construction on these are far superior to any tubular frame on the market.

Jared D.
Gearhead
800.409.4502 ext 4055

5 5

Completely satisfied

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've owned a pair of Lightning Ascent snowshoes for several years now and have been on many, many adventures with them. I think where they really shine is on steeper terrain, especially when it's icy and you need a good grip on the snow. The teeth all around the frame and toe crampon, combined with the heel riser bar make climbing an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend these for anyone who likes to explore and will be in variable conditions. I like these snowshoes so much that I purchased another 5 pairs for the rest of my family. These snowshoes I think will last 10 years plus, even under heavy use conditions. Simply a great piece of gear to own.

Responded on

Brannen,

That's awesome that you've purchased pairs for the rest of the family! I'm looking to do the same so we all have some indestructible gear that we can all use together for some family fun! If you ever get a chance, post a picture of the family in action that'd be super awesome to see.

-Jared

5 5

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Or has someone already used that quote on a review? Even so, those words fit this snowshoe better than any other product on Backcountry.com. First, I am 6'0" and 180 lbs. Iwent with the 25s and they work great. I can attach the floatation tails in deeper powder or if I am carring an exped weight pack but other wise I am always floating high in the shoes. The crampon style grip on that bottom and ascender bar enable you to goanywhere no matter how steep. I can understand getting a set of evos for flatter terrain, but the truth is the weight gain in the lightning is negligible. It always amazes me that a snowshoes this beefy can be so light. And that beefiness makes me confident that I won't need to buy another pair of snowshoes for years.

Spikes/crampon

Spikes/crampon

Posted on

Here's a view of the toe-spikes... from the bottom.

Tails (in process)

Tails (in process)

Posted on

Heres' the tails just before attaching. Basically to put them on the back of the shoe so that the pins on the tails will lever/lock into the snowshoe when it's under load... and then you pull up a rubber attachment loop to attach the tail the rest of the way.

This photo shows the pins on the underside of the shoe.

Tails

Tails

Posted on

Attach the tails for additional float. (what a good idea!) Here's them attached completely.

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