I made it up Table again yesterday for my sixth monthly ascent in a row since last November. And although this ended up being my quickest ascent yet from the winter trailhead, it wasn't without it's own set of unique and unexpected challenges.
But first, there's a few things I'd like to address:
Yep, that's me on the April 2010 issue of Ultrarunning Magazine. This photo was taken during this past February's Red Hot 50k near Moab, UT at about mile 3 shortly after the race began. I was surprised when I got a message from my buddy Trevor a few weeks back informing me that I should check out the photo because he was pretty sure it was me. Sho'nuf, there's my backside, running away from the camera. Not exactly 15 minutes of fame or anything (because nobody knows it's me except some of my close friends), but still pretty cool anyway.
Back in January, I broke both bindings on my MSR Snowshoes. Not due to malfunction or accident or anything, but rather due to plain ol overuse. I bought one of the first year's editions back in 1997 and since then, have put probably somewhere between 1-2 thousand miles on them. And I've been perfectly happy with them. No complaints at all. Even when I noticed the aluminum plate that makes up the binding platform had sheared of at the edges, I wasn't disappointed because I was completely satisfied that they had lasted this long with no trouble.
Since then, I've borrowed by buddy Jay's pair of Crescent Moons for two ascents up Table, one in February and one in March, and as grateful as I am to Jay for hooking me up like that with his own pair, I still gotta say I was really happy to get mine back from MSR a week ago fully repaired and ready to go. The MSR design is built more for rugged, backcountry conditions and lends itself well to anything from steep climbs and descents in light n fluffy snow to traversing accross slopes to holding purchase on crust and ice. They just seem to do everything well. Even running! (so long as you get used to the CLAP!-CLAP!-CLAP! every half-second as the plastic shoes rebound up and hit your heel mid-stride before your heel lands back down on them just before you plant your foot on the ground. Everyone will hear you coming if you're running on these!
The Crescent Moon design is shaped more similarly to Atlas, Tubbs, Redfeather, and likely most other snowshoes out there, but they have the added feature of being made with materials that are environmentally friendly. An aluminum frame is used with a suspended, fixed-rotation binding and a polyurethane-like decking material that is PVC free.