MSR Lightning Ascent


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title MSR Lightning Ascent
Manufacturer Cascade Designs
Page By freespirit
Page Type Nov 4, 2004 / Nov 4, 2004
Object ID 1156
Hits 11287
Lightning Ascent™

MSR's new Lightning Ascents represent a revolution in snowshoe design. Available in men's and women’s models, they feature a patent-pending Total-Traction™ frame—made from one vertical blade of aerospace-grade aluminum—that delivers unprecedented 360° traction. They're also the lightest snowshoes in their class—about 15% lighter than competitors—with performance and usability that surpass everything that's come before.

* Unrivaled Traction
Total-Traction frame delivers unprecedented 360° grip.
* Superlight
The lightest snowshoe in its class.
* Unmatched on Steep Terrain
Televator™ heel lifter reduces calf fatigue, making climbing easier and more efficient.
* User-Friendly
Step-on binding fits a variety of boots and is fast, secure, and easy to use.
* Stable Support
True-Hinge™ steel crampon enhances foot stability and minimizes heel drift, resulting in more efficient gait mechanics and less expended energy.
* 100% Waterproof
Materials won't soak up water and freeze; straps remain easy to use in all conditions.

22" Lightning Ascent
Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz. (1587 g) per pair



Viewing: 1-10 of 10

Mike N - Nov 23, 2005 3:17 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I have the longer version of these. They work really well and very lighter than the rest. There is an elevator bar for steeper ascents. It doesn't always seem to stay up, however. I have had no problem with tripping.

WalksWithBlackflies - Jan 11, 2006 2:49 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
I, too, have the longer version. Great aggressive snowshoe, especially for the icy conditions encountered in the Adirondacks. I really like the perimeter cleat, which prevents the tail from kicking sideways. The elevator bar helps prevent foot fatigue when ascending steep slopes. Snow does not ball significantly. MUCH quieter than the other MSR products. They don't "ski" down powder slopes as well as less aggressive snowshoes, but I knew they wouldn't when I bought them.

rhyang - Jan 30, 2007 7:02 am - Voted 5/5

I'm on my second season using the 25" Lightning Ascent's and I have to say I am impressed. Generally I use them in the Sierra and california Cascades when I am carrying a large pack, such as for mountaineering.

Their sidehilling performance in mushy afternoon snow is IMO even better than the Denali Ascent's, which I have been using since 2003, and these are lighter. The one complaint I have is that the crampon isn't as aggressive as the older model of Denali Ascent's I have.

camerona91 - Feb 21, 2007 12:24 am - Voted 4/5

Seem to work well
The traction control on these is great. They bite almost like a crappy crampon. They don't fl;op around much. The binding system doesn't ice up although sometimes it loosens up a bit. They provide adequate floation but it might not be enough in deep perfect powder. I find the riser bars a pain but others seem to like them. They seem very durable also.

Augie Medina - Sep 19, 2007 11:51 am - Voted 5/5

Pricey but good
I've got the 25 inch model. For under 4 lbs., they have nice performance. They are easy to put on. They feel good sidehilling; crampons and traction blades seem to grab well. I have strong feelings one or the other about the televator. Expensive but worth it IMO.

RckyMtneer - Jan 6, 2008 6:41 pm - Voted 5/5

I like's 'em!
I finally upgraded to these shoes. Yupp... I like 'em. So much lighter than my last shoes, I don't have problems with one stepping on the other, and they grip well. They are also very easy to put on and take off. I spend my time in the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado, so side-sloping on hard pack and ice is common. The toothy frame, as opposed to a tube, provides good grip for side-sloping, which was one of the main factors in chosing these shoes. They do make an interesting "pop.. pop... pop" noise as your heal hits the deck of the shoe on each step, but it's not too bad. I think that was the only thing I didn't like. Maybe I'll glue some kind of a little pad on that spot, and otherwise they are very quiet.

liferequiresair - Jan 30, 2009 5:13 pm - Voted 5/5

I scored a brand new pair at an REI garage sale and have been very impressed. The traction is the best of any snowshoe I've tried. I was a little worried about the durability of the deck material but have never had a problem scrambling over rocks or brush. The heal elevator is a life saver on long steep climbs. My only complaints are that my model has only to straps on the top of the foot. I believe they've upgraded to three by now which would be better. Also the hinge can develop a slight squeak over time but that's not a huge issue. I don't know if I would have paid full price for them but they are the best.

LaryD87 - Mar 5, 2009 5:30 pm - Voted 4/5

Excellent snowshoe
I have the 25 inch version. They are extremely light and easy to put on, and the traction is just superb, for the most part. However, I do wish that the front crampon was a little more aggressive - I do not think that it performs particularly well when kick stepping. This is especially noticeable, for me at least, when I need to break trail up a steep slope - even with the televators up, I find that I slip and slide all over the place! Nevertheless, an excellent snowshoe. I've beaten the heck out of mine. Other than a strange sort of clicking/squeaking noise on the right shoe, they've held up very well.

Bill Kerr - Jan 13, 2013 1:56 am - Voted 5/5

great mountain snowshoe
Great shoe on steeper slopes. I have the 30 inch version(2012) which is better for deeper less supportive snow or when wearing a heavier pack. The extensions are good too. The new plastic strap clips are easier/better than the old metal posts as can use with gloves. MSR has upgrade clip sets.

MtMtnHiker - Apr 10, 2013 11:07 pm - Hasn't voted

Best Snowshoe out there
I work on snowshoes a lot in the winter and the lightning ascents are the best out there. Tube frame shoes are made for trail walking not climbing. These are pricey shoes but worth every penny. Wear them on one climb and you will never go back to tube frames again.

Viewing: 1-10 of 10