Superior traction, performance, and comfort for winter expeditions.

With their icy pitches, uneven terrain, and run-outs littered with giant, leg-eating rocks, the mountains can often be dangerous places to travel. Improve your chances of survival during your next alpine winter backcountry adventure with MSR’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoe. MSR made this lightweight, aggressive, and feature-packed snowshoe to devour rugged and uneven mountain terrain.

  • Unlike traditional tubular-shaped snowshoe frames (which often slide on uneven terrain), MSR’s 360 Degree Traction Frame has integrated, serrated edges so that you can traverse icy slopes and navigate steep terrain with greater confidence
  • Pivot Crampon shares a rotating hinge with your binding to provide secure traction regardless of your foot position or the angle of terrain
  • Modular Flotation Tail allows you to custom-tailor your footprint size to match trail conditions—attach the connector piece when expecting powder, and leave it off for hardpack
  • The Televator heel lift system reduces calf fatigue, conserves energy, and improves traction on the steeps—intuitive design engages in seconds with a simple flick of your pole
  • PosiLock AT binding employs four straps for a precise fit and a freeze-resistant, two-piece urethane body that securely conforms to a wide variety of winter footwear
  • The binding’s low-friction Speed Straps attach to stainless steel hardware for easy adjustments

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MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe - Men's

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Here's what others have to say...

How fast are these sob's?

How fast are these sob's?

Responded on

depends...are you using them for rock, or tree climbing?

Best Answer Responded on

Mostly tree, like this
mute grabs?

5 5

Lots of Traction

I use these guys for winter mountaineering mainly. But perhaps I'll go on a simple winter snowshoe hike some day. Anyway, since one of my purposes is to climb steep slopes, I always appreciate the traction on these snowshoes. Similarly, the ascender bar is absolutely necessary! That thing seriously changes the world. I've often found myself thinking the slope is brutal on my heels and just awkward since you want to keep traction. But then I raise the ascender bar and everything changes completely. No more heel problems and good traction is maintained. Unfortunately there's only one ascender level. I can see a multi-level ascender bar being very useful. As far as size goes, I have the 25 inch version. I chose this because I'm primarily tromping around the Sierras and Cascades (but occasionally the Wasatch and Uintas). I weigh about 155 lb but my pack is probably around 50 lb or so. The 25 inch works well in the Sierras and Cascades. I haven't gotten around to using them back in Utah yet. For the time when I use these guys in Utah, I'll probably want to get the extensions so that I can surf in the powder. A friend of mine says he prefers showshoes with laterally more flexible attachments (usually some stiff rubber or something) because when you're traversing a long distance on the face of some mountain, rigid attachments (like on these snowshoes) make your ankles very tired and soar. Just so you're aware of that. It is totally true. But I think it comes with less traction. I can see how it'd be nice though. I've only ever used MSR snowshoes.

5 5

Cool Shoes

Feels like walking around on two giant cookie cutters. Great traction at any angle. I have the 30 inch model and myself at 200lbs, works good in deep powder.

I am 6' 1" and weight 190lbs. I'll be...

I am 6' 1" and weight 190lbs. I'll be caring a 50lb. bag. Are 25" shoes sufficient with flotation tails?

Responded on

It really depends on the snow. You'll be pushing it in most light and powdery snow. If you're going to be on something harder or wet snow, you might get away with it.

I'm looking into buying snowshoes for...

I'm looking into buying snowshoes for backcountry trekking in winter with a snowboard, and this one received best in test in a magazine.

I am 186cm tall (610ft), weighing 86kg (189pounds). Will be carrying a normal day backpack with shovel, extra clothes etc., and of course a snowboard on the back. And I am wondering how big of a snowshoe I should buy, 22inch, 25inch or 30inch?

Also a friend of mine is looking to buy, he is 193cm tall, weighing 99kg (218pounds).

Any recommendations?

Best Answer Responded on

Your friend will want the 30" for sure. You could likely get by with the 25"
Weight recos are under specs on the MSR site:

Better yet - invest in a splitboard!

5 5

I didn't realize I was running

I've been using another name-brand tube-style snowshoe for five years here in Utah's high country. They've been satisfactory. I have 30-inchers, which can be a bit ungainly on narrow trails or when trying to climb over obstacles such as downed trees, etc. I recently purchased the 25-inch MSR Lighting Ascent showshoes. First I want to say that the 25-inch length is perfect for me. They are much more maneuverable than my 30-inch shoes. I am 5' 10" and weigh 165 without a pack. My winter hiking pack weighs approximately 15-20 pounds. These MSR shoes are dynamite! With the first steps they quickly became one with my natural stride, so much to the point that at first I didn't realize that I was nearly running in them. Compared to my previous pair of shoes, these have incredible traction. Whether I am hiking on a right slope or left slope or down hill or up hill, these shoes don't slip or slide. Speaking of hills, I was a bit skeptical about the Televator feature. It works! And it works well. It's also easy to pull up (and push back down) with a trekking pole. It works as designed. Just two negatives: In very cold weather, it can be very difficult (nearly impossible) to snap in or out of these shoes without removing my heavy mittens. The other negative is the price. These shoes are expensive. But like most gear, you get what you pay for. I am convinced that there isn't a better pair of snow shoes out there. MSR comes through once again. Zero regrets with this purchase.

Responded on

Contact MSR and get replacement clips to hold the straps. They've admitted that the nubs do not work as intended and they'll send you a replacement part for no charge. See my reply to a comment above for their full response.

Responded on

Hi, Klinko. I recently noticed your comment. After purchasing a set of these for my wife, I see exactly what you're talking about. I called MSR (Cascade Designs) this morning. They are out of stock of the clips, but they will send a set to me as soon as they have more. Thanks for the clip, I mean tip. --Brian

Anyone ever try these with ski boots? ...

Anyone ever try these with ski boots? Last backcountry ski trip, I was up to my thighs in snow - too steep for skins and too soft for crampons. Is this even a reasonable idea? How have others dealt with this situation?

Best Answer Responded on

Hmmm I don't really know about the snowshoe part. I wonder if someone else does. But to answer how I've dealt with these situations: switchbacks.

Responded on

I have not tried them with ski boots before, but have you ever looked into Verts(

I have not gotten a pair yet, but I have heard good things about them. They may work well for you.

Hope that helps.

Responded on

It depends on your boot, but most likely yes. Just for comfort though, I recommend lighter shoes you can stop in your pack on the red down. From experience even mountaineering boots feel heavy fast in snow shoes. If the tempeature allows, I often use Saucony Pro Grid Razor winter trail running shoes just for contort. If you are not below zero, bring an extra pair of socks and go without them; they are waterproof and warm, just a low 'ankle' cut.

5 5

Great Climbing Snowshoe

After using Atlas 1030s for several years, I decided to upgrade to these in the 25" length. I mostly climb the northern Japan volcano groups where we get loads of fluffy powder at low to mid elevations with wind-blown, icy conditions common close to the summits. My Atlas shoes always did fine in the flotation department, but often lacked adequate traction to come down off icy summits. This shoe has loads of traction. On icy slopes, its like walking on cookie cutters. They also float well. Over the past weekend, I kicked trail through about a foot of fresh Hakkoda powder carrying a 40 lb pack. My total weight was 225-230 lbs and I never had a problem. The only part I'm not a huge fan of are the pegs which keep the straps from flapping around. I have an easy time securing the bindings, but snapping the straps onto the metal pegs can be nearly impossible with gloves on. I generally have to take my gloves off to secure the straps. This can be a problem when you're suiting up in -20 degree windchills. I would think a simple plastic catch would suffice. Lastly, I'll comment on the suspension. Most snowshoes have a kind of "floating" binding which allows your snowshoe to tilt at slight angles left and right when the shoe strikes a surface which is not perfectly perpendicular to your lower leg. These shoes, however, lack this type of suspension. When these shoes strike the surface, your lower leg is forced into a perpendicular position. This can be hard on your ankles when your foot unexpectedly encounters an uneven plane. That being said, this lack of flexibility allows for solid, purposeful foot placement when trying to maneuver difficult terrain. You can actually kick solid foot holds into the snow crust. Its this solid suspension combined with the 360-degree traction frame that makes this a wicked climbing snowshoe.

Responded on

A quick comment on the closer nubs - I have an older pair that used plastic clips to hold the straps in place - they work great and are easy to use, even with gloves on. I bought the new version for my girlfriend and I agree, the metal nubs are impossible to use, even with bare hands. I emailed MSR about the issue and this is their response:

"Thank for contacting Cascade Designs, Inc.

Sorry to hear about the problems with the closer Nubs. We have stopped making the Nubs due to unsatisfactory performance. The Nubs worked very well in initial testing and pre-production, but when we went to production slight variances in the size and shape of the Nubs have made them much harder to use. We are working on a new clip system to hold the straps in place, I will see if I can get in contact with our local distributer who can mail you a set of clips which will work with your snowshoes, they are a little hard to get on but once they are on they are easy to position to the proper placement. "

And sure enough my replacement clips showed up this week. Send 'em an email and get the old style clips, you'll thank me next season!

2 5

good shoe but loud

funny that someone would actually describe this shoe as quiet. it is anything but. the binding is secure and fits well but is a chore to manipulate. it is light and works as well as any in tight spots. as other reviews have said on packed snow or ice they clang loudly to the bottom of your foot with every step. a surprise from an MSR shoe . am thinking about returning for another type of shoe

Another sizing question. I'm 6'7", 180...

Another sizing question. I'm 6'7", 180 pounds. I live in the Rocky mountains and plan to use my snowshoes primarily on unpacked trails and in powder. I will also likely carry more than just a day pack occasionally. Several sales people I have spoken with tell me that the 30 inch shoes are quite awkward to use and recommend the 25" with tails. I'm sort of thinking I might be happier with the 30 inchers. Thoughts?

Best Answer Responded on

I used to rent these out in Maine, and I'd give you the 30s. At your height and weight I agree that you'll be happier with them. Also, if you find you aren't floating enough (for example, with a big pack) you can still add the 5 inch tail - though that might get cumbersome.

1. what are heel lifts for? how do they...

1. what are heel lifts for? how do they work?
2. are the shoes designated left or right foot?

Best Answer Responded on

1. The heel lifts are to improve performance while traveling uphill by raising your heel so that your foot is in a more natural position. This is accomplished by flipping up the heel lift wire with the powder basket of your trekking pole.

2. I do not believe that these are designated for right or left foot.

Hope that this helps!

Responded on

Actually they are left and right foot specific. In the past, the Lightning Ascents weren't specific on what foot you put the snowshoes on, rather it was left up to the user on where you wanted the straps to end up (inside vs. outside). However, the new 2010/2011 bindings do have a marking on the inside of the binding that shows which foot they are to go on. This allows the binding to fit better and hold the foot tighter with less discomfort, and take any guesswork out of which foot goes where.

Responded on

L/R foot is designated by the straps going to the outside; you should be able to use them in reverse if you want, but it would be difficult to put them on and off. Also some newer shoes have the foot cup more specific so there is a specific L/R.
The heal lift is for balance and foot position, critical for when carrying a pack and on steep climbs; on long days I have used the option on flats to just stretch my calves out. I wouldn't buy full size snow shoes without them, I have a pair of small rad feathers for running, but that's another ball game.

I only go about 145-150 without a pack....

I only go about 145-150 without a pack. Should I be looking at 25's and tails or does it make sense to go with the 30's? I'm in the midwest where we don't get tons of powder and 1500 feet is a HUGE mountain. Thanks for your help....MIke

Responded on

25s should be fine. The difference isn't noticeable until you get into 9+ inches of snow.
I'd think you're more interested in traction. The 25s will do just as well but will be less fatiguing on compact snow

4 5


The MSR Lightning Ascents were the second style I've used and followed the tubing style I started on. They were night and day stable. On my first hill climb I forgot the heel bar for a few hundred feet. What a difference it made. It was like climbing stairs with it up in place.

I also noticed and appreciate the stability afforded on the traverse on slopes. The heel doesn't move compared to a standard shoe and binding. The only glissading I experienced was steep downhill in a couple feet of powder and it was a controlled downhill jog. Never had any strap issues as far as loosening up but one did break.

Is this snowshoe compatible with snowboard...

Is this snowshoe compatible with snowboard boots? Anybody know of a versatile snowshoe that is?

Best Answer Responded on

The boot will fit in the binding, but the ankle angle of the boot and the stiffness will make them very uncomfortable.

How big of a boot can i fit in these...

How big of a boot can i fit in these bindings? I'm looking for something i can use with my NEOS overshoes (size L). The Atlas bindings are generally too small!

Best Answer Responded on

It'll fit up to a men's size 15 (or 49.5). I've used these bindings with another MSR snowshoe and they really can fit practically anyone and anything.

Path Finder?

Path Finder?

I think so! Winter 2010, Pikes Peak. Never could find the trail exactly--it was completely covered in 'round 2 feet of fresh powder!

5 5

Best I've used.

These are the best snowshoes I've ever used. Period. They're quiet, extremely light, and so far, very sturdy. I've had no issues with the bindings, rivets, or decking in 3 full seasons of use. They climb like crampons and the heel lift makes worlds of difference in steep terrain. Also, no other snowshoe Sidehills better than these, except maybe the MSR Denali. Go figure. Binding is easy to use with gloves and fits all manner of footwear, from Alpine Ski boots to trail runners.

Has anyone had problems with the rubber...

Has anyone had problems with the rubber bindings wearing out, snapping, or stretching? Going into my second season with mine and haven't had any problems, but I'm wondering if this is a maintenance issue I may be looking forward to in the next season or two.
Thanks in advance!

Responded on

Those are the main wearing parts in new snowshoe design; the rubber straps become worn and weathered. I am on three seasons without many issues, but only use them a dozen or so times a year. I expect to need to just replace the shoe before maintenance.