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  • MSR - Lightning Ascent Snowshoe - Men's -
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  • MSR - Lightning Ascent Snowshoe - Men's -

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe - Men's

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12 Reviews


Superior traction, performance, and comfort for winter expeditions.

When you need to get somewhere in the backcountry and you need to get there safely and securely, trust the Men's Lightning Ascent Snowshoes from MSR. The Lightning Ascents feature decking made from ballistic nylon that can withstand whatever you can throw at it. 360-degree traction frames provide grip on whatever terrain you find yourself on, regardless of topography and conditions. The PosiLock AT bindings combine with Torsion2 crampons for excellent support and traction. Heel-risers ensure that you won't suffer from undue fatigue.

  • Ballistic nylon decks
  • 360-degree traction frames
  • Torsion2 crampons
  • PosiLock AT bindings
  • Ergo Televator heel-risers
  • Modular flotation tail compatible (flotation tails sold separately)
  • Item #CAS001K

Tech Specs

Frame Material
360° Traction (aluminum, steel)
Deck Material
ballistic nylon
Crampon Material
22 x 8 in, 25 x 8 in, 30 x 8 in
Heel Risers
yes, Ergo Televators
Side Rails
Recommended User Weight
[22in, without tails] 180 lbs, [22in, with tails] 250 lbs, [25in, without tails] 220 lbs, [25in, with tails] 280 lbs, [30in, without tails] 280 lbs, [30in, with tails] 300 lbs
Claimed Weight
[22in] 3 lbs 13 oz, [25in] 3 lbs 15 oz, [30in] 4 lbs 7 oz
Recommended Use
Manufacturer Warranty
limited 3 years

Tech Specs

  • Reviews
  • Q & A

What do you think about this product?

Have questions about this product?

I can't recommend highly enough

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have used these for the season of 16/17 and I couldn't be happier. I have owned a few tube style snowshoes in the past and I'll never go back. These are basically crampons with more surface area.

They are light enough that they're basically not noticeable as you hike up. After 20+ days in them they show little sign of wear outside of the paint starting to wear out where I bang snow science tubes against them.

I did order the tails that I use on powder days. I am 5'10" 170 pounds and the 25" shoes work great for the majority of the time, but the easily attachable tails are necessary when it is crazy deep.

The ski strap design is great and means they work well with my fat mountaineering boots (Salewa Guides) and my cascadias (dont buy the cascadia 11).

If you're looking for a snowshoe that excels in more technical terrain the lightening ascent is the best snowshoe I have ever owned.

I can't recommend highly enough

slides on ascents, great everywhere else

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got this snowshoe being a big fan of other MSR products. But was let down. The width is great and the strapping in was easy and held throughout my trip. Super comfortable and light. But any steep hills (30+degree) there's not enough (toe grab) on the front of the shoe to get the snow. Even with the Televaror i slipped all over where as with my other pair of snowshoes I didn't. On flat and slight incline and even down hill they work great though.

Sounds like you're not stepping right. They're not designed to hold by the toe crampon, especially on soft ground. If you step with even pressure around the whole frame before articulating your next step, it bites and holds like nothing else on the market. I've taken these straight up ridiculous pitches in 2 feet of powder, sheets of glacier ice, the hold is incredible. Technique matters though.

Best Shoes I've Worn

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have used many different snowshoes and some were very nice shoes. However, there was always one little thing wrong with each pair that I tested out....Then I bought a pair of lightning ascents two years ago. I have used them in the Adirondacks of NY as well as the Uintas in UT and Rockies, and have loved them every step of the way.

First of all the size of the bindings is great. I am able to use my regular winter hiking boots in them, as well as my snowboarding boots if I want to snowshoe up and ride down. There isn't an issue with the width of my snowboard boots in the snowshoe bindings.

Then the durability of the shoes, the lightweight, and overall quality of them. I have never had an issue with bindings coming undone, decking ripping (even on some very exposed rock surfaces), or the Televators falling down while in use; while these have all been issues I have had with previous shoes.

If you have any questions about sizing the right snowshoe for you, or any gear for your next adventure, feel free to reach out directly and I'd love to assist or just share stories.

Best Shoes I've Worn

Best snowshoe available!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've had the "women's" of this version for 4 years (even though I'm a man) and it has been great. I needed a little more flotation and length so I bought the 25" mens and the extra width and slight amount of weight is unnoticeable. They are very durable despite the lightweight design. I'm not walking on pure rocks with it, but I've taken them through plenty of sticks and occasional dirt. Binding system is fast and even more improved from my previous version.

These are the best snowshoes available because of the amount of traction you get along the entire frame (not just the crampon underfoot). The elevators (or heel lifts) are intuitive and easy to flip up and down with a trekking pole. I also love the add on tails. I thought these were a gimmick at first but they have definitely come in handy most trips when the snow is deep powder or punch slush. Its nice to add a bunch of flotation immediately and continue on your way. I've seen all other snowshoes in action and if you're going up steep slopes these are the ones that can't be beat.

Great backcountry snow shoe!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Awesome snow shoes for serious backcountry hiking. I've used these shoes during many winter hiking trips. A couple that come to mind are climbing Mt Harvard in January and a 50 mile two day hike in the Arctic Circle. Both occasions had lots of snow. The snow ran between deep powder (approx waist deep) and icy surface crust with powder underneath. Each time the snow shoes performed superbly. I'm 5'7" 165lbs and usually carry a 35-40lb pack. The snow shoes ability to float was amazing along with the crampon like traction they provide. One of the best features is the heal lift. At first I was skeptical about the feature but during our final ascent of Mt Harvard I decided to flip the heel lift up. What a difference it makes for climbing steep inclines. Very durable as well. Mine are approaching 10yrs old and they are still my go to snow shoes. Highly recommend for backcountry trail use. Great job MSR!

Great backcountry snow shoe!

What more can you wish for?

    I have used the Lightning Ascent extensively for almost 8 years. They are very sturdy, lightweight for the size, and climb like a cat on steroids.:) a great backcountry shoe.

    What more can you wish for?

    My Preferred Snowshoe

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    If you've got any questions about MSR snowshoes or any other pairs; definitely contact me and I'd love to help you find the right pair for your size, intended use, and region.

    I've used the Lightning Ascents for years now and they've never failed me. When other struggle on ice or bad terrain, I'm able to forge on and have no issues. And the float on these is great in deep snow.

    Shoot me an email or call and we can size up a pair for you!

    Shoot me an email anytime you have questions about snowshoes or any other gear!

    Jared D.
    Expert Gearhead

    Just Awesome

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I use these for any and all winter hiking. They're incredibly light for how beastly they are. I've stomped through powder in these and walked straight up a couple 14ers (like walking up a staircase with the heel-risers up).

    I don't have a splitboard, so these have also allowed me to get into backcounty riding. I just strap them to my backpack when I'm ready to descend. I don't even notice the weight on my pack because they're so light, and also a lot lighter than the snowboard I had been carrying haha.

    Best steep terrain snowshoes I've used.

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I bought my Lightning Ascents a year ago for steep terrain and packed snow in which my Tubbs Mountaineers weren't quite as good as I'd hoped. They were everything I'd hoped for and then some. Thanks to the 360 Degree Traction frame, 3 traction bars, and large toe crampons, the traction you get with these things is incredible - steep ascents and descents, side slopes, even greasy mashed potatoes, these snowshoes grab hold and don't let go.

    Due to a knee injury last year that caused a lot of pain when I'd kneel to attach the Tubbs Mountaineer 36s I'd been using in powder, I began using the Lightning Ascents instead this season and found that I like them better in the soft stuff, too. I sink a little deeper because of the smaller surface area, but that also means I have less snowshoe to lift out of the snow. So they've now become my go-to snowshoes for all terrain and types of snow. Their narrow width and shorter length makes them ideal for narrow trails and dense woods, and the Ergo Televator and 3 traction bars under the deck allow you to go straight up and down the steepest hills with little more than a kick step or firmly stomping your feet on ascents. I haven't found a descent yet that's too steep for me to just walk down.

    The 4-strap bindings are super secure, and allow you to customize the fit for whatever kind of boot you're wearing. My Sorel Conquests fit just as well as my Asolo Fugitive GTX, and there's plenty of strap left for bigger boots. They're super easy to attach and detach while wearing gloves, and even if the straps come out of the retaining clips or the clips break the straps won't loosen up.

    I've stepped on a lot of rocks and sticks and haven't had any puncture the decking. Certain boots, such as my Sorels, can cause the foremost buckle to nick the decking, MSR says the nicks will only go so far and then stop but I trimmed mine with a razor blade and sealed the edges with a lighter. No more nicks. It was never a problem with my uninsulated GTX hikers.

    These are the ultimate severe service, all terrain snowshoes, and I can't see myself going back to tube framed models for anything but trail walking - and I just recently bought a pair of Lightning Trails for that. MSR snowshoes rock!

    No Regrets!!!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    These things are top notch! I put them to the test this weekend and was not disappointed. Went through all kinds of snow conditions: on ice, over rock and exposed logs and roots. Held like glue on some seriously steep ice. Highly recommend. (pic of summit ascent on Mt Colden, NY)

    No Regrets!!!

    Great Snowshoes but not for NorthEast

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Bought these to do NYS 46ers and the rest of the 4000'+ peaks in the NE. Awesome design weight and use of materials. except for using aluminum for the traction system. The nature of our trails means lots of exposed rocks even in the dead of winter and because of this it really takes its toll on the aluminum teeth. used for maybe 3 peaks and decided to sell them off befor there was nothing left. went back to using the Good ol MSR Denali accents. heavier but more durable, a true 5 star snow shoe..

    Good point on tearing up the traction. Steel wouldn't make much of a difference, you might get twice the use out of them. For conditions that are going to take you over patch snow, a tube design (since the frame on this design is not part of the traction system) is better if you are concerned about durability. The trade off is less traction if you are doing particularly steep inclines and ice. They say you should step out of your snow shoes and not tread across rock and gravel, impractical perhaps. If the snow doesn't really warrant a snow shoe, I get in YakTrax.

    WILLINGHAM259668: From my experience (100+ winter peaks), its very impractical to keep switching from one device to another. and in the peaks, you pretty much always need traction, (a snow shoe without traction is a ski). and yaktrax are also not suitable for mountains either, Microspikes are the only way to go for that application.

    Unanswered Question

    I'm 6' 175lbs plus winter clothing and typically carry a 30ish lb pack for backpacking trips. I'm torn between the 25 plus tails down the road if I need them or should I just go with 30?

    What would be wrong with having your snow shoes one size larger than the recommended size? Would this cause a problem? (for example in the lightning ascents, your weight plus pack puts you at the upper end of the 25 but instead you buy a 30?)

    Only that the bigger they are, the more unwieldy they might be. But I've used these before, and they're amazingly good at staying out of your way. If you're erring on the side of heavier weight or softer snow, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I weigh probably 180 pounds with all the winter gear on. So that means I could use the 22 inch snow shoes. And then if I carry a pack and add the tails I could add an extra 70 pounds and still be within the 250 pound weight limit that the 22 inch snow shoes plus the tails are capable of supporting. Is this true?


    You could go with the 22" +tails but the 25" would definitely be the better option. Always better to be in the middle of a weight range than at the top or bottom end.

    Let me know if you've got other questions!

    Jared D.

    Expert Gearhead


    which size would be right? Being 5'9, 150lbs+30lb pack, I'm split right on 22in and 25in. thanks in advance,


    If you're always going to have a pack on you then definitely the 25" shoes.

    If you plan on occasionally having a pack then the 22" will give you more mobility.

    Another big aspect is if you're always in deep powder of a heavy snow. If always in a deep powder then the 25" snowshoes.

    Shoot me an email anytime you have questions!

    Jared D.

    Expert Gearhead


    Is there a distinguishable difference between the men's and the women's lightning ascent snowshoe? I ask, because as a female, I prefer the silver color of the men's to the color options of the women's, but don't want to have any issues if these are only suited for men. For reference, I am 5'8", 120lbs. Thank you!

    The women's models are 3/4" narrower than the men's models (7.25" vs 8"), per the MSR website. Women's bindings are also smaller, and depending on your shoe size the Ergo Televators may not be under your heel when raised.