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Tuesday, 12 March 2013


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This is what you need Mike:

I bought a pair of the Walkers to use for walking my dog when the sidewalks are icy and they make a difference. If the snow is deep and powdery they're less effective but in the conditions you described I find they provide a noticeable amount of surefootedness.

And I agree, we've been having similar weather in Kansas City lately but this Saturday it was near 60 degrees. The weather quickly returned to "wintery mix" on Sunday but the seed was planted and I'm yearning for spring now.


Maybe you can visit Michael Reichmann once each winter. 8^)

Pick up a pair of Stabilicers. I use them all winter to walk along Lake Superior's frozen shoreline while I'm photographing. Haven't gone down once since I started wearing them.

Here's the link: http://www.32north.com/

Get the Velcro version and not the lite version.

Aren't there some kind of shoes or shoe attachments with metal in them, so that you can walk on ice?

Don't miss it Mike. One winter morning in Maine I stepped out of the house and hit black ice on the walkway. Did a classic banana peel, feet in the air move ending with a hard landing on the buttocks. Sounds funny but a few hours later I was in agony. Pinched a nerve in my back creating some of the worst pain I ever experienced. Took six weeks to fully recover. Will be 73 here in Austin today. I'll take it.

Yaktrax. Not the greatest, load up in snow. But, you get the picture.

Greetings from south Puget Sound, no ice here, just grey, rain, and drizzle for days (or months)on end.

Get some Yak Tracs of a variation. Us fat old farts have to be really careful about falls. I lost my bounce a number of years ago so do everything I can to avoid needing it.

Maybe these would help?


Mike, it's not glare ice it's sheet ice becuase that's what you say when you slip on it... Glad to know you are OK! Daffodils and crocus are up here in Maryland. Hang in there!

They are called yaktrax, and they work like a charm. If you like hiking in the woods this time of year, get the heavier duty micro spikes, like a short pair of ice crampons.

Glad you didn't break anything, Mike. Come and visit with us next winter. We get a little snow now and then here in central Virginia, but seldom do we need to deal with ice. The worst feature of ice for us country dwellers is that the power goes out, and we're at the end of the line for repairs.

With best regards,


http://www.newitts.com/product/IT049738/Dual_Traction_Snow_and_Ice_Grippers.htm Something like that may helpJ?

Mike, c'mon! 56 ain't old! I'm 57 and live in New England, so this winter after one of the mighty snows, I strapped on the old snowshoes and trekked off into the woods to a nice little stream with some very nice cascades. Had to shoe about 1/2 mile in. Took several breaks, but I got to see a beautiful sight. Nearly fell about a dozen feet into the stream at one point, but that just made it exciting... And I slept like a rock that night 'cuz I was EXHAUSTED! You're right, I'm old...

Mike, stop thinking old. Think young. Thinking old will kill you.

As with any problem, you can always throw money at it: http://www.rei.com/search?query=ice+cleats

I personally haven't tried any of these products, though I always contemplate them during the annual March thaw/freeze. My friends who enjoy winter running have reported mixed results with the Yaktrax.

When I see images of beautiful snowy scenes, I become envious of those of you that have remained behind. But, after reading your complaint and being a few years older as well as somewhat overweight, visions of me trudging thru the snow (or across ice) carrying a LF camera are sobering.

I've never tried them, but I'm sure up there in the great white you can get those not-crampons-but-cable-chains-for-your-boots type traction devices. I think my wife tried them here in Colorado. Said they were good on ice and snow, but she didn't like them on the bare concrete spots.

Lovely spring-ish snow here in the Denver area today. A couple of inches on the grass and trees, but roads are mostly clear.

I hate Spring. It's a big tease. The weather gets warmer, then it freezes again. It gets sunny, then dumps rain on you. It gets warm and sunny, but the ground is a soft, squishy mess of mud that means you can actually do LESS outside than when everything was covered in snow. As an added benefit, the see-sawing temperatures usually make for some nice spring colds, and when they let up, my allergies kick in. Spring is my least favorite season, by a longshot. I will never understand those who wax poetic about Spring. I don't look forward to Spring relieving me from Winter, I look forward to Summer relieving me from Spring!

Best regards,

Mike, you might want to try a pair of YakTrax (I think Amazon sell them - what don't they sell?). I bought some as we've had quite a long cold & icy winter in the UK & they are very good - even when the surface changes from snow to ice to tarmac.

Mike, there is an easy cure for your malaise - move to the Southern climes.

In college (in upstate NY) I used to staple the bottom of my shoes for traction up the icy slopes of Ithaca NY. Now I use Yaktrax. I trail run up icy hills with them.

Ice is brutal. I've been known to trip over something, from not paying enough attention to the ground in front of me while looking for pictures, but when you get tripped up there's time to break the fall with your hands. If your feet go out from under you because of ice, you're on the ground instantly, no chance to break the fall. Then, if you're OK, you've got to figure out how to get up...

Talking about 4x5 negs.......what's the update on the darkroom project???

Mike - Maybe you can come down here to Kansas. It's supposed to be 70°F by Thursday. My little Dragoon is yapping at the door after a long winter stuck in the gym; he shot the last 2500 basketball pics of the season last weekend and was disappointed when a cold front rolled through early Sunday morning, stifling our planned lake outing. Thursday we plan to strike back. Hope you can join us.

Another vote for the Yaktrax. We haven't had a lot of snow and ice this winter (near St. Louis) but we did last year. My Yaktrax lived on my boots for nearly 3 months for twice-daily walks with my 90 lb chocolate lab. Even with his all- wheel drive, he'd slip and slide before I would! Highly recommended.

Be careful out there. It seems that just as we have made great strides preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, I am learning of more and more people breaking bones in complex, debilitating and expensive ways. You don't want to learn about "external fixation" from an insider's point of view.

Hi Mike
I live just east of you in Saint Paul MN. this weekend I'm 61 so another old fart.
This spring has been a bad one I fell Sunday and landed on my face. I was trying to "save it" nothing broken but now I have an excuse to use my favorite line when people ask me what happened. "you should have seen the other guy!"
last year I broke my tailbone. now that's bad took 6 months to quit hurting.

Cheers and stay safe.
Ron Wolfgram

I was shooting at the south rim of the Grand Canyon ~10 years ago in winter. Standing on the path stock still and fell right down on my copious butt. Fortunately, my Canon EF landed on a large expanse of cushion (my belly). No injuries to me or the camera.


Understand your problem. Up here in the snowy parts of Canada a lot of people who like to walk in the snow and ice use removable traction soles. My sister has tried a number and most are cheap and don't last long. The one she and her group of friends who walk together most days (their all retired) have settled on is called "Icers". They are available at Lee Valley Tools among other places. Made in Canada too.

Mike, you must get a lot of zingers, since this isn't the first time you've wrongly taken a general comment from me personally. By the way, I'm 62, youngster.

[I actually didn't take it personally. It made me laugh.

But I do notice that I'm not nearly as gung-ho as I used to be, hence the reply. --Mike]

Lots of mentions above for Yaktrax. I use them for trail running in the winter. They work quite well on hard-pack and icy snow. And they are easy on-off.


I too use the velcro Stabilicers. I haven't fallen again since I started wearing them. Just don't wear them indoors anywhere. Only for outside.

The only time I've ever broken a bone was due to falling on ice, when I was a mere stripling of 39. The next day, with me in a cast and my wife home with flu, was when we discovered the basement flood, the busted sump pump, and the frozen-solid garden hose which prevented the spare sump pump from working.

I feel for you Mike. I'm currently in Jersey on a 20th wedding anniversary trip. Should have left yesterday but Jersey is currently experiencing the worst snow it has seen for 40 years. We came to Jersey as it claims to be the sunniest part of Britain. And it was when we arrived Friday last week - we sat outside in t-shirts. We're now hoping that the airport is able to even open tomorrow...

I know about the recent weather, Mike. I live in southwestern Wisconsin, so I've witnessed the fluctuations. I can also relate, as I'm overweight and 57. Last year in January I slipped on black ice in front of the house, fractured a rib and tore quite a bit of cartilage - then made the mistake of driving to Atlanta and back within 72 hours. What an ordeal. A couple of weekends ago spent three days in downtown Milwaukee dodging the slush and ice as the snow fell. Got to see COLOR RUSH though, which was fab. Cheers...... Paul

I think I must like DST for the opposite reason you do. For me it's a couple more weeks of the parks being open before dawn.

"So could be worse."

Yep, just ask Vivian Maier... oh wait you can't, she died from her slip on the ice.

You need some ice walkers, cleats to strap onto your shoes. Well worth the expense and trouble.

You've reminded me of POWs escaping from Germany in WW2: they put (presumably woollen) socks over their boots when crossing ice.

Lost a week of work last year to a fall on black ice. Nothing quite like the experience of seeing your feet blocking out the sky to tell you the rest of the day is going to stink.

BTW, I believe the expression is "stack of bricks", although often seen as "sack of bricks." Masons don't carry bricks in a sack, but they do have canvas sacks for their trowels and hammers, which they hang on the end of a four foot level over their shoulder. The laborers who do carry the bricks use a brick carrier. More useless information which I'm sure you'll be pleased to have passed along.

54? Who was it that said youth is wasted on the young? I moved about 50 miles up the Hudson from Manhattan when I was 55. That was 19 years ago but seems like yesterday. Where did the years go? Loved the snow. Didn't care much for the ice though at times it could be spectacularly beautiful. Now I'm 74, can't stand snow and even find it difficult to see the beauty (as I clear the 400 feet of driveway with my trusty, ancient snowblower). Don't even say the word i...

Integrating 'So Many Cameras... EOS-1v' and 'Bricks' reminded me of the eight 'Bricks' of Fuji film in my deep freeze and the neglected EOS-1n hs collecting dust on a shelf...a day filled with nolstalgia...:))


With all due respect Mike, speaking strictly for myself, I'm your age and its not so much a sack of bricks as, well, ahem, a sack of fat...

The extra weight both hurts and protects.

But I agree with the overall thesis. I've had two falls in the last two months, and man, it hurts now like it never used to do when I was 36 years old. Hurts for days afterwards too...

Many are the times in icy weather when I've parked my motorcycle and walked back down the road to find it's so slippery that I can hardly stand up, thinking, "and I was riding on this?!"

The first time I came off on ice was the first time I rode a motorcycle on the road. I got to the top of the hill, turned right at 5 mph and off I came. I sat in the junction and looked back down the hill. I was relieved to see that my mother was not watching, so I picked the bike up and rode to work. There was no damage to me or the bike, so she didn't find out until years later when I let it slip out. Whoops!

Down south (it's colder in the south here), the scarfies (students) wear their socks on the outside of their shoes when things get slippery up in the hill suburbs.

The Innovative Heated Tullhus Bridge

No mention of the energy source or when such an idea can/will be extended to suburban sidewalks.

Another vote for Stabilicers. They are the best for a long walk. Most secure and very durable. On the trails in Colorado, I often see pieces of coils and rubber - the remains of broken Yaktrax. The rubber fails in hard wear.

You must take Stabilicers off when you go inside. They slip like ice skates on hard floors. (and they gouge soft floors.)

For shopping trips, some prefer grips that are easier to take off and smaller to store. I like the Microspikes.

Of course you can buy either on Amazon.
Amazon link for Stabilicers:


Amazon link for Microspikes:

At 73, I'm completely sympathetic with your age-related angst. The most secure solution for you might be to fit your rocking-chair rockers with some sheet metal screws.

I had a similar incident while walking the dog in January. I didn't get off so easy though. I went down on my arse and broke my left lower leg in 2 places - compound fracture no less, ripped a bunch of ligaments too. I ended up having surgery to put my ankle joint back together and spent 4 days in the hospital. I love winter photography too; I just don't like actually DOING it. You're right - Milwaukee winters can be dangerous and brutal.

I'll turn 56 this May, so I'm right there with you, Mike. I'm 5' 11" and 217 lbs, so I guess I qualify as overweight as well. But the numbers don't tell the entire story. At 50, I had no problem keeping up with people half my age - and solidly outperformed almost everyone I personally know in the 35-40 age group.

But then, somewhere around my 54th birthday, I could simply feel myself slowing down and my energy level dropping. I could feel my joints beginning to ache more. And I began to notice that things like colds and the flu were beginning to knock me down for longer periods of time.

Of course, losing weight would probably help most of us. In fact, if there's any single thing we can do to improve our health and mobility, it's losing weight. But I also suspect there's not as much we can do to fight genetics and our own personal biological clock as many would believe - at least not until the next big leap in biotechnology.

I don't think it's fair to compare ourselves to each other because we're all different. I'm happy for guys who are in their 60s and 70s, and have no problem skiing, roping cattle, performing ballet or whatever. Some do it through hard work, discipline and sheer force of will. But I suspect many of those people are simply lucky enough to have dipped into the good end of the gene pool.

Ice cannot "lay" in wait for you. Chickens "lay" eggs. Ice "lies" in wait for you. Sorry to be the grammar police. Active v. passive verbs.

[Oddly, my entire education in English grammar lasted three days. My 8th grade English teacher Worden L. ("Sandy") McCallum asked our class if we'd like to learn grammar, and we all voted yes. Three days later we all took another vote and the tables had turned. He gave us quite a cross lecture about not sticking to it, but gave in. And that was it, my entire training. --Mike]

From a 68 year-old just back (with a sore knee) from XC skiing in Norway: YakTraks were useful for a short trek across an icy carpark. However for moving further on ice the local elderly favour a spark or kicksled, though that may not be much use if there are ice-free patches as well.

I'm slightly sad to report that every year most older citizens of the Nordic lands still seem to be faster and steadier on their skis than this Brit.

What is or should be scary for Americans is to see just how fat we've become. The CDC in 2004 published a longitudinal study of our height and weight from 1960 to the last data, 2002. For American men in their 20's to 70's the weight gain is something like 28 pounds. The average American man used to be around 5-9 and 167, now it's 5-9/5 and 199 pounds! The average BMI for men is overweight, in the 28 category (25 and under is normal). It's even worse for women, especially black women whose BMI is across the board in the "obese" category.

Mike you've written about your weight issues in the past, and it seems to be a concern for you. Losing the weight, even 10-15 pounds is key. And you'll fall over a lot less if your center of gravity moves down from the belly to the hips!

Get a pair of these: http://www.icebug.se. Best buy I ever made (well, apart from the Mamiya 7 with an 80 mm f/f lens that is:)

Seriously you cannot slip with them. "Can not" as in "impossible"!

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