I took a terrific fall a couple of days ago, while on my daily constitutional walk. It happened on the shady north side of Pilot Butte about a half kilometer from my house. There was an icy portion where the sun never shines in the winter, and the several inches of snow had semi-melted and froze every day and night for the last week or so. There were quite a few people walking the paved road which circles up to the top, about one per minute passing this icy spot.
On the way up I noticed this icy spot, a choke point where there was no way to get around the ice, and practicing my helping other people strategy of living had found some gravelly material off to the side of the road and had gathered it up in my hands and thrown some onto the edge of the road. The plan was to make a walkable trail of textured surface on the ice. It didn’t take but a minute or so, and it really worked, but I hadn’t started doing this until about halfway through the slick zone. On the way down my plan was to improve my work and I was tossing a little more gravel onto the few spots that didn’t have much. Strange to say, it was the very last step going down that was still on the ice, the very first one going up, where I fell. I hadn’t gotten to gravel it quite yet, and it wasn’t flat, it was sloped just a little to the side. There wasn’t any gravel handy and my thought was to carefully step on it and gather a handful of gravel on the other side and toss it back to this last remaining dangerous spot. Boom!
I was down on my right hip bone so quickly I didn’t even get my hand fully extended to break my fall. I took the total impact of that fall on my hip bone, all of it on one square inch of me. Perhaps it hurt, but not all that much, and those people who saw me fall yelled out their intent to come to my aid. I struggled to get up off the ice, but it wasn’t easy to do, because it was so slippery. Well I did succeed and then tossed two handfuls of gravel onto the icy spot and headed on home, thankful that I hadn’t broken any bones. At my age, 77, that would be disastrous, and it proves one thing at least — I’m not frail.
You might be asking why I wasn’t wearing some anti-slip devices on my feet, like the Due-North-Everyday crampons, which I own, and was carrying, but I didn’t put them on because it was such a short distance I was going to be walking over ice. I was going to walk only a few steps and these things take a couple of minutes of struggle to get on.
Due North Everyday Crampons with ice gripping spikes, which fall out.
These things work okay, but the spikes come out too easily while walking. The manufacturer supplies several replacement spikes, which are not terribly difficult to get inserted, but they come out too. The easy fix is to use some silicone rubber glue, like Shoe Goo, to glue them in top and bottom. This weird traction device is made of rubber which is stretched over the toe and heel of a shoe, which if you get a big enough size isn’t terribly difficult to get on, but if you have too small a one it is a challenge, especially if your hands are cold and you have to sit down in the snow. Once installed they work well on ice, snow and also on slippery hardwood floors which they rip up instantly and destroy.
Perhaps I should get the Yaktrax which my friends told me are better.
My friends tell me these are good, and that you can even run in them.
There is an obvious problem with these in that they must be stretched over the shoe, and that would appear to create the same problem as the ones I already own. It’s the problem with stretching the rubber which prevented me from putting them on. As usually happens I start over-thinking the problem and come up with a probably silly solution, but a solution all the same.
What I propose is functionally a rubber hinge off to the side which permits one to flip the sole part of a similar device up over the top of the toes when not walking on ice, and flipping in under the foot when approaching ice. This could have a strap with a loop big enough to be gripped when wearing gloves, and with a Velcro attachment to hold it in each of its two positions.