Whether climbing packed trails or hiking off-trail in deep powder, the Louis Garneau Black Everest provided good flotation in most snow conditions, and good traction on all but the steepest slopes. The center-split crampons allow side-to-side flex for extra-firm bite under heavy loads. The molded plastic decks proved to be noisy when used on crusty snow, and the shoes proved to be among the heaviest in their class.
The Boa lacing system of the Louis Garneau Black Everest proved incredibly efficient for getting the shoes on and off, even when wearing gloves. The molded polymer decks provide plenty of flotation without excess weight.
Ease of Use The Boa lacing makes the bindings easy to secure and the molded decking requires little or no maintenance between outings. However, the Louis Garneau Black Everest’s heel elevator was bit stiff both in pulling up and in knocking back down. Use of the heel elevator required it be tugged up by hand rather than flipped up with a pole tip. And knocking it back down sometimes took a hefty kick with the edge of my other shoe.
Binding Support/Effectiveness The Boa lacing on the forefoot and simple rubber strap-and-pin system for the heel make for a simple, but very supportive binding system.
Traversing, Ice, Technical Conditions In addition to aggressive toe crampons, the Back Everest sports a blade-style traction bar curving around base of the Black Everest. That traction bar extends in a tapered “U” from the forefoot to just behind the heel area. But the tail-end of the snowshoe lacks traction. That improves tracking and ease of stride on flats, but creates a slide-hazard on descents.
Natural Stride The Black Everest’s decks lack much of a tail taper, so I found a slight risk of catching a tail on the tip of the stationary shoe in tight routes. Still, the Louis Garneau Black Everest features a narrow design that, even without a tapered tail, allows a smooth, nearly natural walking stride in most conditions. Just be careful on tight forest routes or narrow set tracks.
Powder With two sizes available, I could match my flotation needs to the snow conditions, and with the properly sized shoe underfoot, I found the Black Everests to be decent powder snowshoes. They offer above-average flotation, and good tracking in the deep stuff. I did find a bit of snow loading on the solid-form decks that required a bit of a ‘kick’ every few strides to clear off, but that’s a common enough problem in deep fresh pow.