Boots for Glaciated Peaks

Boots for Glaciated Peaks

Jack
Jack

January 30th, 2002, 12:05 am #1

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?


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Steve Gruhn
Steve Gruhn

January 30th, 2002, 12:31 am #2

The important thing is the fit of the step-in crampon to the boot. The softness (or lack of rigidity) of the boot also comes into play. Softness is bad. For a step-in crampon to work on the boot, the boot must have a lip on the front and back to accomodate the crampon. Some leather boots have this feature; some don't. I have both leather boots that accomodate crampons and plastic boots. I used my plastic boots for both Rainier and Hood, despite them being considerably less comfortable. They do tend to be a bit warmer when traveling through wet snow.

I don't think you really want a boot with Gore-Tex on the upper for either of these two climbs. You will get soaked and cold.

As far as purchasing crampons on e-bay, I recommend that you try to fit the crampons on your boots at the time of purchase. This is nigh unto impossible on e-bay.
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Scott Surgent
Scott Surgent

January 30th, 2002, 1:29 am #3

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?

The boot has to be sturdy enough to hold a crampon; most hiking boots, including extra heavy-duty boots, aren't appropriate. Look for specifically manufactured mountaineering boots.

I have a pair of La Sportiva Makalus, which are heavy leather monsters but not so utterly rigid as a plastic boot, and I used it up Rainier and Hood and was very comfortable (I did have also a pair of supergaitors over them as well, plus treating the leather with the nikproof stuff). I think that it comes down to personal taste and comfort. There are some advantages of plastic vs. leather when considering longer periods on glacier.
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James Willard
James Willard

January 30th, 2002, 3:05 am #4

I'm no expert, but have been up and down several glaciers with "waterproofed" heavy duty leather boots and strap-on crampons -- worked perfectly. Plastic boots and step-in crampons are expensive and would be great if you were doing a lot of serious mountaineering. But "old fashioned" crampons with straps are adjustable and will fit any boot -- of course you will want stiff, heavy duty mountaineering boots, hopefully with a steel shank (Vasque Alpine, Merrell Grand Traverse, La Sportiva, etc.). Keep in mind that most heavy boots (especially "mountaineering" boots) are "step-in" crampon compatible. So if you find some step-in crampons at a good price, any good mountaineering boot will probably fit them (ask the seller). Lastly, I know several mountaineers who are very happy with their Gore-Tex boots during glacier travel.
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WingMan
WingMan

January 30th, 2002, 3:16 am #5

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?

If you are only going to do Rainier and Hood (not Denali or other big mountains) I would suggest that you just rent yourself a pair of plastic boots and crampons for these climbs.

From you questions it appears that you have not previously used technical ice and snow climbing equipment. Given that assumption I am going to make the following suggestions.

Make sure that you get some practical experience on ice and snow before attempting Mt. Rainier or Mt. Hood, these can be very dangerous peaks. Even the "easiest" routes on these peaks can be deadly. Don't underestimate your task.

These peaks require you to know ice axe techniques and the basics of rope team travel.

If you are using a guide service I would suggest that you contact the guides you plan to use and explain to them that you will need to rent boots and crampons. They will make sure you have the proper equipment. You will also need an ice axe of the proper length as well as a climbing harness.

The bottom line is that plastic boots as best as they keep your feet dry and maintain their shape during the climb by not absorbing moisture. You will find that plastic boots take many different type of crampons so you need to make sure that the crampons you acquire fit on your boots prior to climbing.

Don't attempt to buy climbing equipment from eBay as your life may depend on what you buy. If you purchase these items be careful not to let a cheaper price dictate what you buy. A pair of plastic boots and crampons are expensive but you will have them a long time.

Hope this gives you some food for thought.
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Jared
Jared

January 30th, 2002, 6:05 am #6

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?

Plastic is great, if you plan on alot of steep glacier or ice or cold weather/ high altitude it is also expensive. Other wise for general mountaineering leather is fine, and more comfortable for aproach hikes. I like the Sportiva Malaku and Grivel GF2's personally.
Jared
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Jeffrey Cook
Jeffrey Cook

January 30th, 2002, 7:47 pm #7

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?

I did Shasta by a variation of the Hotlam/Bolam Ridge route (glaciers) last Summer, plus several Winter climbs of Humphreys (no glaciers). All were done with Raichle mid-top Gore-tex boots with 3/4 steel shank and Grivel G-10 strap-on crampons. The fit and weight were good, and the crampons held tight without any adjustments on ice slopes up to 50 degrees. I plan to wear the same equipment to Mt. Hood, but would probably rent plastic boots and step-ins for Rainier, mostly for the slopes >45 degrees and because of the posibility of having to front-point out of a crevasse.

The biggest negative to the Gore-tex + strap-ons is wear and tear. The boots' uppers take a beating from the crampons, and in fact I had to wrap the heel section of the crampons with chamois and duct tape bacause the heel adjustment screw had dug a deep groove in the heel of the boots after just one climb. I would have to wonder how the sole of a leather boot would stand up to multiple ascents with step-ins.
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Ken Akerman
Ken Akerman

January 30th, 2002, 9:21 pm #8

Plastic is great, if you plan on alot of steep glacier or ice or cold weather/ high altitude it is also expensive. Other wise for general mountaineering leather is fine, and more comfortable for aproach hikes. I like the Sportiva Malaku and Grivel GF2's personally.
Jared
I rented plastic mountaineering boots at Rainier Mountaineering Institute near Paradise Lodge at the Rainier trailhead. This is a good place to rent boots if you need to rent plastic boots for a Rainier ascent.

I used leather boots on Mount Hood, which were acceptable for a day climb but which I knew would not be adequate for Mount Rainier, which requires at least one night of camping on snow. That's why I rented the boots at RMI.
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Val Todd
Val Todd

January 30th, 2002, 10:40 pm #9

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?

Last year I bought a pair of Technica Altitude that I used on Rainier, Hood & St. Helens. I also bought a pair of strap on rather than step in Grivel G12's even though my boots could have had step ins. Both boots and crampons worked very well. I didn't have to adjust the straps once, just followed the directions. I will use plastic boots when and if I do McKinley, but for the rest, the above worked fine for me. As for buying crampons on eBay, one of my climbing partners did exactly that trying to save a few bucks and ended up reselling them and buying a different pair locally. To me I guess it's a question of how sure do you want to be of your equipment? It is your life on the line!
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Jack
Jack

January 30th, 2002, 11:52 pm #10

I'm interested in hiking up the easier routes of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc. I realize that they will require "Mountainering Boots and Crampons". I've heard that some or most people climbing these peaks are using "Plastic boots".

Are these like downhill ski boots, but with treads?

I'm thinking about buying a pair of heavy Gortex leather boots that are rated as 'heavy backpacking and light mountaineering'.

Would these be suitable for non-technical mountaineering or would a guide insist on me renting plastic boots? Would I be laughed off the mountain? Would I be at a significant disadvantage in using a 'light mountaineering' boot w/ crampons?

I'm planning late spring/summer climbs.

Would folks recommend that I buy crampons on e-bay (if I got them at a significant discount) or not?

I have done similar altitude (Elbert & Humphries amoung others), but plan to get some Glacier training before I attempt Rainier or Hood.

I have some very old but servicable leather Reichle Colorados which have a sturdy sole that can not be deflected more than about an inch. I could use tall gators over these. Or I could buy some "backpacking and light mountaineering" Gortex boots from LLBean (on sale for $119) or I could just rent.

I'm disinclined to rent for the reason that I want to train in the same boots/crampons that I'll use for the actual climb.

I don't quite get the step-in vs. strap-on crampon option. Which is better?

Oh, and I don't plan to do any technical ice work or any ice/snow grades steeper than needed to get up Rainier. Do I still want front point crampons?

10, 12 or how many points?
[Are they like deer, the more points the better? :-))]

If I buy these crampons locally, what questions will I need to answer before making the correct choice (other than step/strap and having the boots on I'll be wearing on the ice).





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