Boot help for Rainier climb next July

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Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby Mtnbird » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:35 pm

I am climbing Rainier in the end of July 2013 with a guide service via the Ingraham Glacier/Disappointment Cleaver route and am trying to decide what boots to purchase. I don't really want to rent as I would rather invest the money in something I could use on future adventures.

I have an old pair of Koflach Viva Soft Lady boots that I have used for winter climbs, but they are 17 years old and the liners are really worn. I thought of getting Intuition Denali liners for them and using that combo on Rainier, but then I started reading about old plastic boots being brittle. I would hate for them to crack on my Rainier climb. Plus I am not sure the Intuition liners will be tight enough in my boot shells. The Denali liners don't have any laces. It seems like the laces on my outer Koflach plastic shells would not tighten them adequately which might cause my heels to lift. Anyone have issues with Intuition Denali liners not being tight enough?

I went to the store today and tried on the La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX boots and the La Sportiva Baruntse. The employee at the store said the Baruntse would be too warm/overkill for Rainier in the summer and that my feet would really sweat in it. I definitely liked the fit of the Nepal EVO better, and I would be able to use it for more things in the future such as CO winter 14ers and ice climbing. They were so comfortable and light! However, I have Raynaud's Disease which causes poor circulation in my fingers and toes. I tend to get cold feet, but maybe the Nepal would still be warm enough for Rainier in the end of July?

I also had major surgery a couple of years ago (my colon was removed and now I have an ostomy). Because of this, my abs are more prone to injury with super heavy loads. I am fine carrying 55 pounds on my back, but figure the lighter my boots are the better. Basically, I need to balance weight with warmth. Not the easiest situation.

Keeping these things in mind, any advice on the above boots (or others) for my Rainier trip would be much appreciated.


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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby CO Native » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:10 pm

I wore Nepal Evos up Rainier and was very happy with them. I did add a warmer insole and sized them so I could use the over foot insert. With that I only used one pair of wool socks and my feet never even crossed my mind. They do take a little breaking in, and a little practice in tying them so they aren't too tight or too loose.
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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby RyGuy » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:15 pm

I purchased the La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX boots for a Rainier climb last July and they were stellar. Great fit, and I stayed very warm, but not overly so. I also have used them on 6 peaks here in Colorado so far and they continue to be well worth the $500+ I paid at Neptune Mountaineering. I can't really find any faults with them, save for the $500 price tag. But hey, you get what you pay for.

Overall, I think they are a great boot for what you are looking to do. To help combat the cold issue, I would suggest getting the boots a bit big, and then using a couple layers of socks for extra insulation. I usally wear 2-3 layers depending on cold and distance I plan to be traveling. Typically a thin liner, then a medium wool sock (SmartWool) and then a heavy cushion wool (SmartWool) sock as the outer layer. I've used that combo in temps down to about 5F and was fine. I have also used them once in late spring on Mount Antero (To break them in) and it was a fairly warm day. Surprisingly I didn't overheat at all. I also would agree with the Baruntse boots will be overkill. Especially when you can just adjust the insulation with more socks, giving you a bit of control over your "warmth".

Hope that helps a bit.

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby ed20320 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:42 am

I have a pair of Lhotes that i wore the first time i summited Rainier (in september) and they worked very well for me. I also have a pair of Scarpa's that i bought a pair the intuition liners for. those liners are awesome, but you have to use them in the right environment. I can't wear my scarpa/inutition boots if the temperature is much above 20. they are simply too warm. I did wear these boots during an April climb of Rainier and my feet didn't overheat. its unfortunate for me the Lhotes are heavier than my scarpa/intuition boots. it makes the choice a little bit more difficult.

Keep in mind that July can present a wide variety of weather conditions. you can bake in the sun or get a nasty storm. you might consider bringing a mid and heavy weight pair of socks.

good luck,

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby carson_h » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:05 am

I was in a similar position recently while trying to revitalize my old Koflach Ultra’s. I tried a Intuition Denali liner, but the fit was very loose since it doesn’t have laces. Eventually I discovered the Scarpa Degre Liner -- it is made by Intuition and it has laces. I’m was able to get a good fit with this combo. You can buy the liner from moosejaw for ~$120. The sizing is offset even with the US/UK conversion, so I would order a wide range of sizes and return the ones that don't fit.

Good luck!

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby hunterwf » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:44 am

I was on Mt Rainier this past summer in June and September. Both times my Nepal Evo's worked well.
Last edited by hunterwf on Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby yedi » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:56 am

This is my first post, so I know I don't have the credibility that others have, but I used Baruntses on Rainier for a climb last August. Another member of our party and one of our guides were also wearing Baruntses. Fantastic boot from a comfort perspective. As you no doubt saw, the uppers are really "squishy," so shin bang was never an issue for me while slogging. Once I got my sock and insole combination dialed (SmartWool liner, SmartWool Expedition Trekker, green SuperFeet), they were amazingly comfortable (I tried a pair of SmartWool Mountaineer socks, but those were too much). Our temps were relatively balmy (lows of ~30*) and I never thought the boots were too hot. The liner is thermo-moldable, so that increased the comfort around my feet significantly.

Two caveats about the Baruntses: 1) I bought them with an eye on bigger, colder mountains in my future. I think Rainier is at the warmer end of what I would want to take them on, so the Nepal EVOs might be a better bet if Rainier is colder than the mountains you intend to use them on in the future. 2) I'm a little leery of their durability, to be honest. The PU Tech film over the Cordura on the sides is easy to nick with crampons (ask me how I know this). It's not a major problem, as it doesn't appear to compromise the integrity of the shell and a dab of Seam Grip covered it up, but it's definitely something to consider.

I've relocated to the Cascades full-time now, so I'll probably splurge on a pair of Nepal EVOs for summer volcano climbing, mostly because I think the leather outers will last longer and will let me save the Baruntses for bigger mountains. Have fun. It's a beautiful mountain.
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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby colokeith » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:08 pm

I was seriously going to post this exact same question today!!
To climb is to push yourself in a way you might not normally imagine is possible. If your stamina, skill, and luck are sound you will get to stand on top. ... I realized that with climbing, I'd found something that nourished my soul and could forge me into a better version myself - Jim Davidson
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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby herdbull » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:45 pm

If you're still on the fence about the Nepals, maybe this will help......

How can you beat no tax, no shipping, and at your door in a week for $408? Ordered mine last night!!! :-D
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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby Gabriel » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:57 pm

The boots you mention are too much for a summer climb of Rainier on the standard routes/ Emmons and DC. A solid hiking boot with a warm sock/footbed combination will serve you well for the standard routes that don't involve climbing.

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby zdero1 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:13 pm

I purchased the recommended Scarpa Invernos for a June climb of DC from my climb with RMI.
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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby SurfNTurf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:44 am

Gabriel wrote:The boots you mention are too much for a summer climb of Rainier on the standard routes/ Emmons and DC. A solid hiking boot with a warm sock/footbed combination will serve you well for the standard routes that don't involve climbing.


I agree with this. Go ahead and purchase a heavy duty mountaineering boot if you have ambitions beyond Rainier, but you don't necessarily need something like the Nepals, Baruntses or plastics on the DC in summer. I wore La Sportiva Glaciers and was fine, despite a subzero wind chill on summit morning. A couple of my partners got by with even less -- any kind of decent waterproof leathers with high ankles will do, assuming you have strap-on crampons. If a boot works for you on winter 14ers, it'll work for summer on the DC.
“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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