Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
User avatar
CO Native
Posts: 5050
Joined: 7/26/2004
14er Checklist (58)
14ers Skied (2)
14ers in Winter (15)
13er Checklist (28)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby CO Native » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:09 am

I haven't done the DC route, but with that much time spent in crampons I'd also make sure they have a pretty stiff shank.
Remember what your knees are for.
User avatar
Posts: 398
Joined: 6/6/2011
14er Checklist (58)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby herdbull » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:05 pm

I know there's a lot of people with more experience than myself that have done Rainier and can weigh in on this first hand but I have an old saying that I came up with years ago:

"Those that do, know. Those that know, do." I'll trust the info on RMI's website over anything else I see, hear or read and they recommend Nepals for every one of their climbs. If there's one group or company to trust about anything when it comes to Rainier it's probably them. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure 100's of people or more climb it every year in far less boots but I don't think you'll go wrong with the Nepals for the price. Besides, that just means it's one less thing you have to buy when you tackle something bigger down the road.

Heck, I'd guarantee with perfect bluebird days and warm weather I could summit with my trail runners and microspikes #-o . But I know what's going to be on my feet when I go.
User avatar
Posts: 810
Joined: 9/28/2006
14er Checklist Not Entered

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby pvnisher » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:44 pm

Don't "size up" your boots planning on wearing a massive sock. Get the proper size boot and you'll be happier. Walking in really stiff soles that are too big extra-sucks because the rocker point isn't in the right place. Also, if they are too big then if you don't wear your massive sock combo your foot swims.

Sure, people do it in light boots, and Ueli Steck could run it in flip flops. But if you already have cold feet, I'd recommend the Nepals, and then a pair of neoprene overboots that you can add if you need them.
"Instead of being tied to the one pair of footwear that you’re wearing, you now have options to dial in your level of warmth. "

Layers aren't just for jackets.
User avatar
Posts: 345
Joined: 5/30/2011
14er Checklist (58)
14ers in Winter (20)
13er Checklist (79)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby RyGuy » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:32 pm

Whittaker Mountaineering also has some good YouTube videos on the boots they use and why. Here are a couple:

Overall boots selection:

Sock choices:

Koflach boots from Ed Viesturs:

Plastics vs Leather:

Hopefully these videos will help a bit. I found them very helpful and they swayed me to buy the La Sportiva EVOs.

"Climbing mountains is the only thing I know that combines the best of the physical, spiritual, and emotional world all rolled into one." -Steve Gladbach
User avatar
Posts: 19
Joined: 1/9/2010
14er Checklist Not Entered

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby Mtnbird » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:19 pm

Thanks for the input everyone. It is really helpful. ACERyGuy007, I did find those videos a couple of weeks ago and they are great. They are one of the things that really made me consider the Nepal EVO.

I am climbing Rainier with International Mountain Guides and they too say the Nepal EVO is acceptable for late summer climbs of the DC route. Problem is my Raynaud's Disease. Not sure if anyone else has dealt with this, but basically if I get chilled, my body shuts off circulation to my fingers and toes and they turn white and eventually blue if I don't get them warm. I manage it well, but have gotten mild cold injuries on my toes on a couple of occasions over the years in the winter when I have been out cross country skiing or snowboarding. When I do winter peaks and ice climbing, I always wear the old Koflachs and they keep my feet nice and warm. My other boots are a pair of La Sportiva Makalus. I cannot wear them in cold temps without my feet freezing. I love them for summer peaks in the Rockies, but know that they would not be warm enough for me on Rainier.

Honestly, I can't remember a time when my feet were too hot on any trip in any boot-- even in the summer. I don't know if it is possible for me. My feet feel cold sitting here in my living room with wool socks and slippers on:) After corresponding with the guide service today, they are really recommending plastic double boots for my unique situation, so I will skip the Nepals for now even though I loved how they fit (perhaps they will have a place in my boot quiver in the future... just not for this objective). I think for anyone else they would probably be an ideal choice for a summer climb of Rainier.

Now I just need to decide what to get. The guide service recommended Koflach Degrees so I am going to look into those. I am still wondering how the Baruntse might compare. What would make a plastic double like the Degree a better choice then a composite double like the Baruntse? I walked around in the Baruntse for 30 minutes at Neptune's yesterday and they felt really comfy-- and that was before any heat molding. I have a narrow foot and La Sportivas fit me well. Scarpa boots are generally too wide for me.

pvnisher wrote:Walking in really stiff soles that are too big extra-sucks because the rocker point isn't in the right place.

Interesting point above. The employee at Neptune's really stressed the placement of the rocker point in relation to my foot when trying out the various models. It is something I had never focused on before when sizing boots. I always paid more attention to boot length and heel lift, but I could really tell when the rocker pivot point didn't match my foot on certain models and sizes.

Anyway, after spending several evenings this week at various shops trying on boots, I am a bit overwhelmed. Renting is starting to look very tempting:)

Thanks again for the help!
User avatar
Posts: 6
Joined: 3/10/2010
14er Checklist (44)
14ers in Winter (1)
13er Checklist (37)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby Jyak » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:46 am

I think you are wise to go with the double boot. My wife has the same condition, and we find that she consistently needs "the next step up" in warmth from whatever I'm in.

For what it's worth, I think you'd be happiest with the Spantiks if you can stomach the costs. I've been up the DC route and there is quite a bit of dry crampon work on the Cleaver, itself, not to mention the (compared to Colorado anyway) significant vertical gain of the whole route. The Spantiks are the lightest and most flexible in the shin of the doubles you are considering. Both of those attributes will be a benefit for the big gain and the considerable time doing dry scrambling. To me, anyway, they are a double that feels more like a leather single in the way they move with your foot.
User avatar
Brian C
Posts: 1234
Joined: 2/26/2008
14er Checklist (45)
14ers in Winter (5)
13er Checklist (19)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby Brian C » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:56 am

Loads of folks knock double boots but it all comes down to what you need. If you have problems with cold feet you should really use a double boot.

Single Boot
Pro: Lighter, more comfortable.
Con: If your feet get cold you may have to turn around and not summit or risk damaging your toes. If it gets wet it likely will not dry overnight.

Double Boot
Pro: Warmth will not be a problem, kick steps all day long. Liner is comfy to sleep in and will dry out.
Con: Bulkier, heavier, some beat up your shins.

I'd rather go safe and know that my feet won't have to turn me around on summit day. I also have feet that tend to run cold and own a pair of Baruntses and have been very happy with them. I wear them on cold days in the winter here in CO and on overnight trips and my feet are almost always happier than my friends. When I did Rainier, it was an early season ascent and cold (-40ish on summit day). We were the first unguided party to succeed on the Emmons for a week. If we had not had double boots we would not have summited. I wore them car to car and me feet and shins were happy the whole time while my wife and friend had harder plastics and had bruised shins. The Baruntse is an excellent boot.

EDIT: I tried both the Spantik and Baruntse. I felt that the Baruntse was a superior boot for how my foot is shaped (heat molding helped alot). The Spantik was not comfortable for me.
Brian in the Wild
Lists of John
"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." - Wordsworth
User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: 7/11/2012
14er Checklist (4)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (1)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby cocraig » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:59 am

I'll be out there at the end of July as well. Maybe we'll run into each other. :)
User avatar
Posts: 2734
Joined: 8/7/2006
14er Checklist (58)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (73)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby cheeseburglar » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:46 pm

Conditions in summer vary dramatically up there. During good weather, people jog up in trailrunners. The next weekend, a double boot would be good if you get cold feet.
Since you are locked into a date and will be at the mercy of the weather, you could take a light boot that you might have some use for in the future and if cold conditions occur, rent a boot. The guide service will have racks of boots to choose from.
Another option might be an overboot over a light boot. I don't know that you can rent an overboot, but you might be able to find someone who bought a pair and has them sitting in storage (like me, size medium). I'd loan them to anyone. They are lonely and want to climb again.
If you can ski, I think ski boots are the way to go on Rainier. You don't want to walk down from Muir when you could ski.
The marmot said “Nobody is perfect and you are not nobody.”

Random FoTH Quotes
User avatar
Posts: 485
Joined: 1/3/2011
14er Checklist (30)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (31)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby colokeith » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:25 pm

FYI mooseJaw and Whittaker have the Nepal EVOs on sale for $408 right now. From what I can tell this is a good deal
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
User avatar
Posts: 1813
Joined: 12/5/2007
14er Checklist (58)
13er Checklist (6)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby nyker » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:56 pm

I think the Nepal EVOs would probably be fine in July on Rainier. I climbed Rainier in a pair of the lighter La Sportiva Tango S Evo GTX's and was fine, though I don't get cold feet too often. I used two pair of socks (but suppose most people do). If it makes you feel better, many guides I saw over the course of a few days were wearing the Nepal Evo's (male and female).
lazy climber
Posts: 347
Joined: 6/9/2008
14er Checklist (19)

Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby lazy climber » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:25 pm

It is interesting how things change, I was on Rainier years ago when the Nepals first came out and the RMI guides were making fun of my yellow leather single boots, now that is what they recommend.

You see all kinds of boots on the Big Hill, I went up in August with a nephew who showed up with what looked like work boots and the BD spikes that fit anything, he did fine, although we did tell him we would leave him if his boots gave out.

I have used the LaSportiva Nepal for 12-13 years,they are great boots, I have not had any problems with permanently cold feet, as in my feet get cold while standing around but warm up once you get moving. I wear one pair of mid weight Smart Wool socks with the boots. If it is going to be cold (-10 or colder) I put on insulated super gaiters. For summer climbs ( May thru Oct) here inthe PNW I usually wear La Sportiva ALPS.

The Raynauds thing could put a different spin on what you need. I have a daughter with Raynauds, she does summer climbs in LaSportiva Trango's (uses heater foot beds) but needs to wear Alti Mitts almost all of the time.

If you are planning many more trips to cold places at altitude you may want to invest in a pair of good double boots. I would go with the LaSportiva's if they fit your feet well. If this trip in July is a one shot deal I would either rent doubles or buy a pair of used ones.

The approach hikes can be long here so you may want to hike in trail shoes till you need to put on the big guns.

Return to “Gear, Climbing Prep, Safety, etc.”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 6 guests