Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby pvnisher » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:46 pm

Rent before you buy.
The nepals have a rotation point further back which helps me not be as clunky in them. The scarpa blancs are wider in the toe. I wont wear plastics, one trip was enough.
I ended up buying nepals, although i have to wear thinner socks.
If it is your first big mountain, take the chance to rent. They are a big investment, and you dont want to get it wrong.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby Brian C » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:57 am

Don't discount the doubles. The Nepals are an excellent good weather boot that are comfy (if they fit your feet) and climb well. That said, modern synthetic doubles (i.e. Baruntses, Spantiks) aren't much heaver, are way more comfy that old plastics and significantly warmer. The real turning point seems to be comfort (not really an issue if it fits your foot) and weight (Baturas weigh a whopping 9 ounces more than the Nepals).

Nepals will do just fine on Rainier if you go quickly and have great weather the whole time. Downside is if the weather really turns sour, you'll have to turn around or have the possibility of losing toes. Nepals would be better for spring snow in CO and beautiful winter days but are lacking on frigid winter days and multi-day excursions. My attitude was better to be too warm than too cold and to suck it up on the extra 9 oz the times that I need it. Then I'd have a boot I could take pretty much anywhere I wanted to go.

To really make things confusing you could always look at the Baturas. The old models can hold in moisture too much for multi-day ventures but supposedly they've made it much better in the current model. The Baturas are warmer than the Nepals, feel more nimble and weigh 4 ounces less. Lofty price tag though.

Baruntses at 16K
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby HuskyRunner » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:50 am

When we did Baker and Sahale I used my Lowa Civettas (plastic doubles) and while warm and worked fine on the glaciers, on dry trails they are tanks and really beat up my feet. In the 15 years since those climbs I've worn the Lowas twice for ice climbing. Next time the Lowas come out of the closet will likely be for Denali, not a whole lot of use in the 15 years I've had the boots.

Been on Rainier twice (Emmons/Winthrop and Kautz) on both times wore leather boots on June ascents. First time with Garmont Pinnacles (leather but not insulated) and my feet were plenty warm but we did have really nice weather. Second time (Kautz) I wore some Kaylands that are lightly insulated. We had mist and rain on the climb up to base of the Kautz and I neglected to put my boots into my bag that night subsequently my boots were mighty cold the next morning. Tried warming the boots in the hour it took us to get ready but they were still cold and I wound up with some mild frostbite for my stupidity. It was a very cold June day though, most of our water froze and it's the only time I have been cold climbing in a down jacket. The Kaylands have been terrific boots all sorts of hikes and climbs in the Rockies including winter ascents of Kelso ridge (twice), Cables on Longs, East ridge of Bancroft and plenty of other hikes. I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of those boots.

Your profile says 2 winter ascents, what boots did you use then and what were the conditions?
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:19 am

Great Advice so Far!

I might add:

Don't pick a boot because someone else wears them or you like how they look! THE FIT! THE FIT! THE FIT!

As Brian C posted in his reference to Nepals: (if they fit your feet)

CO Native posted:"Anything stiff enough to take an automatic crampon is going to be tough on your feet over long distances"

My feet are relatively avg. but my heels and ankles are narrow! I have friends with "Flintstone Feet" who could never wear the same brand boots

Long Mountaineering trips beat up your feet. Long trips with the wrong boots could create huge problems!

Are you solving for a "One Boot does All" choice or will you approach in a different boot?

Go to shop with an experienced "Fitter". If they don't start by looking at the shape of your foot you could be in the wrong place. You are about to spend a chunk of money
on gear and an expedition. You will have much to focus on and the blisters or the frostbite on your feet should not be one of them.

Review ALL the input in the replies on plastic vs doubles, socks, liners, sweaty feet solutions, etc and find the boot for YOUR FEET but first find the brand or models that FIT YOUR Feet.

Rent vs Buy : I suggest you find the right FIT regardless of your choice to rent or buy. Spend the winter and spring drilling down on your foot type and FIT.

Did I say FIT?

I did not see Salewa Pro Guide mentioned. Pro Guide and Pro Gaiter have their "FLEX" system. (similar to an AT boot's walk mode just in the sole not the cuff)
"Climb" lock the sole stiff and "Walk" allows a flexible sole. Don't know if it will "FIT" you or what your looking for but another option for you to consider.

The FIT ! (Just rounding the FIT count to an even 10)
Have a great trip and fun planning it!!
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby MyFeetHurt » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:56 am

Another vote for Baruntses, also from a Brian C. I used them on Aconcagua twice, and definitely needed them both times. I used them on Quandary in the winter, and while overkill, these boots are just ridiculously comfortable (the liners can be molded). I bought them as they are nearly a do it all boot for bigger peaks. Just fine for Rainier (so I have been told), perfect for the Andes, and even good enough for Denali with an overboot (again, so I have been told). Being able to sleep in your liners and keep them warm is a huge plus on bigger peaks and overnighters. I could easily walk all day in them, they are like a super cushy tennis shoe.

I have a pair of Primaloft insulated Scarpa Freneys, which work great for winter here in Colorado, but I haven't touched them since I bought the Baruntses. And oddly enough, I found that the Baruntses ice climb better than the Scarpa's as well, which I didn't expect at all.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby SnowAlien » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:37 am

jsdratm wrote:I signed up for a Rainier trip next summer with RMI and I was wondering what type of boots is best. They recommend either the La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX (Leather) or Koflach Arctis Expe (Plastic). I've noticed that the plastics are half the weight and almost $100 cheaper. I imagine that the plastic would insulate better and be more durable in the long term. Can anyone offer advice?

I wore La Sportiva Trangos on Rainier both times. First time - caught up in a blizzard at Camp Shurman for 3 days. Funny - everybody in our group complained about cold feet when we were sitting in a snow cave for a few hours (dug up and abandoned by a rescue operation). It didn't matter if they had Baruntses or Nepal Evos.
The second time, in September, we had cold nights but beautiful warm days (cold and very windy on the summit though). Two out of our team of 4 wore Trangos and were fine. I use Trangos in winter in Colorado as well - but yes, you sort of need to keep moving or toes will get cold. I am starting to look in the direction of Nepal Evos, just to have an extra margin of safety. Of course, Trangos is a very flexible and versatile boot and very comfortable for long distances, especially on snow. Last time I tried on Nepal Evos, they felt very bulky and inflexible, but since then I got some mileage hiking in ski boots, which are possibly even less flexible.
On a flip side, I cannot wear Trangos starting in May/June in Colorado - they are just too warm for me, and I hate clammy feet. I know some people who wear them in the summer and are comfortable. So it really depends on what you are comfortable with and what you are going to use the boot primarily for.
I think Plastics are overkill for Rainier, unless you consider it as an investment for future trips to bigger/colder mountains.

CO Native wrote: For Summer on Rainier they are plenty warm, my brother just wore the Trango's on Rainier and was totally happy with the warmth of those. (If your guide will let you, I'd go with the Trangos. They're still warm enough for Rainier in the summer and way more useful as an all-around boot.)


Dave B wrote:Honestly, I can't ever remember saying to myself: "Self, I wish your boots weren't so warm."

I've had that problem. Given, clammy feet are not as dangerous as frostbite, but it is very unpleasant.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby alpinenut » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:22 pm

Ranier is at a higher lattitude than Massive. You can't compare them. For example the weather/temp at 21k on Denali is much worse in general than the weather at 21k in the Himalaya. I've never been to any of those but seems useful to keep in mind. Isn't the summer snow line on Ranier at like 10k? Must be colder and windier than CO at 14k since all of our snow disappears.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby Gabriel » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

I've climbed Rainier in plastic double boots and uninsulated leather hiking boots during the summer climbing season. IMO the uninsulated hiking boots are the appropriate footwear for the DC or Emmons routes. You will see many people outfitted for the Alaska range or high Himalayas, not sure why though.

Happy climbing

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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby Tin Man » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:47 pm

All the concessions on Rainier recommend plastic boots. They do that so they don't have to deal with people with cold feet. My trip up the DC I had plastics, the guides all wore leathers. I wore leathers up the Emmons and it never became on issue. If your feet get cold, wear plastics.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby maverick_manley » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:02 am

Bean wrote:790g/boot (supposedly) in a size 27.5 (~US men's 10ish?). Better ankle articulation than any of the other boots being discussed, fore-aft anyway.

Ha! I was going to recommend a good ski boot as well, if you were a skier or planning to get into it. I've been less likely to have cold feet on ski trips with my plastic AT boots (Garmont G-Ride) than on climb-only trips with my leather boots (Vasque Super Alpinista or La Sportiva Makalu)... I've preferred using my AT boots (even if not skiing) on ice climbs / and approaches because I think they perform better on ice, flex just as well and are warmer than my Vasques or La Sportivas.

I've never used a plastic mountaineering boot but imagine it would provide similar warmth to a ski boot? I think a plastic boot might come handy on Rainier. We were there on a windy day in mid-August and were in full winter gear. It felt like a giant glaciated Mt. Sherman in late Winter. That said I used my Vasques on that trip (I bought it one size larger than my street shoe size and had Larry blow up the toe box) with toe warmers and that worked very well.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby jsdratm » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:55 am

Thanks for the input everyone, I think I'll go to Neptune and try some out since they have the different ones mentioned in this thread. I have always just worn my Salomon 4D GTX hiking boots during the summer and winter in Colorado and they were fine in single digit weather so I think the Baruntses or Nepals might work OK. I have trouble with my hands getting cold (resolved by getting the OR Alti mittens), but not my feet. Since it is a vendor guided trip, I doubt they would take us to the summit in horrific weather conditions anyway, so I'm not overly worried about freezing my toes off.
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Re: Mountaineering Boots for Rainier

Postby skik2000 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:46 pm

Are you climbing the DC?

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