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Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

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Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby jbirdTX » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:51 am

I'm going to be climbing Mt. Iztaccihuatl, and I need to choose boots and crampons. I have a pair of Vasque Wasatch GTX backpacking boots, but someone at REI told me they're not stiff enough to support crampons. These boots don't have a full-length shank. Vasque doesn't make my boots any more, but they're very similar to this:

http://www.vasque.com/USD/product/mens- ... elug-07160

REI recommended that I not use the Vasque boots and instead buy the Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots and fit them with C.A.M.P USA Stalker universal crampons.

http://www.rei.com/product/693828/asolo ... boots-mens

http://www.rei.com/product/798361/camp- ... l-crampons

I'd like to avoid buying new boots if possible. If I do buy boots, I's prefer to buy something that can also be used for general backpacking instead of something that's exclusively for alpine mountaineering because I live in Texas. I am willing to sacrifice some performance for versatility as long as it isn't downright dangerous.

Anyone have experience with using crampons on leather backpacking boots? If so, what do you think about the Vasque or Asolo boots that I'm considering using? What boots would you use instead? At what gradient does snowy / glacial terrain become too steep for heavy backpacking boots with crampons?
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby herdbull » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:41 pm

you probably don't want to hear it but another pair of boots is probably something you should get. When I climbed Orizaba I bouht a pair of La Sportiva Nepals. Probably a little overkill but they made the trip much nicer as they are a bit warmer. It will be chilly so don't under estimate the need for some insulation. So if your feet get cold I recommend these.

If you can handle colder weather just fine La Sportiva Trango S EVO's are a super choice. Lots of places running them on sale right now. I use my Trangos here in the states when carrying bigger loads in the summer or needing a crampon compatible boot. There a tad bit warm for summer 14er climbing but it beats the alternative. Plus they are waterproof.

http://www.usoutdoor.com/la-sportiva/la ... 7AodJmAAEA
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby jbirdTX » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:21 am

Herdbull, thanks for taking time to comment. I've never owned a pair of mountaineering boots like these. We're going to start in a tropical climate, hike 12 miles to gain 6,000 feet of elevation and summit at 17,158 feet. Would these be suitable for the whole trek or would I need to bring a second, lighter pair of boots?
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby splattski » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:30 pm

The ideal boot choice depends so much on conditions. Your question might instead be: How 'prepared' do I want to be for the worst conditions? Are you willing to skip the summit because your footgear is inadequate?

The day we were on Izta I wore a t-shirt on the summit. We only needed crampons for about 100 feet, and most of the climb was on dry ground. You would have been fine in light hikers like those you own, and I have used crampons on boots like the ones you own.
On Orizaba a couple days later, it was quite cold up high and we were on 40° snow for a few hours. It was nice to have warmer, stiffer boots. I wore some leather backpacking boots similar to the Asolos. My daughter wore plastics.

Here's my trip report with pics:
http://www.splattski.com/2008/mexico/day_3.html
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby herdbull » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:29 pm

the Trangos are a very light mountaineering boot and it may even be hard to call them a mountaineering boot. But you'll be fine in them at lower elevations. The Nepals might be overkill for Izta but were perfect for Orizaba. You said Mexican volcanoe(s) so I wasn't sure exactly where and how many. I think heading up Orizaba with Trangos might give one chilly feet in the early am ascent. Especially when you hit the glacier efore sunrise.

What are your plans after these? If you were to continue on in the future and do more winter climbing or mountaineering type of climbs I would also update the crampons. Shop around and you can get a much better pair that is more suitable to actual ice/glacier climbing for only $25-$30 more. Then your set for the future.

As stated already I would hate to miss a summit because of gear and footwear is a very important piece of gear.
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby jbirdTX » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:01 am

Right now the plan for this trip is just to do Izta. We've thrown the idea around to do Orizaba instead, or maybe to do both. Future trips might be to Aconcagua and Rainier. I only get to do a big trip like this maybe once a year, and the rest of my hiking and climbing is mostly in Texas. I'm trying to figure out if I will be leaving the mountaineering boots in my closet for most of every year. I agree that it would be bad to miss a summit because of poor footwear.
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby mtnjim » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:55 pm

We're going to start in a tropical climate, hike 12 miles to gain 6,000 feet of elevation and summit at 17,158 feet.[/quote]

What route will you be doing? There's nothing tropical about an early morning start from La Joya or San Rafael-Dos Aguas. Either will be chilly in the morning and either can be hot with the sun up or cool, maybe cold if cloudy. Given your plans, I don't see a need for heavier boots. I've done both Izta and Orizaba in trail runners with Kahtoola KTS steel crampons. I didn't need the crampons at all on 2 ascents of Izta but I think it would be silly not to have them along in case it's icy. I haven't done the Ayoloca route, but looked down it and it's not that steep. Anything with front points would be plenty. I have used BD Contact strap crampons on my trail runners so something like the Camp ones will work with pretty much anything.

Understand, I'm not advising running shoes, just using it as perspective. Izta climbs were both in Novembers, Orizaba 3 times over a couple of weeks in April. I found Orizaba to be much colder and windier than Izta.
My advice would be to wait til you're more sure of your future plans, then invest in a mountaineering boot that'll be suitable for your next projects.

JimS
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby jbirdTX » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:31 pm

Thanks, Mtnjim. On Izta, we'll be taking the route from San Rafael, and we'll probably go in November. From what I've read, the climb up the glacier is at about a 30 degree incline. Have you been up that route?
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Re: Boots & Crampons for Mexico Volcanoes

Postby mtnjim » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:17 pm

Not all the way. I've done the Iztaccihuatl 4000 25k race a couple of times. It leaves Dos Aguas and goes to about 15200 at Chalchopan. The race is October 26 this year and I haven't decided to go yet.

The route from La Joya goes on the ridge just above the glacier, though, so I've looked down it. Not that long anymore and not too steep at all. Might want the front points depending on how it's melted out but I think I would have been ok with the Kahtoolas.

Orizaba's altitude and glacier, giving it a bit more of a big mountain feel, are the reasons to go there. I really enjoyed Izta so much more. For me, it's just a much more enjoyable and scenic climb.
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