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First Boots

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Re: First Boots

Postby nartreb » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:06 pm

JHH, I don't follow gear trends at all so you surely know the models better. I was pointing out that something like this would get you up Baldy any time of year, for a lot cheaper than any Trango, and more comfortably too. It's not ideal if you're actually expecting hard neve or ice, so I agree that for a taller peak like Shasta a stiffer boot is a good idea, but I got the impression that wasn't in the offing this winter.

On to Stockwell's latest question: if your boots are comfortable you don't need approach shoes. Consider some kind of sandal for airing your feet out in camp on warm days and/or for wading deep streams, as long as the sandals are *light*. Boots are bulky as well as heavy; carrying them is almost as big a pain as wearing them. Don't multiply your footwear without a good reason. ("Oh, I better bring the double plastics in case there's a freak cold front in southern California...")

(Do air out your feet whenever you stop to rest, and carry extra socks to change into whenever your feet feel clammy. You'll be glad you did.)
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Re: First Boots

Postby JHH60 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:03 pm

Nartreb - I agree with all your points.

For the OP - you might want to check out Cosley and Houston's book "Alpine Climbing - Techniques to Take you Higher". It's got good tips in many areas and in particular talks about footwear selection in alpine scenarios, and uses as examples some climbs you are thinking about (e.g., Whitney in winter).

Note that if you decide on Trango Evo S you can use hybrid crampons on them(a.k.a. "newmatic," "leverlock," etc.). While strap on crampons certainly work, hybrid crampons are a lot easier and faster to put on securely, especially with gloves or when the straps are frozen.
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Re: First Boots

Postby Stockwell » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:28 pm

@ Nartreb and JHH - Nartreb I have similar boots to those now, that would be excellent if I could use them or possibly buy a more similar pair to those. That was a nice pointer about hybrid crampons as well JHH I didn't really know the difference. My question is would strap on or hybrid crampons work on a boot like the one Nartreb pointed out? If not I'll buy the Trangos from REI or if anyone has a newer pair on here as I do want to learn some crampon techniques here in SoCal before I attempt a spring climb in the Sierras or Shasta.
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Re: First Boots

Postby nartreb » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:40 pm

Stockwell, the advantage of strap-on crampons is that they'll fit any boot. (The disadvantage is that you spend more time tightening the straps if you want to get a really good fit that won't work itself loose. Imagine strapping yourself onto a pair of skis, vs step-in bindings.)

It's harder to get a good crampon fit with leather workboots, for a few reasons:
1) they don't have any built-in welts designed for hybrid or step-in crampons. If you're lucky, the gap between the sole and the leather will be enough to hold a hybrid crampon. (But if the boots aren't properly sewn and glued, you may end up prying the sole right off.)
2) The soles flex. This makes them comfortable for walking, but it also means that a step-in crampon will pop right off under stress. A hybrid probably will too, I haven't tried it.
3) The soles aren't quite the "right" shape. In particular, the soles tend to be wider than the boot itself, which most crampons aren't really designed for. If your crampon has metal attachment points, you may have to bend them a little for the best fit.

In short, workboots ==> strap-on crampons. In my experience, if I'm not seeking out ice, the light weight and comfort of the workboots are well worth the infrequent hassle of tightening straps when I need crampons. (If conditions are slippery but not very steep or icy, I wear Katoohla MicroSpikes, which are no hassle at all, but I usually carry crampons in my pack just in case.)

In conditions where you need crampons, hybrids or step-ins are convenient and secure - but require a stiffer, heavier boot. It's a pick-your-poison kind of situation. If you'd said you want to go ice climbing soon, I'd tell you to start with Trangos and hybrids and get used to a less comfortable boot. But it sounds like you're basically hiking, just in winter (or what Californians call winter). For that, I'd stick with comfortable boots as long as possible. Get out there and practice your self-arrest technique and your winter awareness generally (like recognizing early signs of frostbite and hypothermia), and don't worry too much about your boots.
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Re: First Boots

Postby dennish » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:02 pm

What I've found with boots is it doesn't matter what your boot size is but what boot your trying on. You can either go to a mountaineering store and try them on or you can order several sizes and walk around your house. You may find that nothing fits like a dream but with shims or surefeet insoles your feet will be happy enough. Since you are lucky with narrow feet you should have no problem with Italian boots. Most bookmakers post a way to tell your size by their standards on their website or you can fax them a outline of your foot.
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