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Mt. Witney winter footwear

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Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:46 am

Hi everyone,

I am just getting into this sport and I have really caught the bug. I have been looking into a boot that will hold up to the test of Mt. Whitney mountaineer's route in the winter (Dec-Mar). I am wondering if the Scarpa Liskamm or Fuego will be warm enough for this trek. I know they are not insulated, but I have read that they are somewhat warm. It is hard for me to justify spending $350-$450 dollars for a pair of boots that I my only use for one year on a Marine's salary. At least I can use these boots when I get out of the Marine Corps and pursue a forestry job. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby drpw » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:07 am

yes they will work. get gaiters too.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby JHH60 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:07 pm

I've owned a couple of pairs of Scarpas including my first pair of leather mountaineering boots, that I bought when I was 17, lasted through several resoles, and that I was still occasionally using 25 years after I bought them. They are high quality boots and the company stands behind their products. That said, while the Liskamms look like they would be great for three season mountaineering in the Sierra, your feet may suffer in the winter unless conditions are unusually warm and dry. If you can't afford to buy a pair of insulated mountaineering boots now you can rent something warmer (e.g., Wilson's in Bishop rents Scarpa Invernos) for specific climbs.
Last edited by JHH60 on Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Joseph Bullough » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:37 pm

I don't mean to sound skeptical, but with all due respect, if you are just getting in to mountaineering, then it seems the Whitney Mountaineers Route in Winter may be a bit ambitious. There are many other lesser routes to familiarize yourself with gear, before moving on to more committing routes like the MR.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:39 pm

Joseph Bullough wrote:I don't mean to sound skeptical, but with all due respect, if you are just getting in to mountaineering, then it seems the Whitney Mountaineers Route in Winter may be a bit ambitious. There are many other lesser routes to familiarize yourself with gear, before moving on to more committing routes like the MR.


I know it does seem ambitious, but from what I've seen ambition is what makes the great climbers great. I will be doing Mt. San Antonio, and San Jacinto first before attempting Whitney's MR. I am a firefighter in the Marine Corps and have been through high angles rescue courses and have rock climbing experience, so I am quite familiar with how to use most of the gear. I also grew up in the Green Mountains of Vermont, not that they are high but they are rugged and cold. I hike often and miss the snow, so in SoCal this might be one of my only chances to see it.....wish me luck I guess.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby kevin trieu » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:06 am

how about an old pair of Koflach Expe or Degree? i bet you can find a used one for less than $100. and if your feet are 10.5, you can borrow mine.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:02 am

kevin trieu wrote:how about an old pair of Koflach Expe or Degree? i bet you can find a used one for less than $100. and if your feet are 10.5, you can borrow mine.


Kevin,

I appreciate the generous offer, unfortunately I'm a 9. I will keep looking for a good deal, I'm sure eventually something will come my way. I am wondering if non insulated books will be sufficient during winter if I bring an over boot, or should I go full in on a pair of Mount Blancs or Lhotses....something in those lines. I can get a brad new pair of Scarpa Invernos for $201 dollars, but haven't heard the greatest when it comes to comfort in those.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby kevin trieu » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:36 am

overboots are clumsy. you can get nice warm days on Whitney or really cold nasty days. check the forecast before you go. but things change real quick up high which is why most people go with beefier boots than needed. the problem with cheap boots is not that they are not warm enough for the day but they freeze overnight and you are going to be in a world of hurt putting them on in the morning. with the double boots, the liner can be removed and thrown in your sleeping bag to dry out overnight. your solution might be to dayhike Whitney. i usually go with the best boots money can buy because i'm a sissy.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby JHH60 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:26 am

+1 to what Kevin said. Several years ago I took a six day alpine ice climbing class on Mt. Baker with a guy who used Salomon leather boots and overboots. We were on snow and glacier for most of the time so he was actually hiking and climbing in crampons (strapped on the overboots) and got away with it, but the overboots would have been a problem if he'd had to spend any time on rock. My feet were more comfortable and ice climbing was easier in my double boots (Scarpa Omegas). And while he had to put his sweat-dampened boots in the bottom of his sleeping bag every night to keep them from freezing, I just put my liners in mine (they were mostly dry anyway since they're closed cell foam).

Which brings me to another suggestion - if you like the Scarpa fit you might try to find a pair of Omegas. My Omegas are actually lighter than my insulated leather boots (Nepal Evos) and are pretty comfortable and nimble for a plastic boot. You can sometimes find them cheap online.

Make sure whatever you get fits well. A great deal on a boot isn't worth it if the boot doesn't fit. Andy Kirkpatrick has a good article on mountain boot selection:

http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/getting_the_right_mountain_boots
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:06 am

JHH60 wrote:+1 to what Kevin said. Several years ago I took a six day alpine ice climbing class on Mt. Baker with a guy who used Salomon leather boots and overboots. We were on snow and glacier for most of the time so he was actually hiking and climbing in crampons (strapped on the overboots) and got away with it, but the overboots would have been a problem if he'd had to spend any time on rock. My feet were more comfortable and ice climbing was easier in my double boots (Scarpa Omegas). And while he had to put his sweat-dampened boots in the bottom of his sleeping bag every night to keep them from freezing, I just put my liners in mine (they were mostly dry anyway since they're closed cell foam).

Which brings me to another suggestion - if you like the Scarpa fit you might try to find a pair of Omegas. My Omegas are actually lighter than my insulated leather boots (Nepal Evos) and are pretty comfortable and nimble for a plastic boot. You can sometimes find them cheap online.

Make sure whatever you get fits well. A great deal on a boot isn't worth it if the boot doesn't fit. Andy Kirkpatrick has a good article on mountain boot selection:

http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/getting_the_right_mountain_boots


Wow,

Thanks a lot, that was some of the best info I've gotten yet (I do appreciate all the other help) Basically what I gathered from that was a good plastic double would probably suit me best. As someone who will probably only be able to do 3-5 winter climbs a year and only have one winter boot. Plastic seems more versatile and more durable than leather and it sounds like people having problems with them are not the boot's fault. I do think if they fit right I may steer towards a Koflach degre because I can get them somewhat reasonable. Now to find a place in SoCal that I can try them on may be the biggest battle.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby JHH60 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:34 am

At the risk of sounding confusing - I wouldn't say a plastic boot is a better choice in general. Plastic is best for longer climbs in winter conditions or any climbs in very cold places (arctic or really high altitude). But it's not the best choice for most climbs in the continental US.

If you're specifically looking for a boot for a multi-day winter climb of Whitney then plastic boots are a conservative choice since they will almost certainly keep you warm enough and can be cheaper than leather boots of equivalent warmth. On the other hand good, insulated leather boots like the Sportiva Nepal Evo, or Scarpa Mont Blanc, will be warm enough for a one day ascent of Whitney or pretty much any other peak in the lower 48. If you're careful to keep the snow out of them and dry them out at night, good insulated leather boots should be OK for winter trips of several days duration. They will also be a much better choice than plastic for climbs in the other three seasons (and really light uninsulated boots, or even approach shoes, are an even better choice for most summer rock climbs in the Sierra). Plastics are idiot proof in winter, as the shells stay dry and it's relatively easy to keep the liners warm and dry enough to keep your feet warm even in cold or sloppy wet snow conditions.

Leather boots are usually lighter, less bulky, more comfortable and easier to climb in than plastic, though some plastic boots are comparable to leather and often warmer for their weight. The new hybrid boots (e.g., La Sportiva Spantik and Baruntse or Scarpa Phanton) are supposed to be as comfortable as leather and much warmer, but are really expensive and probably not as durable as leather.

In an ideal world you'd have multiple boots for multiple different objectives - unfortunately the best choice for a fast ascent on rock in summer is not going to be the best choice for a multiday snow climb in winter.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:21 am

I have my normal hiking boots for the summer which are the Wellco hybrid hikers. They are designed for military tasks, but are gortex and come in at a super light 27oz. They are not crampon ready, but I can use strap ons and stay water free with a good sock and be fine in the summer. I am really looking for a winter specific boot that I can beat up and stay warm no matter what. I am a big lover of extreme cold so that is what I am targeting. I have no problems wearing a normal hiking shoe for the approaches if plastic is the route I go. It seems like buying the gear is harder than actually climbing the mountains.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby JHH60 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:54 pm

If you have a summer boot you're happy with and want something for serious cold and snow for a reasonable price then plastics are a probably your best choice. Marmot Mountain Works looks like they still have some older Koflach Degres on sale for $169 and Scarpa Invernos for $179. These probably have the older liner (not the newer, warmer "high altitude" liner that comes with the latest Inverno) but you can put in the new liner, or an aftermarket Intuition liner, if you decide to climb Denali or in the Himalaya or whatever. I bought my
Omegas there - they now have them on sale for $229.

http://www.marmotmountain.com/MMWmain.asp?Option=SubCatList&Category=Hiking%2FClimbing+Boots&SubCat=Plastic+Mountaineering+Boots&CatCode=boots
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:22 am

Thanks for the link. Some great prices there, unfortunately they dont have anything close to my size. :( I'll keep looking.
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Re: Mt. Witney winter footwear

Postby Tinman27 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:37 pm

I tried on the Scarpa Invernos last night and I'm not sure this is my boot. After wearing a 9.5 with a pair of lighter darn tough wool under a pair of heavier omni wools for twenty minutes and playing on a plastic rock, my toes felt pretty uncomfortable but not painful. In the 9.5 my ankles felt a little tight too. I tried on a pair of 10 and my foot felt a little lose. Not very lose but there was some heel movement. I am wondering if with a 9.5 in the Koflachs, my toes will have a little bit more room.
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