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Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

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Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby climbxclimb » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:54 am

Does anybody have have experience in climbing with neoprene socks in cold weather?
I would like to use a pair of Hydroskin socks with a pair of liner underneath them. but no thick sock. What do you think.
I skied with this system and I was fine but the day was not cold and skiing boots are much warmer that ice climbing boots...

Thanks
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Re: Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby DanTheMan » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:39 pm

I haven't tried, but make sure to size them large. Paddling socks are sized so that they are tight and squeeze out water. Tight socks will really hurt your circulation. Also, Andy Kirkpatrick recommends rubbing your feet down with anti-perspirant at the start of every day if you use a vapour barrier.
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Re: Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby MoapaPk » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:49 pm

Depends on what you mean by "cold." I always carry a pair in transitional times in our local high mountains, when there is still a lot of snow, but I want to wear lighter boots for the rock. Mine are just size large, the same size as my normal socks.
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Re: Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby asmrz » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:45 pm

Do your feet perspire?

Neoprene, and almost all vapor barriers block perspiration from escaping. Your feet generally stay warm while you are moving, but when you stop, your feet (wet by now) get reaaaaally cold. Not very good for multi-day trips or trips where changing of socks is nearly impossible like steep alpine faces etc. Day trips are OK. On multi-day trips, make sure you remove the vapor barrier every evening and change your socks. If you cannot do that easily every day, foot problems will develop in fairly short time. The recommendation to use anti perspirant is a good one, just make sure it is in powder form for cold weather use, sprays and creams freeze.

Some people like VBL systems, some people hate them, rather personal choice. If by climbing, you mean cold weather rock in alpine terrain (?), my experience is that the more you stuff into your boots, the less feeling you have in your feet and again, some love it and some hate it.
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Re: Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby MoapaPk » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:55 pm

A few more comments on the perspiration issue. I consider neoprene socks to be a "one day" solution as well; they are nearly impossible to dry out in cold weather, so you really need a new pair for each day of a trip. Supposedly, your feet stop sweating when the humidity reaches 100%, but the neo socks will be quite wet when you take them off, and your feet will look like they have been in the bath all day. However, that may be an advantage: the sweat didn't go into your boots.

Some people use really thin neo socks -- 0.5 mm with a Ti coating to reflect heat. I use 1mm socks with no coating, the same ones I wear in canyoneering boots. They are fairly compact. The Chief mentioned that he wears nylon liners with the 0.5 mm socks.
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Re: Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby asmrz » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:38 pm

Please don't laugh, but, I spent years climbing in alpine terrain. Sometimes snow was present (Sierra, Tetons, Winds) and sometimes we only had thin approach shoes or summer boots. Often when we encountered snow, our feet got wet and cold. Some years into this I discovered that carrying two 1 gallon zip lock bags in my first aid kit solved the problem. When we got into wet snow, I would just wrap my feet in the nylon bags (my foot size is 9.5), stuff them into shoes/light boots and kept going. I remember one winter ascent in the Sierra, where we brough just light hikers on the route (we skied in and thought we would rap the route) and were forced to descend in those light hikers in knee deep snow. Those bags saved my toes. Since then, my (tiny) first aid kit contain two of these bags. Try it, it works and the (unused) bag can double as a container to catch water from thin drips in rocks.
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Re: Neoprene socks for climbing in cold weather

Postby MoapaPk » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:07 pm

We used bread bags, but they always seemed to wear through. I guess it would be best if you could "sandwich" them between pairs of socks.
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