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Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

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Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby mtelephant » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:41 am

Summit Posters:

I just bought a pair of Sportiva Trango Alp GTX for climbs in the Cascades - Rainier, Shasta, Adams, Baker - and other stuff around the PNW. I will only be climbing the higher peaks during the warmest time of year. Training, day hikes, etc in winter.

After reading this thread (rainier-gear-t56422-45.html) I am little concerned they are not designed for automatic crampons; all the boots listed in the early posts take automatic or "pro" style. Should I be looking for boots that take automatic crampons?

When I shopped I told them exactly what mountains I was doing and had already done, and they directed me towards all semi-auto boots. I asked about pro boots and I was told that was unnecessary. I also told them money was not an issue. I said I wanted the right boots for the job and they needed to fit correctly.

I have 48 hours to make a return so help me out!!

Best,
mtelephant

P.S. I usually post here first but I am an idiot.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:29 am

i guess i'll post just because nobody else has.. im sort of a dimwit when it comes to all these fancy pieces of gear, but it sounds to me like you're not going to have a problem. as far as i know, you have basically two types of alpine mountaineering crampons- strap-ins, and step-ins... if your boot will take any step-ins, it should take ALL step-ins (barring GSB styles or other exotic shit)... the boot you listed should take a BD "pro" strap just fine.

i just picked up a pair of pro-strapped cyborgs, and i'm personally not impressed so far... but they're supposedly the cats meow. hopefully i just need to learn how to use them
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby mtelephant » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:42 am

There are three basic types of crampons. Two are not step in. My boots accept the non-step-in types.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:42 am

mtelephant wrote:There are three basic types of crampons. Two are not step in. My boots accept the non-step-in types.


two ARE step-in, one is strap in. your boot will take what you're calling a "semi-automatic" step-in crampon just fine, and that's what you want.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby SJ » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:31 pm

The boots you bought will accept either strap-on or hybrid (newmatic) crampons. Automatics will not work with this boot since there is no welt on the toe.

You'll be fine with a pair of newmatic crampons, but I'd return them and get a pair of Nepals if money is no option as you stated in your post. Heavier boot, but will serve you better on those mountains IMO.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby mtelephant » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:04 pm

Thanks for the replies. I understand which crampons my boots take - maybe using different terms but I get it; they DO NOT take crampons for vertical ice - the ones I understand to be called "automatic."

If I need automatic crampons then I need different boots. The semi-automatic (which I calling NOT step-in but apparently the heel welt makes them step-in) are not designed for vertical ice. And maybe then these are the wrong boots in general. I want boots I can all the big Cascade peaks in late spring and summer.

So here is the deal:

I have climbed before and used rental boots. They have never fit well. Every time I explain to the guides and the store doing the outfitting (usually suggested by the guides and with the guides there because we are going out mountaineering later that day) simply get annoyed when I say "These boots do not fit correctly. I will have blisters in an hour and this 4 day trip is going to be miserable." After trying on 8 pairs of boots I 'settle' on something and spend the whole trip in double plastics that are poorly fit with blisters and general discomfort. I am sick of it, so I want my own boots.

So I tell all of this to two different stores (supposedly the two "best" stores in Seattle). I get no help at one (except that I need to wear superfeet); they never even tried to size me or anything. They just grabbed a few pairs they had in stock in my street shoe size and walked away. Came back in a bit and asked which ones I liked. I told them, "I have no idea. I need help. How should they fit? What kind of boots do I need for the mountains I want to climb?" Response, "Are you using superfeet?. You need more arch support..." And I got a demonstration of super feet with the superfeet skeleton foot, etc. But no actual help with fitting a pair of boots, so I left.

The second store tried really hard to get me into boots that fit (different socks, liners, insoles, etc. They did a great job with customer service) but the information I got was all over the place. One guy said I could use boots as light as a Salewa Rapace, while another said the Trango Alp GTX was the minimal boot for the job. After over an hour I was sick of trying on boots so I got the Trango Alp GTX. Now it seems like I should have a different boot - and in particular one that takes automatic crampons.

I am going to return my Trango Alp GTX today and start over.

Please help me.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby SJ » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:29 pm

I can't help you with the boot fitting problem, but I can tell you that you don't need a boot that fits automatic crampons. I climb vertical water ice, alpine ice and glaciers with newmatic crampons and they work great. The difference between automatics and newmatics is really just personal preference.

That said, most insulated leather mountaineering boots will have front and rear welts that accept automatic crampons if that's what you've got your heart set on.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby mtelephant » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:47 pm

SJ wrote:I can't help you with the boot fitting problem, but I can tell you that you don't need a boot that fits automatic crampons. I climb vertical water ice, alpine ice and glaciers with newmatic crampons and they work great. The difference between automatics and newmatics is really just personal preference.

That said, most insulated leather mountaineering boots will have front and rear welts that accept automatic crampons if that's what you've got your heart set on.


What boots are you using with your semi-automatic crampons? Could you use automatics if you wanted to?

I guess I am worried that boots that do not accept automatic crampons are not boots designed for the mountains I want to climb, i.e. boots that do not accept automatic crampons are not really the kind of boots I want to take up Rainier and Shasta. That is the impression I am getting from reading through threads here - Trango Alp GTX is not a suggested boot. So it is not about the crampon type, per se.

So are boots that take automatic crampons in some other way (besides the front welt) different and more appropriate for bigger peaks of the Cascades (late spring and summer)?
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby SJ » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:26 pm

I wear LS Nepal Evo's with Grivel G12 crampons for winter/spring Sierra climbing. Yes, they do accept automatics. Generally boots that don't have a front welt are lighter weight '3-season' boots.

Personally I would not be on Rainier with anything lighter than a Nepal style boot, no matter the time of year.

Check out the LS Nepal Evo, Lowa Mountain Expert or Scarpa Mont Blanc. These will all fit you different depending on the shape of your foot, but its a good place to start. I've been on a few of those mountains that you mentioned, and I think this is more the weight of boot that you're looking for.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:23 pm

sounds like you probably want two set, or at least two boots... trying to get one boot to do everything will end up doing nothing particularly well. personally, i have a pair of light-weight 3-season leathers for warmer and/or day trips, and a pair of plastics for longer and/or colder/higher climbs. i've done 900' of steep alpine ice in the leathers, and was quite comfortable (i'm also a rock climber, though- calves of steel).

food for thought.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby mfox79 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:42 am

If you like the boots then why not buy a pair of hybrid croampons like the grivel g12's or BD sabertooths? I have a pair of asolo Mountainieering boots that don't have a toe welt and have used those with my grivel G-12's on everything from low anglle snow to WI-4 with no issuues. personally I don't see the point in automatic crampons for any of the mountains you listed. I think the fit of the boot is more important. what will matter the most? a few extra minutes lashing straps or a few extra minutes patching blisters that could cost you your summit. hope that helps
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby mtelephant » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:48 am

mfox79 wrote:If you like the boots then why not buy a pair of hybrid croampons like the grivel g12's or BD sabertooths? I have a pair of asolo Mountainieering boots that don't have a toe welt and have used those with my grivel G-12's on everything from low anglle snow to WI-4 with no issuues. personally I don't see the point in automatic crampons for any of the mountains you listed. I think the fit of the boot is more important. what will matter the most? a few extra minutes lashing straps or a few extra minutes patching blisters that could cost you your summit. hope that helps


I am not worried about the speed of getting crampons on or if semi-auto stay on the boot. I would also never choose a boot that did not fit well; that is why I am buying boots - rental boots have killed the fun on my climbs so far.

The reason I am asking is that lighter weight boots go hand-in-hand with no front welt. The boots suggested at the store were all lighter weight 3-season boots. I like my toes - all ten of them. If these are the "minimum" requirement for the mountains I want to do then they are probably not for me. I wanted to go with a step down from double plastic - just one step down though.

My question is more about the fact that boots that accept automatic crampons seem to be in "another class" and it is that class of boot that folks are suggesting for Rainier. I have had people tell I /need/ double plastics for Rainier and Shasta in July and August. I was hoping to find a high quality boot that would serve me well that was not double plastic.

I just want a pair of boots that fits and that are good for climbing Rainier, Baker, Adams, Hood, and Shasta next year. I want to get them soon so I can do day hikes at my local mountains throughout the year to get in shape and break my boots in. I want to know I have good feet (and a pack that fits well when loaded) when the season hits next spring. I wish it were easier to choose and find a pair that fits.

I think I need to start a thread on boot fit. That may be where I need some help at this point.

Thanks for all your help.

Over and out,
mtelephant
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby bird » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:52 pm

Boots look great for what you are describing. They'll take these http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en ... th-crampon no problem (the ones on the top/right).
If you get into winter and/or climbing, you'll need another pair so start with these. I think you'll be glad you did.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:14 pm

obviously opinions are gonna vary like crazy, but i'd be surprised if anyone who knew what he was talking about said you NEED plastiques for shasta and rainier in the summer... i'll be climbing shasta in a couple weeks, and i fully intend to wear my 3-season leathers. a buddy of mine just climbed rainier this week in beat up old leather lowa hiking boots.
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Re: Did I Buy the Wrong Boots?

Postby Franky » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:14 pm

you can climb vertical water ice with a semi-auto crampon, so if that is your only concern, then it is unfounded.

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en ... g-crampon/

notice that they make the cyborg in a semi-auto style...

However, if you are ever climbing technical terrain on a big mountain, I bet you will want a warmer boot. even in the lower 48, even in california! fine for walks in the snow though.
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