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Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

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Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:16 pm

Recently I saw several Merrill winter boots offered by MEC, e.g.:
http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Footwear/ ... s-mens.jsp

OK, I like the lower cost, lower-weight, warmth-orientation of the boots... but I want boots that are stiff enough to take strap-on crampons for ~45 degrees slopes. At least the equivalent of a half-shank (preferably 3/4 shank), whether it be provided by steel or stiff nylon. Does such a boot exist?
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby peninsula » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:51 pm

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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby j4ever » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:03 am

here is what a couple of good folks on SP recomeneded to me,so i gave them a try and they have been great so far,with a sock liner and heavy sock i have been down to temps of 20-25 and toes got slighlty cold but nothing bad,they have a 3/4 shank i have been on about 45-50 degree angles with them,they could use a little more ankle support,they are great to hike in,i have had no blisters

http://www.rei.com/product/721444/la-sp ... boots-mens
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby spiritualspatula » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:00 pm

I actually own almost the same thing as those- I've got the warmer version, http://www.merrell.com/CA/en-CA/Product.mvc.aspx/19634W/41265/Womens/Chameleon-Thermo-8-Waterproof-Synthetic
I'll check to see how stiff they are, though I've never tried crampons on them as I only have step-in. I use those boots for snowshoeing and general winter hiking if I think it'll be really cold. I honestly get by fine most of the time here in Colorado in winter with my Scarpa Mantas (though I'm looking to get some Summits on closeout for a bit more warmth... pushing the Mantas as far as I can already).
Anyway- thoughts on the Merrels-
They're comfortable right out of the box and work great for tooling around in the snow in general. Grip on snow/ice is is very good. Rubber is pretty soft, so I don't think they'd wear well on lots of rock. Also, the synthetic leather is way more fragile than I would have liked and would have thought. I've got some "dings" in it where something abrasive sorta took a chunk out. They Thermo 8's are also SUPER warm, often more than I need. Offhand, they don't feel like I'd enjoy kick stepping up things.
Lastly, I'm not super impressed with Merrel's quality. These have held up fine, but I had another pair of their shoes that has gone to total shit under light to moderate use as an everyday shoe, which makes me not as confident when I'm sporting them in the backcountry.
They're not bad, and they hold up fine with snow, but rock might eat them up.
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby DanTheMan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:56 pm

Have you considered using flexible crampons or instep crampons? I went to the Bugaboos this summer and just strapped the front half of my Sabertooths onto the sole of some trail shoes with 1/2" webbing. It worked satisfactorily on the steeper snow slopes and saved me the weight of lugging around a full pair of crampons and steel shanked boots on every climb.
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:38 pm

I would never use instep crampons for anything above a modest slope or icy trail (I had pairs years back). I keep seeing recommendation for flexible crampons as a solution to soft soles-- I wish I could see more feedback on those.
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby DanTheMan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:12 pm

MoapaPk wrote:I would never use instep crampons for anything above a modest slope or icy trail (I had pairs years back). I keep seeing recommendation for flexible crampons as a solution to soft soles-- I wish I could see more feedback on those.


Here is the col we were going up and down most days. I think it's about 45 deg. The Sabertooth fronts actually give you 10 points, so a bit more traction than insteps maybe.

Image
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby j4ever » Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:40 am

^^^^ damn wish i was going with ya,lol
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby Autoxfil » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:07 am

MoapaPk wrote:Recently I saw several Merrill winter boots offered by MEC, e.g.:
http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Footwear/ ... s-mens.jsp

OK, I like the lower cost, lower-weight, warmth-orientation of the boots... but I want boots that are stiff enough to take strap-on crampons for ~45 degrees slopes. At least the equivalent of a half-shank (preferably 3/4 shank), whether it be provided by steel or stiff nylon. Does such a boot exist?



What kind of distance are you covering? You can make anything work for short stretches, but I messed around with a bunch of lightweight boots/shoes and found that after just a few miles in crampons they were very painful. The Trango Evo S is awfully light and versatile, so I now have given up on that whole mid-range and just own sneakers and the Trangos. They seem to be about as light as you can go and still wear crampons comfortably for long period of time.
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby spiritualspatula » Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:58 am

I checked how stiff mine were- Some good flex in the toe/forefoot but pretty rigid from the ball of the foot back. Mine isn't the current model, and I don't recall what the info on the shank was for that year. I wouldn't be surprised if they could accept strapons.
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby Dow Williams » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:30 pm

I use three sets of boots and crampons. A light set. An all alpine day set. Waterfall Ice.

For what I think you are wanting...and what I actually use for the Bugs, i.e. that photo above, is the Garmont Vetta Lite with aluminum strap on crampons. The lightest and most dependable crampon of that group is the Grivel Air Tech Light (alloy). This is the combo I use when I have ice/snow approaches and descents to and off of technical rock routes...meaning I have to carry my boots and crampons. Bottom line, a fast moving and comfortable set up. My La Sportiva S's are way too big to haul off my climbing harness. The boots you show in the link don't look to have a hard enough sole to me, but I have not handled them. Good Luck.
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Re: Light, warm boots with reasonable stiff soles

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:08 am

I have too many boot/crampon combos! I have a very stiff pair of insulated alpine boots (a bit over 4 lbs). I have 4 pairs of crampons (including a pair made in 1969 and kept for sentimental reasons only), including a CAMP Al pair with a stiff center bar. I've tried to buy a flexible center bar, but such bars are rarely offered, and model-specific.

I tried the light La Sportivas, but for some reason they cramped my toes. In fact I liked them the most of all the "alpine" boots that I tried. I was about to buy them through REI, just when REI stopped selling them. I've had some non-insulated alpine-type boots, and my feet got very, very cold when on snow for a long time.

Some of the most comfortable cold-weather boots I've used are well-insulated, light (<3lbs), mainly fabric, and cheap. But over the years-- perhaps as a concession to snow-shoers-- such boots have gotten very soft soles, to a point where I have "walked out" of crampons while wearing said boots.

One of the most interesting combos that I tried: a pair of stiff-soled, mad rock approach shoes with sticky rubber... and 3mm neoprene socks. If they didn't turn my toes to hamburger, I'd use them more often.

Still searching. The local REI staffers know me as the guy who comes in and furiously flexes every pair of cheap insulated boots. Then the staffers come over and tell me the soles are really soft and comfortable, and I scream, "Noooooo!"
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