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Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby mliuzzolino » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:14 pm

Hi all,

I live in Tucson, Arizona and I hike year round in Keen hiking sandals. However, I am traveling to Chile and Argentina to trek around TdP and Patagonia for about 3 weeks, and I just don't think my Keens will cut it.

I am wondering if there are any great pairs of boots out there that could serve me well for both summer hiking but would also work well for mountaineering as I am a full time university student and my funding is a bit limited.

I am considering the La Sportiva Karakorum and the Salewa Rapace Mountaineering Boots, but I'm not sure if a hiking boot might be a better solution for me. I don't plan on doing much technical ice climbing, so I'm not sure exactly how aggressive of a boot I need. I am not sure that I even need a mountaineering boot.

If a hiking boot is a better solution, do any of you have any suggestions on good hiking boots that could serve me well in ice conditions (insulation, waterproof, etc)? I am also wondering how well crampons work with hiking boots. I was under the impression from a technical mountaineering course that I took that a rigid mountaineering boot is an absolute for ice travel, but I've been hearing vague stories of people using hiking shoes and crampons. Is this true?

I appreciate any advice and suggestions! Thanks. :)
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby logsden » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:42 pm

"Not much" ice climbing can be just as limiting as "I need a technical ice boot".

Seeing as your planned trip will likely be 98% trekking and some occasional low angle glacier ice then you could easily get by with any of a number of heavier duty boots from LS, Scarpa, etc.

You have to decide how steep the ice will be that you might want to climb. You'll be severely limited if you choose a boot that is designed for long distance trekking and then try to take them up true ice climbs. It can be done...but is definitely not optimal. For perspective, I've climbed in Patagonia using approach shoes with aluminum crampons with a fair amount of sketch factor on anything beyond low angle glacier. Not recommended for your stated goals beyond this single trip.

An often used standard setup is something like a LS Trango with semi-auto crampons - a setup that will get you up and around a LOT. Uninsulated but light. Fine for lots of walking and good for warmer weather mountaineering and plenty for the summer in Patagonia. The Karakorums would basically be a heavier, longer lasting (and maybe warmer) version but probably won't trek as comfortably.

Long story short...how technical and cold you expect to get is kind of your limiting factor. You don't want a heavy mountaineering boot for the vast majority of what you want to do. But a standard hiker wont work if you decide you want to climb extended, steep ice or "real" mountaineering sometime down the road.
Last edited by logsden on Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby logsden » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:49 pm

As an option, some light hiker like an Asolo Fugitive GTX with a pair of basic strap on steel crampons would be fine for your Patagonia trekking trip. But not mountaineering.

Lastly (I think :-) ), any insulated mountaineering boot will be way overkill for any extended trekking. And will likely beat the life out of your feet in the long haul.

Unfortunately there is no magic, do everything well boot.

edit: oh, one more thing :-). if the extent of your "ice" in Patagonia is something like hiking up into the Torre valley from Chalten, then a pair of approach shoes with no crampons is actually not entirely unreasonable. Flat glacier with a ton of moraine/scree hopping on "safe" glacier CAN be enough. Just watch your step and don't break rule number 1! :-)
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby mconnell » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:39 pm

FWIW: I use hiking shoes with strap-on crampons on ice and snow up to about 30-35%. Hiking boots with the same crampons have worked on ice to about 45%, snow climbs to 50+%. anything above that, I use stiff soled boots with semi-auto crampons or technical ice crampons. If I have a long approach to ice climbs, I carry my stiff boots since they suck to hike very far.
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby MoapaPk » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:58 am

I've seen slide presentations by folks trekking around Patagonia, and they used no crampons at all. The main comments were: they were a little unprepared for how cold (and wet) it was. They did some fairly standard routes, crossing low-angled slopes on glaciers. I think the needs depend a lot on what route you plan; if it is a commercially-planned tour, the company should have recommendations.

The first Americans on Everest in 1963 used strap-on crampons. They used the older post-and-ring type, less secure than many strap-ons we buy today.

Get comfortable boots, above all. I would guess you can get adequate boots at ~3.5 lbs/pr. The trip reports I've seen involved a lot of walking on near-flat, and that type of travel will be absolutely miserable with really stiff-soled boots (unless they are really well-broken-in). Go to REI in Tucson -- the sales folks may even know people who have done similar treks.

NO boots that are comfortable on snow and ice will be good for summer hiking around Tucson, unless you have no sweat glands in your feet.
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby splattski » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:17 am

First: the most import an thing is fit. No boot will work for you, regardless of brand, model, etc., if it doesn't fit. So ultimately, ya gotta try em on (or work with someone with a good return policy).

I don't know much about Patagonia, but I've done lots of hiking and mountaineering in all sorts of conditions. I've worn out or killed so many pairs of boots I can't count them, and the full-leathers always outlast these new designs by about 3 to 1. Although the hi-tech hybrid fabric boots are very popular, I recommend a full leather boot with the least possible stitching. Full leather will be slightly heavier and lots more waterproof.

For hiking, backpacking, and a little snow climbing, you will do fine in a good backpacking boot.
As an example, I just got (and love) a pair of La Sportiva Pamirs. They are a bit beefy for a day hike on trails, but work great off-trail or when carrying a pack (when you need more support). They would work great with strap-on crampons (no heel shelf for semi-autos). The only problem I'd have with snow climbing is warmth- they're not insulated like a true mountaineering boot.

As stated above, for ice climbing you need an ice climbing boot. And you won't want to do much hiking in those.
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby Makapuu » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:19 pm

Hi!

Just borrowing the thread...

I want to know if there's a boot for high altitude scrambling and/or trekking (not technical climbing boots)?
Want to use them on Chilean peaks and on altitudes between 4000-6000m.
Many of the peaks are glaciated and ice/snow will maybe require crampons.

Hope to get a good answer and i'm sorry if the question is kind of strange or stupid :/

Cheers
Johannes
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby Makapuu » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:44 pm

Hi!

Just borrowing the thread...

I want to know if there's a boot for high altitude scrambling and/or trekking (not technical climbing boots)?
Want to use them on Chilean peaks and on altitudes between 4000-6000m.
Many of the peaks are glaciated and ice/snow will maybe require crampons.

Hope to get a good answer and i'm sorry if the question is kind of strange or stupid :/

Cheers
Johannes


Anyone?
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Re: Hiking boots or Mountaineering Boots

Postby seb » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:29 pm

Probably best of getting a pair of la sportiva spatnics if going to about 6000m.
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