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(shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

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(shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby RubenR » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:04 am

Hello guys,

I am currently looking for some new mountaineering shoes. I have to put this into a perspective, though. So far I have had 5 holidays that involved a certain degree of climbing (1 in Austria, 4 in Norway). Because I went to Austria on my 15th, I haven't climbed above 3500 (didn't involve any 'tools' and relatively simple climbs). The years after that I went to Norway 4 times. Because last year I went with a group of friends, we were able to climb the Galdhoppigen (highest mountain Scandinavia, but technically very easy). While before that my shoes were never a constraint (In the previous years I had done around 10-15 climbs with a 1000-1500M altitude difference, also technically very easy), I noticed that they really began to tear down (B/C shoes). Moreover, they were not that water resistant as they used to be and I lost my grip many times while climbing down.

For this year, we are heading towards the alps (I live in the Netherlands, so it's only 10 hours away from here). We are planning to climb the easier 4000+ mountain Bishorn as a 'main objective' and some easier mountains around 3500 or so. Our technical skills are limited, but we are considering to buy crampons for this year's climbs. All in all, it is time for a new pair of shoes.

If I would summarize what I am looking for (I added the last point because I feel that we as a group are heading towards that point, provided we would then have had some extra training on technical tools):

[*]A shoe that is able to perform on rocks and snow
[*]A shoe that is comfortable for a long time and can be used during the entire climb
[*]A shoe that would technically be sufficient to climb Mont Blanc

So far, I am tending to pick the Hanwag Friction GTX http://www.hanwag.de/schuh-detail.php?shoe_id=120, the Hanwag Cengalo http://www.hanwag.de/schuh-detail.php?shoe_id=212 or the La sportiva Trango extreme http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/mountain/trango-extreme-evo-%20lt-gtx

La Sportiva and Hanwag are widely available in the Netherlands (and meindl to a certain extend as well). Currently, from the 3 shoes above, I tempt to go for the Hanwag Friction GTX, which is considered as a C/D shoe. I am very interested to know if someone could advise me whether these shoes are prepared for what I want them to do, and which one of the three would be the best pick. Alternatively, I am especially interested to hear from people who climbed galdhoppigen (to determine if I am correct that B/C's are a little too less for it) and from people who climbed Bishorn and what particular shoe they've used to do so.

(Hanwag uses this rating system, which is quite a popular way to determine the category of mountain shoes in the Netherlands)
D = very stiff and fully crampon compatible (clip on-/automatic crampons). (Nepal evo)
C = stiff with crampon compatibility (strap on-/semi-automatic crampons). (La sportiva trango, Hanwag Cengalo etc.)
B = firm foothold, but with a more flexible sole for trekking and hiking.
A = soft, highly flexible construction. (Light hiking shoes)

Shoes can be in an 'in-between category'. My previous shoes were B/C (more C), the Hanwag Friction is C/D , with more C. There is some flexibility in the system.
RubenR

 
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Re: (shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby seb » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:24 pm

Let me put it this way
You want the D.
seb

 
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Re: (shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby raramuri » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:32 am

I can`t start a new topic for some reason, so I will ask here.

I have the chance to buy Salewa Blackbird Evo Gtx and La Sportiva Nepal Extreme for the same amount of money. I would use them for winter mountaineering on 2000+ m peaks in Alps and summer mountaineering on 3000-4000 m peaks also in the Alps.

Which one would be a better choice for the task? Nepals are probably warmer, but also much bulkier and don`t have gore-tex.

I know Nepal Extreme is a legendary model, but as these are my first boots for more serious mountaineering I don`t have the experience to judge is these newer and much lighter model from Salewa a better choice.
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Re: (shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby seb » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:50 am

Get the nepal extreme for 3 reasons
1. better value for money because they are indestructible.
2. it accepts step in crampons
3. For winter mountaineering you dont really need gore-tex unless you are going some where which rains all year round like Scotland, Patagonia, etc.
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Re: (shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby raramuri » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:04 pm

How good are Nepals for approaches on technical terrain? I understand that they are definitely not light approach shoes, but can you use them as an all-round alpine boot?
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Re: (shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby JHH60 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:09 pm

If the Nepals fit your feet then they are fine for approaches. They aren't as light and comfortable as trail runners or light hiking boots but they are comfortable enough that you don't have to carry trail runners or light hiking boots just for the approach. If they don't fit your feet then you will be miserable. Same for other leather mountaineering boots in this category (Scarpa Mont Blanc, etc.). The Salewa boot you mentioned is not in the same category of boot as the Nepal; the La Sportiva equivalent to the Salewa would probably be a Trango.

First select the type of boot you need for what you want to do - degree of insulation and warmth, degree of stiffness, crampon compatibility (step in, hybrid, strap on), integrated gaiter or not, lightweight/semi-disposable (synthetic upper, Vibram Mulaz sole) vs. heavier/more durable (leather upper, thicker sole), and then try on as many boots in that category until you find one that fits you well. Buying a boot that is inexpensive but doesn't fit you is more expensive in the long run than a boot that is more expensive and fits you well, because you won't want to wear a poorly fitting boot and will have to replace it.
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Re: (shoes) overkill or just right? (easier 4000+)

Postby raramuri » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:59 am

Well, that`s the problem. I am not sure what would be a suitable boot for my current needs. That`s why I mentioned two different boot types. As I mentioned above, I don`t have experience in winter mountaineering above 2000+ meters and summer above 3000+ m, this year will be my first. So I know what is suitable for a via ferrata or a normal route to some peak below 3000m, but I don`t have experience with snow and ice at that altitudes.

I will try Nepals first, see if they fit me.

Is the Blackbird/Trango type boot warm enough for a 4000er in the Alps in summer? I know it varies from person to person, but I don`t have problems with cold feet, so I would say I`m average in that sense.

And thank you for your answers guys. They were very helpful.
raramuri

 
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