Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

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vasocreta

 
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Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

by vasocreta » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:12 pm

So, as many of you know, finding a boot for high altitude mountaineering that involves mixed climbing is a bit of a royal pain in the rear. At least that has been my experience. And in all of my initial research and after trying on Spatniks, G2 SM, and others, I was pondering why not an AT ski boot?
There's the Atomic Backlands, the Dynafit TLT's...

What is driving my exploration of this question is that there is, as I (and you, possibly) have experienced, no perfect boot.
I have gotten the sales person input on the popular and more obvious choices like Spantiks or G2 SM's. So, I thought I would throw it out to this crazy bunch of nutters who, like me, think that climbing in places where people don't belong is a really phenomenal idea.

So, with the newest technology in AT Ski boots, like those I mentioned--keeping in mind that you can custom fit intuition liners and mold the plastic, as is the case with the Backlands--what downfalls/concerns are there in exploring ski boots as an option for climbing Denali (and other mountains in it's ballpark) over the conventional climbing boot?
Keep in mind, my other factor here is cost. As we all know, this crap is expensive. It's worth every penny to keep toes and feet, so I am not complaining. BUT, is there an opportunity here to capitalize on the performance offered by some of these ski boots, whose prices drop much more sharply due to higher turnover of product and much more rapid iterations on models than what we normally get in the specialized mountaineering world?

So, in short: would you ever consider something like an Atomic Backland OVER a, say, a Spatnik, etc., even if you are not skiing? Why or why not?

Obviously, the primary boot characteristics being sought are, durability, warmth, stability adjustments for hiking (slogging) and mixed ice & rock climbing, comfort, and weight.

Thanks for any input.

vasocreta

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

by ExcitableBoy » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:53 pm

Why are you having such trouble finding suitable climbing boots? The selection of suitable choices is greater than even 10 years ago. Not to mention they are lighter, climb better, and are over all more performant. Back then it was a pair of plastic boots, Intuition liners, and insulated super gaitors. I never felt like my Scarpa Invernos were holding me back. Why the heart ache? Too many good choices? Just go with a suitable pair that fits your foot the best. Done.

As for AT boots, it is now a common practice on Denali to wear AT boots. Some of the new AT boots climb as well as any climbing boot. The second ascent of a much sought after alpine WI6 route was climbed by guys wearing TLTs. A group photo of this season's Denali volunteer climbing ranger showed most of them wearing AT boots. https://www.facebook.com/denalirescue/p ... =3&theater

The downfalls of the performant climbing AT boots are that they are both expensive and not particularly durable.

I personally would choose a climbing boot if I was not skiing, hands down, no question. They walk and climb better, are warmer, and in every regard are superior for climbing than AT boots. Why wear ski boots to climb in just because you can?

If you are skiing, especially on Denali with a big pack and a sled, AT boots are the way to go. I've climbed throughout the AK Range, including Denali. I would take skis everywhere but Denali. While I have seen people ski and snow board the mountain, I am not a good enough skier to ski with a big pack and sled with the exception of the very flattest parts below 11k.

Also, not to be a dick or anything, but if you need to ask these types of questions should you even be considering the Cassin Ridge? I would not personally partner with someone on the Cassin Ridge if they did not have prior AK Range or similar (Tien Shan, Karakorum, Himalayan, etc.) experience.

If you want to delve deeply into the subject of climbing boots, Dane Burns, who has been climbing harder for longer than just about anybody I know discusses boots in fantastic detail. The information is spread across numerous posts and I find the easiest way to find what I'm looking for is to Google it. Type in 'cold thistle boots' and you will get links to at least 20 blog entries.

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Re: Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

by vasocreta » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:53 am

Thanks for the response and thoughts, ExcitableBoy.
I think my post may have come off differently than I intended. My goal was to simply raise a question about gear and the way that we often approach it.
I am completely comfortable with the footwear options available for a Denali climb, I simply was questioning whether thinking differently about that footwear made sense. I am not having any trouble finding suitable climbing boots.
The context for this really came from seeing such drastically reduced prices on AT boots every 2-3 seasons vs. the stable prices we see on the mountaineering boots that most of us are accustomed to choosing.

I was trying to engage in a conversation, not necessarily ask for help.

And, no, I don' t think you were being a dick for questioning my post at all. I think we all owe it to each other to not give each other the full benefit of the doubt considering the high risk activities we engage in. I truly mean that.

To give you some context on my endeavors, my climbing partner and I do have sights on the Cassin. However, we have a number of climbs to do prior to committing to it. If we do not get through our climb list (most of which he has already done before), then the Cassin is a no-go and we will plan for an ascent of the West Rib. We have given ourselves a decent window of time to make sure we have attained our goals as a team before committing to the Cassin.
So, yeah, I would never climb the Cassin with anyone who has not climbed in AK, Himalayas, etc. either :-)

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Re: Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

by vasocreta » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:27 pm

In looking at this, I probably should have posted this under the Gear board. Sorry, all. I wasn't paying attention.

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Re: Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

by ExcitableBoy » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:55 pm

So, this was a money issue then? Yes, proper boots are expensive, but not compared to toe amputations or relative to the total amount your trip will cost. Expect to pay >$300 RT Seattle to Anchorage, $200 Anchorage to Talkeetna, $585 Talkeetna to the glacier, and $365 for permits. That's $1,450 just for transportation and permits. Add in food, fuel, and clothing if you don't have it and you can easily spend $2,000.

Sierra Trading Post and steep and cheap Sells proper boots for about 1/2 the cost of retail, which is a fraction of what your total expenditure is going to be. If climbing for 25 years has taught me anything, it is that no one piece of gear or clothing has the propensity to ruin your trip than boots. Get a pair that fits, that are designed for the job, and you don't think twice about them. Get ill fitting boots or ones that are not built for the conditions and you will be painfully reminded literally every step of the way. Don't cheap out on boots. Now is the time to buy them. Look at Sierra Trading Post, Steep and Cheep, and you can get a screaming deal on proper boots. Transportation and permit costs are fixed, unfortunately, that is one of the reasons I stopped climbing in the AK range. It was no longer the cheap destination it used to be.

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Re: Exploring Boots (context: Denali's Cassin Ridge)

by vasocreta » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:36 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:So, this was a money issue then? Yes, proper boots are expensive, but not compared to toe amputations or relative to the total amount your trip will cost.


My English degree has clearly failed me here, as I definitely did not get my point across in the way I wanted to.

My post was not to highlight an issue; it was to get others' perspectives on the us of AT boots for big climbs over your traditional choices considering the advancements in AT boot design and the fact that AT boots seem to go through slightly more rapid iterations than our more standard, specialized mountaineering boots.

That's all. But it seems this attempt was a dud. We can move on now.


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