Using Old Plastic Boots?

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JHH60

 
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Using Old Plastic Boots?

by JHH60 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:25 pm

I have an old pair of plastic boots (Scarpa Omegas) which I bought new around 2007. I haven't used them much in the past few years (most of my recent winter outings have been day trips in single boots) but was thinking about some multi-day mountaineering trips this winter season. The Scarpas are still in decent shape though a bit scuffed up. I recently walked in them for a few miles and they are still relatively comfortable.

My question is this - Scarpa's literature recommends not using plastic shells that are older than something like 5 years. I assume the concern is that the plastic may lose plasticizer over time and become brittle. The boots seem to still have some life in them and I know some people use plastics for many years, though Omegas are thinner than Invernos (for example) and I assume might be more likely to fail over time than heavier plastics. Is there a reasonable way to tell whether the boots are still good other than to just climb in them and see what happens?

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by Puma concolor » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:44 pm

I don't know who came up with the whole science of plastic degenerating after 5-7 years, but my opinion is that it's a bunch of garbage. I've chucked a few car seats for my kids out of an abundance of caution ... but when it comes to double boots, I'm not too worried. Although they've now been sorted to my "B-pair" just because I now own a better warmer model, I have a pair of 20-25 year-old Koflachs that I would still trust on the coldest winter day in the Adirondacks.

2007? I almost consider that new. Double boots are way more hardy than some of the high-end leathers folks use before they fall apart after 2-3 years of use. I almost think the industry realized how badly it had screwed itself by creating such awesome durability and came up with a "study" to make you but new stuff after a handful of years as a way of generating future sales,

But then again, I'm kind of cynical.
Last edited by Puma concolor on Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:50 pm

I have plastic Scarpa Invernos that I purchased in 1994. I still trust them for really cold climbs. I've never heard of a pair failing. The old Lowa Civettas I have heard of cracking in extreme cold, but not Scarpas.

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by BigMitch » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:26 am

I have a pair of Koflachs purchased in '95. When I heard that talk about 15 years ago, I lined the inside of the boots with aluminum tape in case they cracked and to add warmth.

They are still going strong and I have stopped waiting for them to crack.

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by KMatos » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:58 pm

My Plastic Scarpa Invernos from 94 still dong its job too.So far so good for this one. Worth it!

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by asmrz » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:27 pm

I have a pair of Dynafit Tourlite AT boots that I purchased new in 1991. I have been skiing in them at ski areas and in the backcountry since I bought them. Nothing wrong with them. My 1996 Koflach plastic climbing boots (purchased new) are fine as well. Who invented this plastic problem story? I think this might be some marketing BS..

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by clmbr » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:36 am

Puma concolor wrote:I don't know who came up with the whole science of plastic degenerating after 5-7 years, but my opinion is that it's a bunch of garbage.
. . .

Image

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by clmbr » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:54 pm

Puma concolor wrote:. . .
Double boots are way more hardy than some of the high-end leathers folks use before they fall apart after 2-3 years of use.
. . .

These are High-End Classic Mountaineering Leather Boots
Image
Purchased them in late 80s in Germany. Lots of abuse on all kind of terrain in heat and cold, summer and winter: e.g. scree sliding, rock climbing, ice climbing, cross country, snow and glacier traverse in the Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Sierra, the Cascades for many, many years.

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by Puma concolor » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:12 pm

Interesting.

Seems your experiences are exactly the opposite of mine. My luck with leathers has been poor whereas my luck with plastics has been fantastic. Specifically, a pair a La Sportiva Spantiks suffered significant damage during their first use and were returned. Another pair of older leathers fell apart on me during an aborted attempt on Mount Hood.

Meanwhile, both pair of Koflachs are going strong. Just curious ... how old were those Koflachs when that happened and what kind of use had they seen? That almost looks more like damage from a specific incident than simple degradation.
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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by ExcitableBoy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:40 pm

clmbr wrote:
Puma concolor wrote:I don't know who came up with the whole science of plastic degenerating after 5-7 years, but my opinion is that it's a bunch of garbage.
. . .

Image

Too close to a heat source?

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by asmrz » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:29 pm

I find the issue (leather vs plastic) quite personal. I mean for me full grain leather boots like Calibier Super Guides which I still have from the late 70s were the only thing available (then). They were heavy, accepted only strap on crampons and schredded my feet after each trip. But they climbed really well. I climbed about 5.9 rock in them, they edged really well. When the first plastics came out (Koflach), they were simply the next huge step forward in mountaineering and especially winter climbing.

Today, full grain leather boots are really thing of the past. No water-proofing treatment is fully working on any leather boot, they are extremely heavy, few accept "step in" or "Newmatic" crampons and they don't climb that well either.

There are many great synthetic boots with Goretex linings, and for higher elevations, Thinsulate or other thermal insulation. These are extremely light (under 3lbs per pair). There is absolutely no need to use full grain leather boots any more.

The only thing that synthetic boots lacked was abrasion resistance. Several manufacturers are addressing this as well with combination of synthetic and leather/Shoeller fabric outer layers.

For supper cold situations (Alaska, Asia, high elevations) plastics still works really well and are much less expensive than the new synthetic high altitude boots.

For the last 10 years I climbed in La Sportiva synthetic boots here in California and other Western states and I would never ever go back to anything else, except maybe plastics if I ever went high again (doubtful).

So plastics are useful today, even if they are not the latest fashion statement. They are practical because you are not likely to get your feet wet or cold, and that is an awesome thing on multi-day trips.

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by clmbr » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:36 am

Puma concolor wrote:Interesting.
... how old were those Koflachs when that happened and what kind of use had they seen? That almost looks more like damage from a specific incident than simple degradation.

Not sure about the age; they were not mine but suddenly broke (both of them) on the way to Hotlum/Bolam Ridge base camp on (too) easy terrain. Fortunately, another guy had extra boots in his car but we had to make an emergency camp much lower than expected. Good it did not happened in the middle of the glacier (ice).

Personally I have Koflach as well. I’m happy and disappointed. Unfortunately, could not return them. I almost completely agree with asmrz’s post above, however.

Mountaineering is suffering :)

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by Tijs » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:06 am

This is my old pair of Lowa Civetta Extremes, after many tours, some of them well below -20⁰C:

Image

And this is, or rather was, my pair of Hanwag Triglavs, after just two years...:

Image
Image

All it took, for the left heel to become detached like that, was one Virunga and one Rwenzori expedition.

And yet my first pair of double stitched Hanwag leathers lasted two decades! They were virtually bulletproof, but as asmrz stated, in the end, not waterproof.

So it seems, that quality varies significantly, even within a brand with a century long tradition as Hanwag.

Personally, I would take my plastics for my next winter or glacier tour without any hesitation. (I have another pair of plastics, that are also still going strong, but that pair saw much less use than the Civetta Extremes, as they are unfortunately a touch too small for seriously cold conditions.)
Last edited by Tijs on Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by ExcitableBoy » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:10 pm

asmrz wrote:I find the issue (leather vs plastic) quite personal. I mean for me full grain leather boots like Calibier Super Guides which I still have from the late 70s were the only thing available (then). They were heavy, accepted only strap on crampons and schredded my feet after each trip. But they climbed really well. I climbed about 5.9 rock in them, they edged really well. When the first plastics came out (Koflach), they were simply the next huge step forward in mountaineering and especially winter climbing.

Today, full grain leather boots are really thing of the past. No water-proofing treatment is fully working on any leather boot, they are extremely heavy, few accept "step in" or "Newmatic" crampons and they don't climb that well either.


I think there is a lot of wisdom in this post. I had a pair of full grain leather boots and it took 8 seasons of hard use before I stopped getting blisters, but once broke in, where awesome. The next best thing are 'super boots', Salomon Super Mountain 8's were the first of these, insulated leather boots with big, sticky climbing rubber rands. I have owned several pairs of these, and yes, they are not as durable as my old 'waffle stompers' (what we called them growing up as kids).

The old, double plastic boots lasted forever, were warmer, and kept your feet dry from the outside. The new 6000 meter boots are light, warm, and climb well, but would be destroyed in a single summer of Cascades approaches.

The upside to the new leather boots is they break in very quickly, the downside is they will not last as long as the old once piece, full grain leather boots. Still, I've not had a complaint about the durability of my Scarpa Summits, passed on to another user still with a lot of life left, now replaced by really beefy pair of Kaylands, beefier than LS Nepal, which seem to be the gold standard these days.

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Re: Using Old Plastic Boots?

by atavist » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:15 am

This past August, my koflach's fell apart on my latest trip above 6000m. The plastic uppers basically disintegrated. I had them since 2005 but only used them a handful of times: Denali, a few winter trips in the sierra, western China.

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