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Sweet article! For a while I would try getting gear, shoes included, that I thought could be more well rounded so that I'd end up buying less gear. I would now agree with you that a shoe is good at one thing or nothing at all. Maybe thats a bit absolute as the lines can be blurred but there is definitely truth to it. Theres a good reason to have specialized equipment! 

I was happy to see the bit about using the Dart crampon front section with other Petzl dyneema crampons. I've got the Irvis which I'm sure would climb ice just fine but having vertical points would be preferred. 

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Good article Kyle. I'm more or less on board with what you said. I almost always do the approach in trail runners or skis. The exception being that I've spent a lot of time/miles in approach shoes this season and have found them useful and not terrible to hike in. Obviously their usefulness depends on the objective and whether or not someone finds them good to hike long distances has too many factors to mention. I used to think they are a silly addition to a footwear quiver and that most people bought them to wear them around town. I've been reconsidering and appreciate the extra room in my pack or ability to use a smaller pack for carry over style climbs. Or even objectives that would require a bunch of change overs between footwear, i.e. circuits or link ups. They're way more grippy than any trail runner I use and allow me to move over slabby approaches quickly and confidently. I do still agree they are more so a jack of all trades and don't do one thing well, but I've found good use of them for me lately. I've been using the Scarpa Crux (normally a Sportiva guy). Good durability to weight ratio I think and not too bulky. Can usually find them dirt cheap every now and then too.

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@kmfoerster I personally just cannot hike in approach shoes. I know some people can. I wish I could! Then approach shoes would be great for me. I also think that you're a little more technical climber and thus can tackle most alpine rock routes in them, whereas I know I have to bring rock shoes anyways for anything 5.6 and harder. Also, I try to run more, and you definitely cannot run in them. Our styles are different, so approach shoes are more valuable to you.

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Wow, that's quite a comprehensive tome.

Thanks for sharing your expertise. I feel I'm always learning and am happy to hear what works for other people.

I had to laugh at the pic of Steve fording a river with his shoes around his neck and the caption: "Breathable trail runners allowed Steve’s shoes to dry quickly after this ford."

Yeah, they dried fast because they never got wet in the first place! ;)

 

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6 hours ago, Kyle M said:

@kmfoerster I personally just cannot hike in approach shoes. I know some people can. I wish I could! Then approach shoes would be great for me. I also think that you're a little more technical climber and thus can tackle most alpine rock routes in them, whereas I know I have to bring rock shoes anyways for anything 5.6 and harder. Also, I try to run more, and you definitely cannot run in them. Our styles are different, so approach shoes are more valuable to you.

maybe your shoes are too tight to hike in?  why can you not hike in approach shoes?

My toes get a bit beat up hiking down with approach shoes.   had to buy some alta trail running shoes that have a very large toe box to hike in.  first world problem.

 

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That photo reminds me of an art installation a student in college made. It was called 'Why Do I Have So Many Shoes?"  The installation consisted of 20 pairs of shoes with a note attached to each one explaining why the student had purchased the shoes and what event she had worn them to. 

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IMG_1853.thumb.jpeg.45668ec66fa11c38141a6b421c1fc924.jpeg

With work postponed due to smoke I thought I'd toss up a photo of my Chevro-legs that get regular use in the alpine. I've got a pair of G5's  that I bought this winter. Haven't used em yet, bought them for a trip to Chamonix and to have a bit warmer boot as an option. I love the Sportiva Trango Ice Cubes and think that that class of a 4 season boot is all you really need in the Cascades. I size mine a half size bigger than my normal street shoe and wear a thick sock, helps with blood circulation. I love the old style of Vertical K (second from bottom right) and would buy ten pairs right now if I could. Note that there isn't a 3 season boot in the line up. Haven't used a 3 season boot for the last 2 years, and haven't felt a need to buy a new pair lately. Thats probably mostly based on the objectives I've been choosing.

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100% agree that this is the most important gear and agree with most of your observations!

Breathability has been very important for me in summer. I am prone to getting immersion ("trench") foot. So trail runners are definitely worth using on a long approach even if I'm going to carry mountain boots. I learned that the hard way on Triumph and Logan.

I'd add that ski boot fit, which is probably what I know most about since I ski better than I climb, is super important for downhill performance and comfort. Took me a while to figure that out after stuffing my feet into too-small boots after learning to race that way.

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@genepires on descents the hard, rigid sole just kinda wears down on the forefoot until my feet are quite sore. It's not that I cannot wear them at all, it's just I'm soft and complain if my feet are not in cushy trail runners.

Edited by Kyle M

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6 hours ago, Kyle M said:

@genepires on descents the hard, rigid sole just kinda wears down on the forefoot until my feet are quite sore. It's not that I cannot wear them at all, it's just I'm soft and complain if my feet are in cushy trail runners.

thanks.  great article. 

I admit that I am the old school that suffered too many dirt trail miles in plastic boots.  I thought I was smarter with lighter leather ice climbing boots.   time for a real rethink about that and try some of those options given.  :)

 

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I am a dinosaur and wear boots pretty much always, up and down.  Mostly because I'm packing an extra 5-7 lbs of camera gear and thrashing blue collar routes.

Unless I am in town, then I wear approach shoes to look cool.

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Excellent write up, creaking old troglodyte here climbed in galiber superguides, habelar wood shanked superlights and realized early on to bring running shoes for approaches and some climbs. Then when the dynafit tlt5 came out got rid of my plastic boots, smaller profile better fit, and could ski well. Do most class 3 and low 5 with running shoes last twenty years now, your legs and feet feel fresher and I feel that well into my 60's that technology has delivered more longevity to my bliss. Like kyle there is times I want to pack running shoes, ribelles,and rock shoes for some adventures. Also a great shoe brand is inov-8, its got rubber that sticks on greasy rock and wears well. In the 90's got passed on a 18,500 glaciated pass by 17 year old sherpani carrying 60lbs smoking a cigarette and wearing chinese converse knockoffs. So sometimes yer engine and tech can only take you so far.

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