Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
olyclimber

Winter boots

Recommended Posts

What are you wearing? My feet get cold easily, so I'm looking for some well insulated boots for use in winter alpine. What have you found to be the best combination as far as plastics with a liner? Anyone using the Intiuition liners? What shell? wave.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From personal experience I have found over the years that Lowa Civettas and Scarpa Alphas (both stock liners) work well with my (so therefore might not work for you or anyone else) metabolism, extremities blood flow rate and layering system. I tend to only wear plastics when I am going to be out for a few days (not often)... i.e. situations where over a couple of days my leathers would slowly freeze/wet out.

 

What do you mean by:

best combination as far as plastics with a liner
Are you referring to custom liners?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Intuition liners in my Scarpa Inverno's. The stock liners are warm enough for Rainier in winter and lower Alakan peaks. The Intuitions I bought for a Denali trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with DPS on liners... unless you have circulation issues stock liners should be more than plenty.

 

A few other things you might want to consider: do you plan to pursue alpine climbs (technical rock, mixed and ice) or more mtneering pursuits (snow slopes)? If you are hoping for some rock (or any other terrain where precise foot work is merited) eliminate any boots that feel/are boxy... Also make sure the portion of the boot above the sole next to the ball of your foot is flush with the sole... some plastics actually are wider than the sole at this point (the boot pouches out) which will prevent and/or hinder you from edging with your inside edge... make sense? A rand on the boot can help also… but not much. A clip in point is required but doesn’t always come stock on a boot (civettas for example), if a boot doesn’t make sure you add one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking for alpine use. I have a pair of La Sportiva Nepal Extremes, which I thought would be plenty for winter in the Cascades, but my feet got pretty cold last winter after spending a couple days on a glacier. I guess it could be just a circulation issue with my feet. The rest of my body was fine. The other reason I'm looking at plastics is that I can wear the liners when sleeping. I've never owned plastics, and so I'm not sure how much of an improvement as far as insulation rating they are compared to a boot like the Nepals. I also accidentally left my boots outside the tent last winter and had to thaw them out to get them back on my feet. yellaf.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have slept in ski boot liners before and I thought it was agonizing.

 

Scarpa Invernos with the stock liners are very warm indeed. If you wind up in really wet riming conditions, however, the tongue has no gussets on it so water just strolls on in to your liner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I climb in the Cascades in winter with a pair of Tecnica Altis (kevlar with minimal insulation). I get cold feet a lot but they are a much better fit than my Invernos. I improved the fit of my plastics with footbed but they're still bulky and climb poorly. Fine for alpine ice but lousy for mixed climbing. I'm considering the Nepals for this season as the Tecnicas trashed.

 

If your feet are getting cold after multiple days then you should consider putting your boots in your bag overnight as they're probably getting progressively damper. This is a big advantage of plastic boots because the liners are removable and most don't absorb water anyway - unlike most leather boots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

even 'insulated' boots like the Nepal Extremes are not always well insulated in the soles, especially if you use the stock footbed. If there's room inside put in a thick warmer footbed or cut a piece of 5mm foam to fit in. If you are wearing them with crampons you can sometimes tape up the crampons with some foam to insulate the bootsole from the metal which will just conduct heat away. If you don't absolutely need to be wearing your crampons (around camp etc.) take them off. Supergaiters make feet toasty too and look way old skool!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah... Nepal Extremes should be warm enough... hmmm…

 

Have you had frost bite/nip in your toes before? Any issues (difficulty) with locating your distal pulse?

 

Fern has good advice on the inserts... you can also get 2mm rubber inserts that will add some volume to your boots in addition to some insulation to the ground that would also work but wouldn't add as much volume to your boot (too much volume could make them no longer fit). Also a piece of space blanket cut to the shape of your inserts would help.

 

Something I do with leather boots is wear goretex socks... not so much to keep my foot dry but to prevent heat loss from evaporation from the feet. The goretex socks will slow the amount of vapor loss and as a result your feet will stay warmer. Additionally it will keep the insides of your boots drier which will prevent overnight freezing on multiday trips… always a plus. A cheap stylish option is bread bags. What ever you do make sure you remove them each night or risk trench foot. And I always sleep with my boots in my sleeping bag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always had a strong pulse, and have never had frost bite/nip. In fact, I done plenty of climbing in leathers without really noticing the cold before, but for some reasons these boots that I thought would be toasty had my feet numb (they are a good fit and I wasn't wearing crampons).

 

Anyway, thanks for the ideas with the inserts...I'm going to give that a try. thumbs_up.gif

 

Does anyone have Scarpa Alpha Ice boots? What do you think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alpha: most precise plastic boot (oxymoron?) on the market though not as warm as other plastic boots out there. Definitely one of the lightest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I have the exact same problem with the Nepal Extremes.

On Hood, as soon as I get above the Palmer, I have to pretty much constantly keep wiggling my toes to keep my feet warm.

 

It could easily be a circulation/sizing issue.

 

Also, they just murder my feet on any kind of non snow approach.

 

I'm either going to sell them or keep them for Ice Climbing.

 

I'm in the market for two pairs of boots.

1) pure winter snow boot - my problem with plastics is that my left foot is a full size bigger so the right always slips.

2) Decent 3/4 "shank" pair of boots for spring/summer climbing. Good for snow but also ok for a fair bit of trail approach (say 10 miles).

 

I could have swore I saw a review in Backpacker a while ago of a pair of synthetic leather mountaineering boots with a heat moldable liner. It "claimed" all the advantages of a plastic but with the flexibility/sizing of a leather boot but I've never been able to find them. I was probably hallucinating :-)

 

I'm looking for alpine use. I have a pair of La Sportiva Nepal Extremes, which I thought would be plenty for winter in the Cascades, but my feet got pretty cold last winter after spending a couple days on a glacier. I guess it could be just a circulation issue with my feet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For option 2 get the lightest thing you can find... a number of companies (including La Sportiva which it sounds like they fit you) offer a sub 2 lb boot. Examples: La sportiva trango s, Garmont Tower, etc etc (you get the idea). Get what fits. Even better: tennies. You can get a pair of old skool SMCs on just about everything but chacos.

 

For option 1: get some plastics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For 1) if you get custom liners you may be able to get around that problem albeit having one foot with a thinner liner and hence colder than the other foot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used Invernos (Vega's in Europe) and Salomon Mountain Guide 9's, and now have a pair of Scarpa Alpha's.

The Inverno's felt and climbed like I was wearing a pair of flippers, whilst the Salomons were f'ing cold!! (Got serously cold feet once and threw them away once I got to the valley). The Alpha's are the best of both worlds. Light, water-tight, climb well and warm (feet often sweat and stink by the end of a long day). Make sure they fit your feet though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to have the same probelm with the extremes. Until I figured out i was tightening the lower laces to much and cutting off circulation. Know I just leave the lower laces loose and crank like a mofo on the ankle to upper section, seems to work well, climbs well feet stay warm. not sure if thats your probelm...

Edited by eric8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"1) pure winter snow boot - my problem with plastics is that my left foot is a full size bigger so the right always slips."

 

crazybrit...

Is this an issue you've had for a long time. I have exactly the same problem; but only since a climbing injury from a couple summers ago. I've only just recently gotten new boots that fit my left foot. I got the trango s for the not so cold climbs and picked up an unused pair of Koflach Degre plastics for the winter outings. I scored the Koflachs at 2nd ascent for $199. Most of what they had were used but they had some unused pairs in my size.

If you've dealt with the foot issue for some time whaty are some of the things you've done to accomidate the smaller right foot? I've been looking at combination of insoles and layering socks. Haven't really done any climbs yet since my feet healed up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like my nose, the left foot has been growing slowly.

I could have sworn it was only a 1/2 size bigger than the right but recently multiple measurements have confirmed it's a full size. Had the issue since early teens my first recollection of buying shoes.

 

I've had mixed luck with insoles and second socks. Never seems to help with slippage on the right.

 

The Nepal Extremes I got were with hindsight a little tight on the left foot (in order to not slip on the right -- I thought they'd give a little ROTFL). The 1/2 size up slipped badly on the right and nothing we did in the store would stop it (extra insoles etc etc).

 

For me the issue is moot as I have to wear custom orthodics (I pronate badly) so anything I own which don't fit the new orthodics is going to be chucked/eBay'd. Oh well, gear shopping is fun.

 

Yeah, I was thinking of trying some plastics with heat moulder liners. Only downer is that the store (Mt Shop) can't guarantee that they will solve the slipping and once I've moulded them, Pottery barn rule applies.

 

As for the combo approach/snow. Yeah, several people have suggested the Trango's. I intend to be a lot more careful buying from now on.

 

Thanks for all the advice.

 

Tony

 

"1) pure winter snow boot - my problem with plastics is that my left foot is a full size bigger so the right always slips."

 

crazybrit...

Is this an issue you've had for a long time. I have exactly the same problem; but only since a climbing injury from a couple summers ago. I've only just recently gotten new boots that fit my left foot. I got the trango s for the not so cold climbs and picked up an unused pair of Koflach Degre plastics for the winter outings. I scored the Koflachs at 2nd ascent for $199. Most of what they had were used but they had some unused pairs in my size.

If you've dealt with the foot issue for some time whaty are some of the things you've done to accomidate the smaller right foot? I've been looking at combination of insoles and layering socks. Haven't really done any climbs yet since my feet healed up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the Scarpa Alpha ice plastic boots with stock liners. I love them. I have had frostbite twice (with other boots) so warmth matters to me. The alpha liners are not bulky, but are closed cell foam so they are always warm. They are light and they climb very well. Good on vertical ice and good on long hikes and great for french technique. They have a very low cut at the back, with a flexible padded band that allows very good ankle mobility. In winter I take the liners into my sleeping bag at night so they'll be warm in the morning, but I don't wear them in bed. The stock liners for alphas have a nice thin rubbery sole that allows you to wear them like warm slippers for walking around, and the rubber helps the sole work with the boot for more precise climbing movements. Beware of getting plastic boots that are too big for you; they won't climb well. I know, I used to have a big heavy pair of plastic boots. The Alphas seem ridiculously light and low cut at first, but once you try them on steep ground with crampons you will find that they are plenty supportive and fairly nimble as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I climb in Dynafit MLT4s with Intuition liners - when I need to ski the approach.

 

If the approach is a walk and the route is hard, then I use Scarpa Freneys (leathers) even on multi-day routes in winter - but I pair them with a really thin (2mm) pair of custom neoprene overboots from 40 below. These overboots weigh 14 oz.

 

Caveat: you have to wear crampons or snowshoes with them, the overboots have no tread.

 

This way, you can keep the overboots on for the slog to the route and keep your singles dry, and then pack em up when it's time to climb vert. This is a great approach for me - on steeper climbs in the N Rockies - because you have to slog thru deep snow on snowshoes to reach the real remote mixed stuff on the high peaks, which I'd just rather climb in singles rather than plastics.

 

Temp goes subzero, then fit your singles with a pair of smartwool liner socks under RBH Designs Fleece Vapr-Thrm boot liners and the thin overboots and you have a very warm and flexible system that's still pretty light.

 

Don't get your singles wet if doing multi-day stuff, tho, and that's where doubles are nice.

 

I've worn the vaprthrm boot liner/scarpa freney/overboot combo on Rainier in winter with conditions down to about 5 below and it was fine, and climbs french on the steep glacier ice a lot better than plastic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the Nepal Extreme's and frost bit my toes in them. It may have been lacing issues or an over all fit issue as they were tight across the ball of the foot. It really sucks to have your big toe discolor and the nail fall off.

 

I now have some Sportiva Nupste's and so far they are great. They are bulkier than single leather but they are very warm and light. The liners also come in half sizes so it is possible to get a good fit. The seem to climb WI well. For mixed/warmer temps I still have a pair of Lhoste in the closet.

Edited by freeze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×