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msgehard

Moutaineering Boots

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Hello all,

I'm sure this topic has been rehashed a ton so I apologize in advance.

I'm a beginning mountaineer that lives in Chicago but is planning to move to Portland in October. I am looking for my first pair of mountaineering boots that will be pretty versitale for anything out your way. Not looking to do any vertical ice yet but need something that will allow me to tromp up and down all of those great snow capped peaks.

I have tried on the La Sprotiva Karakorum and really like them.

Any other thoughts?? Since I live in Chicago it is hard for me to try on a bunch due to the lack of shops that carry them. I work at an outdoor shop and will end up ordering them and sending them back if they don't fit so that is why I'd like to narrow down the field.

Thanks in advance and climb on!!!

Mike Gehard

mgehard@yahoo.com

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Mike you should narrow down between leathers and plastics first. I say leathers for starters since they are more versatile for simply hiking too.

I recommend you get them at REI if you think you may return them since they will let you return anything wink.gif

I personally think a boot like the Makalu (which I have) is perfect for me. I have a medium sized width foot. It takes a long time for these to break in but after that happens they ROCK! They are lower profile and easy to walk in on glaciers during the summer months and flex well after break in so as to get all crampon point on the snow. Let's hear some other opinions though wink.gif

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The biggest thing about boots is fit, both on your foot and your use. Someone can talk all day long about how great a boot is, or how high-speed it is, if it does not fit, it is junk. Simple as that.

The hardest part is really gauging the physical fit of a mountianeering boot without spending a year breaking it in.

Assuming you want to go with a general purpose leather mountianeering boot here are a few recommendations to check out.

LaSportiva: Makalu and Eiger

I am pretty sure that LaSportiva does not make the Karakorum any more. I think it has been replaced by the Eiger. Not sure.

The Makalu is fine for basic stuff. People seem to either love, or hate this boot. I have known many that have hated it. It can become a very soft boot very quickly. Which is good on long approaches, but can suck other times. If it fits, it fits.

 

Montrail: Moraine, Mazama, and Couloir

The Moraine is a great all around boot, but does not have a front bail. So if you have either old fashioned strap ons or a new-matic style binding you would really like this boot, again assuming fit.

The Mazama is old school cool look with new technology. A very good friend of mine returned his Makalus for the Mazamas and loves the Mazamas. He feels they way out perform the Makalu, but unto each thier own.

Couloir is a full blown mountainering boot. It can be, and will remain, a bit stiff for the long ass approaches but it will perform better on the more technical routes.

Tecnica: Vetta-2, Peak, Wind River, Ascend Bio-Flex

They make a wide range of boots. I have used a few pair of Tecnicas and been very happy with the fit, comfort, durability and overall performance. The Vetta-2 is a good medium duty mountianeering boot, you can still do the long ass approaches in it and they do fine on moderate alpine ice. I have an older version and have worn the to traverse the Wind River range three times, climb the NW peaks, and climb the mexican and ecudorian volcanoes. Four seasons of use and abuse and the are still climbing just fine.

The Ascend is a light and fast kind of boot. Probably not the best when it comes to the heavier duty mounataineering tasks.

There are many more out there, make sure it fits your foot and your use. Not someone else's!!!

Good luck and climb safe.

------------------

Have a nice day.

[This message has been edited by Rodchester (edited 05-03-2001).]

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Technica Alta TCY2 or the newer version of the same.

These boots work much better than the White Sox this year.

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IMHO when it comes to slogging through the slush all day NO leather boot out there keeps your feet warm or dry. leather is great for rock and/or mixed, where it's dry, but for wet snow, so common hereabouts, plastic is the way to go.

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I have a pair of the Makalu's and have used them for about one season. Even with over a hundred miles on them, they're still a bit stiff.

The break in period on them is perhaps the worst (most painful) I have experienced with moutianeering boots. I nicknamed them my "Demon Boxes" and was forced to sacrifice some toenails to them onthe way in and out of Challenger last year.

While the break in was (is) a bitch, I like they way the perform- they are light and edge on a dime, as well as stand up to snow and the cold well. If you buy them, by all means have REI or another store do some pre-break in work on them.

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I have a pair of the Makalu's and have used them for about one season. Even with over a hundred miles on them, they're still a bit stiff.

The break in period on them is perhaps the worst (most painful) I have experienced with moutianeering boots. I nicknamed them my "Demon Boxes" and was forced to sacrifice some toenails to them onthe way in and out of Challenger last year.

While the break in was (is) a bitch, I like they way the perform- they are light and edge on a dime, as well as stand up to snow and the cold well. If you buy them, by all means have REI or another store do some pre-break in work on them.

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Dru wrote:

"IMHO when it comes to slogging through the slush all day NO leather boot out there keeps your feet warm or dry. leather is great for rock and/or mixed, where it's dry, but for wet snow, so common hereabouts, plastic is the way to go."

I wear a pair of 20 year old Raichle Montagna's under a pair of Yeti SuperGaitors. My feet stay warm and dry but for some sweat now and then.

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I gotta throw a vote in for the Salomon Super Mountain series. They had the smallest break in time of any mountaineering boots I've owned, and my 9's are just as dependable as they were four years ago. As long as you stay on top of waterproofing the boots, leathers do fine in wet snow - not as good as plastics, but the tradeoff is a better fit and less weight.

My girlfriend wore hers Makalu's on Kilimanjaro this last summer and loved em.

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Originally posted by ScottP:

I wear a pair of 20 year old Raichle Montagna's under a pair of Yeti SuperGaitors. My feet stay warm and dry but for some sweat now and then.[/b]

Dru replied:

"just think, if you had plastic boots you wouldn't have to wear supergaitors to keep your feet dry"

Yes, but I would have to wear gaitors anyway to keep snow out of the tops, leather is more versatile, and supergaitors look so cool ;)

 

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I'll throw in a vote for the Salomon Super Mountain 9's. Definately the most comfortable out of the box boots that I've owned. As always, whatever fits you the best is your best choice.

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i'll second that. super mountain 9's are my favorite boot so far- great lacing system- good support and flexibility. can climb steep ice with them and they hike fine. one thing to notice is the seam on the heal where the sole is attached- it irritated my feet at first. duct tape on my heal did the trick.

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I bought a pair of La Sportiva Lotse Boots last year and I have nothing but praise for these boots. Zero break in, very comfortable, water proof from a Gortex liner, and insulated. I have used them on verticle ice with ridgid crampons in the Canadian Rockies and they performed great. I have been on very cold alpine routes with my toes only getting a little cold after a period of inactivity. I no Longer use my plastic boots. I recomend them highly but of course try on many boots. If you can get away with it, try them out in varied terrain before committing yourself to to a long alpine route and torturing yourself the entire time. Especially since its much harder to return them with any appearent wear to them.

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quote:

Originally posted by ScottP:

I wear a pair of 20 year old Raichle Montagna's under a pair of Yeti SuperGaitors. My feet stay warm and dry but for some sweat now and then.
[/b]

just think, if you had plastic boots you wouldn't have to wear supergaitors to keep your feet dry tongue.gif

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quote:

Originally posted by Dru:

just think, if you had plastic boots you wouldn't have to wear supergaitors to keep your feet dry
tongue.gif

I have done all the Wa volcanoes in my Raichle Montagna's and never had a problem with them wetting out. I use standard gaitors as well. Have done alpine rock to 5.8 in them as well.

Unfortunately they aren't made anymore.

Any way uninsulated leather is the way to go for 3 season climbing.

Good luck

Smoker

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I actually sell boots at REI Seattle... if anyones interested I can send you a rambling two page e-mail that I prepared a while back about leather mountaineering boots. In the end I don't really recommend anything specific, as many of you have mentioned fit is critcal, but also your 'specific' intended use. It's very difficult to find an all purpose boot. There's a reason there's so many boot options out there... Come on in, we'll hook ya up...

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by the way... I have:

Salomon Super Mountain 9 Thermics (technical)

LaSportiva Karakorum (not so technical)

LaSportiva Trango Plus (even less tech and mixed)

Koflach Viva Soft plastics (with super gaitors)

I don't recommend that everyone be so indulgent as I.

 

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The La Sportiva Eiger is a lot more comfortable than the Makalu. It has a bit more flex and a tall soft tongue that make it better to walk in. I chose the lighter Technica Ascend Bio Flex boots. Either of these boots will be good for all around three season mountaineering in the Cascades. If you are not front pointing up vertical faces you don't need the most rigid soles, but a fairly stiff sole is good for kicking steps in steep snow. I use plastic boots in winter because they stay warm day after day. You will not want to climb much rock or make long summer aproaches in plastic boots though.

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I love my Montrail Moraines. And they really do keep my feet dry, despite the fact they are leathers. In my little bit of experience w/ rented plastics, they may keep you dry but they're totally uncomfortable.

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Just got a new Sierra Trading Post catalog last night. The Salomon 9 Thermics are on sale for $215.00. Not a bad buy for a kick ass boot!

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I heartily second the Montrail Moraines recommendation, I love these boots for mountaineering. They don't have a full shank, so if you are on snow from the parking lot, you might take something beefier. But for the majority of trips in the Cascades I take (~4 miles of trail, then snow, finally 2000 feet of snow/hard snow), they are an excellent boot.

--Michael

 

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There must be 2 versions of the Montrail Moraines, 'cause mine are definitely full shank, totally crampon compatible, I've even ice climbed with them a little bit.

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