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  
eclipse179

Boots and crampons for summer climbing

Recommended Posts

I would really like to get out to learn and do some local peaks (baker, adams...) and in the future Rainier. What kind of boots and crampons am I looking for? I know that everyone says to get plastics for Rainier, but do I need them for Baker and some of the lower mtns? I also don't know what kind of crampons to look for. 10 or 12 points? The big three are BD, Petzl and Grivel, but they are all vague on where the line between Glacier Walking and Classic Mountaineering is... What do you all suggest?

 

I intend on going into some stores in seattle when I make it down and have not turned local (I live in Bellingham - AAI) yet to answers my questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get 12 point crampons. 10 point crampons are not generally used very much anymore. If you are doing Rainier in summer, you can do it in good insulated leather boots. I have done many winter climbs in leather boots, and I think that they are much more comfortable than plastic. Plastics really come into play when you are traveling in temperatures at 15-20 degrees or below, and I doubt that you would experience any temps like that during summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using a pair of stubai strap-on's for just about everything except waterfall climbing for several years. Pro Mountain Sports has them in an aluminum model, and the shop owner swears they are just as good as (but lighter than) my steel pair. Either way, these are an excellent choice for general use as they fit any boots. I've even used them on sneakers, though I don't recommend such a combination. (By the way, they are "ten point" crampons but the front points are horizontal enough to facilitate ice climbing and I've climbed water ice as well as moderately steep alpine ice with them.) promountainsports.com

 

Most standard mountaineering routes around the Northwest are not very demanding as to boots. On most any given outing after mid-June, you'll spend most of your time on dry ground and in the summer, at least, it doesn't get cold. What you really want for the standard routes on glacier clad peaks in the Cascades is a pair of heavier than average hiking boots (these will kick steps better than lighter boots), but something that doesn't have too high of a cuff. You could probably rent a pair of plastics for that Rainier climb where your hiking boots are likely to get wet and remain that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd go for a good, light weight pair of boots in the 2 lb weight range from a good company like Lasportiva, scarpa, or lowa. Whatever fits your feet. You don't need plastics for these climbs, and you won't use them much around here otherwise unless you're doing a winter stuff in very cold conditions. For the one or two times you do go up a volcano in unseasonably cold weather, you can always throw on a pair of insulated supergaitors.

 

For the big glaciated moderate climbs, aluminum step in crampons are the way to go. Aluminum strap on crampons give you the added advantage of using them with hiking tennies, however. You don't need steel crampons; why lug the weight? I like my Grivels, but all the brands you mentioned offer them.

 

The secondary row of points on 'general mountaineering' crampons are not as raked forward as radically as those designed for steeper technical climbing. In addition, general mountaineering front points tend to be horizontal, rather than vertical (like an ice axe pick).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pro Mountain Sports does not necessarily recommend aluminum over steel. Depending on your budget and use steel could be a better choice. Unless several ounces are important to you, steel would be an easy choice. As you can read here on cc.com, aluminum can also be a reasonable choice. The Stubai Light Universal has been shown to be fairly sturdy. Some of the light steel models (often 10 point) are getting closer in weight to the heaviest aluminum models. Most of the light steel crampons are now available with universal bindings (as well as more familiar binding styles).

 

When pms first started selling the “Light Universal” crampon, one of the things we especially liked was the universal binding. We love the universal binding, and ani-snow-balling plates too.

 

Side note: when pms first started selling the “Light Universal”, customers for many years commented that they had been advised by other Seattle mountaineering shops including rei that “you can not use aluminum crampons”. We still hear it today. Meanwhile climbers were sucessfully using this new equipment. In fact the first pair of Light Universal crampons pms sold was to a Seattle Mountaineer and dedicated summit chaser. Wasn’t long before his partners were playfully calling him a “cheat” for using aluminum crampons.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my Stubai aluminum crampons. Strap-in variety. They wouldn't last long if I was going to use them a lot for mixed climbing but they are perfect for Rainier. At least they are for me. I also used Asolo light boots the last time I went up there. My feet got a little cold once when we were stopped on steep ground up high but my feet usually stay warm very well. I have also used insulated leather boots and had cold feet. That was due to having only one pair of socks and feet sweating on the approach. Plastics are clearly warmer but leather is more comfortable. Use good wool socks and plastic bread bags over those. Mom taught me that one in Montana walking to school in the winter. It was up hill both ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

another vote for the stubai aluminum. bought them from jim years ago and still use them today as they work great with my ski boots as well as my leather boots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like most people don't recomend them for anything but med-hard to soft snow? Have I been reading the wrong reviews and comments? I don't plan on climbing mixed in them, but am not sure how much rocks I will scrambling over. Should I worry or just go for the light weight?

 

I have some heavy backpacking boots (REI Spirit II GTX - made by Raichle) that are sweet and keep my feet pretty warm. that means that I wont be getting any plastics. If I need them I can rent. That is a long way of saying that I am sticking to the strap-on crampons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the peaks you've described, as long as you are on the standard routes, you won't need plastics. I even did Rainier in some super old softy leathers. Plastics will make life more enjoyable though; probably moreso on Baker than Adams. I would recomend that you simply rent some from REI or somewhere for these climbs to learn what you like. Crampons now are all pretty good, with the exception of the little "4 point lightweights" (not really intended for general glacier travel). The BD Sabertooths are pretty cheap, and they work great. Just make sure that whatever boots you use are comfortable and broken in BEFORE you go up. The worst thing in the world is ending up with zero foot skin at the end of the trip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know the Sabertooths are only for boots with at least a heel welt. My boots don't have that. These are my boots http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=47995379&parent_category_rn=4501274&vcat=REI_SEARCH. I was thinking something more along the lines of BD Contact straps or Grivel G 10. Both of those are strap on.

 

My boots have a full shank, but are not ridgid like some La Sportivas or all Koflachs are. How big of a deal is this for kicking in steps up the side of a galcier?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you are right, the BDs I suggested will only work with heel welts. I think your boots would be fine in a strap-on crampon, the only question is how stiff is the sole really? If you get any significant flex, esspecially torsional, they'll be utter hell when dealing with super stiff crampons and hard glacial ice. I'm sure they'd be perfect for scrambling around on most of the northwest's peaks though.

 

Stubai makes a decent strap on thats pretty cheap.

 

As for kicking steps, the harder the boot the better. It has been my experience that you can get away with quite a bit in terms of softer boots, its just not as comfortable and fun. In fact, when dealing with really hard ice, you HAVE to have crampons. And, soft boots won't support your ankles as much. I might go as far to say that until you've developed some foot skills on the ice, softer boots might actually be less safe (sure footedness is the first defense against accidents).

 

I'm replying with this much info. simply because I've spent WAY too much time suffering in my own feet! I now have two sets of boots: 1 Old soft leather pair of Zamberlans for scrambling and non-technical rock (I actually went up Rainier with these, just remember wishing I had more ankle support) and 1 pair of Koflac Arctic-Expe plastics for ice climbing and general glacier stuff. You'll meet people who totally hate plastics, but man, I love em! You don't need to brake them in, thier plenty warm, and your feet never get wet. I would recomend plastics for Rainier or Baker, simply because they are such glaciated peaks. Besides that, love your leathers! Maybe go walk around you neighborhood for awhile in them to brake them in though. Then when you do go out, take duct tape and moleskin! Later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are plenty of light mountaineering boots with heel wells for step in crampons that are excellent for step kicking out there. Garmont, Scarpa, LaSportiva, Lowa all make them, among others. They're worth it if you're going to do a lot of climbing. Aluminums can climb 'harder snow' just fine.

 

Full disclosure: I hate plastics. Clumsy, very heavy, that don't fit tight enough, expensive, and my feet sweat so much in them that they are anything but waterproof (for me). They are good for REALLY cold temperatures, however.

 

I just went ice climbing in warm (50s) weather in Makalus (leathers), walked through rivers, climbed on ice with water running down it, for a week and the boots absorbed zero water. Guess some of us still remember how to waterproof a boot...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have similar intentions as the OP, and I'm taking a glacier climbing class from a smaller Seattle - based club (Bushwhackers). We will be doing a Baker trip as part of the course, and the ambitious side of me wants to do a Rainier trip this summer.

 

I am looking at the La Sportiva Makalu - it is a little more budget priced than other boot options. It is marketed as a good 'all around' boot, and one other poster referred to it as a good 'first choice' boot. Any other opinions on this boot, or more entry level boot recommendations (for Cascade volcanoes) in general?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my other post I talked super highly of my plastics, and, for me they work great! Its just my personal finding that plastics are more comfortable on bigger glaciated peaks. Maybe its just that I've broken both of my girly ankles twice, and I have bony ass feet that require copious amounts of babying. I do agree however that a good "all around" leather/synthetic mountain boot is far superior for its versatility (as long as they don't cause blisters). I only use plastics on more technical ice stuff. In terms of nonplastics for general cascade volcanoe things, I know tons of people who do it! I've actually done most of my stuff in boots super close to these:

 

http://www.zamberlan.com/catalog/uk/product.html?id=126&idc=8

 

Mine are just way older. I think its pretty damn funny how climbers are so opinionated of each other based on gear choices! I just say go with whats comfortable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Stubai's and they are pretty rugged. I also have a pair of Grivel Aluminum crampon, they have more agressive points which are more useful if you encounter some ice. I also like anti-balling plates on them.

 

As for the foot wear, I hardly ever wear boots and prefer sneaker, but this mainly cause I am not so interested in glacier travel and prefer to be on the rock.

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  

×