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edellavedova

Alpine boot question - new climber

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Hello -

 

I'm climbing Mt. Rainer on June 27th and I'm looking for suggestions on boots. The guide company recommends double-plastic boots, but I would really prefer not to wear these due to weight/comfort.

 

I was hoping that La Sportiva TRANGO EXTREME EVO LIGHT GTX might work, or the new TRANGO PRIME.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you,

 

Eric

 

 

 

 

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First off, welcome to climbing! I would advise trying on different boots and finding ones that fit well and are versatile for the type of climbing you want to do. It seems individual feet don't all fit the same make and manufacturer of boots. That said, I am a fan of La Sportiva Trangos. They are warm enough for summer mountaineering, climb rock well, and are comfortable and light for the approach hike. Make sure you get a good fit and break them in before your climb...sore blistered feet suck. Good luck with your Rainier climb! rod_at_the_parking_lot_183.JPG

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Plastics suck. Hardcore. Someone here is gonna argue with me over that, but they still suck. La Sportiva Trangos are nice indeed. I'd also check out Scarpa Triolets and Charmoz. I use a pair of Charmoz for summer climbing, both ice/glaciers and easy rock. If you're in the Seattle area, the folks at Feathered Friends and Second Ascents will get you set up nicely.

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You mother wears plastic boots. ;)

 

I don’t care much for plastics either, but they have their pros, definitely. I have the Scarpa Triolets for most climbs, but I’d wear my Nepals up Rainier. Warmer and more supportive. Between the two you mention, I’d go Prime for Rainier. Then maybe pick up the Trango S or the Triolet for a good 3 season boot. Gone are the days where one boot does it all huh?

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You mother wears plastic boots. ;)

 

I don’t care much for plastics either, but they have their pros, definitely.

 

Pros:

$20 Koflach Degre at REI scratch and dent.

Liners make decent booties around camp.

 

 

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Thanks for all of the advice so far. I'm going to try on some pairs next week.

 

What are the weather conditions like at the end of June on Mt. Rainer? I'm assuming snow and ice?

 

The only climbing, other than rock climbing, I've done was in the Tetons, so I'm not familiar with climbing in snow & ice.

 

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Be ready to rent the plastics if need be. June can be sloppy snow conditions, especially in the afternoon on the descent. Plastics would be much better than any plastic in wet conditions. I am not a big fan of plastics too but in these kinds of conditions, leathers are a poor choice. Plus if the weather is less than perfect, you WILL want the protection of a plastic boot. Hiking in the rain in leathers?

 

there will be more snow and very little if any ice in late june. weather is very often marginal in june as the good weather typically comes in around early july.

 

enjoy rainier!

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2 cents

 

Don't commit much money to boots yet. Do the scratch and dent or rent plastics at REI or RMI. You probably will be walking in snow for most of the trip. If you plan on more winter stuff then look into plastics. If your sticking with summer Tetons stuff then rent for the one time you do Rainier.

 

My feet get cold easly.

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You mother wears plastic boots. ;)

 

When did you climb with mom? She has some sweet flourescent green Koflach boots. I wish they fit me, 'cause I would rock them any day of the week.

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Remember as a kid (80's) looking the old REI catalogues in awe at the plastic mountaineering boots and thinking, you'd have to be the shit to own a pair of those bad boyz! No? Maybe it was just me then...

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Remember as a kid (80's) looking the old REI catalogues in awe at the plastic mountaineering boots and thinking, you'd have to be the shit to own a pair of those bad boyz! No? Maybe it was just me then...

 

Did they look like this?

 

3nb3k43p41f41431ga91pf4fdaa0fb34f13b4.jpg

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A June Rainier climb will be on snow the majority of the time. Without plastics you'll have wet feet in almost any other boot.

 

I climbed in plastics for years but haven't climbed in plastics now for years and won't likely ever climb in plastics again.

 

None of the Sportivas are water proof in typical sloppy wet June conditions on Rainier. The Prime, Evo light or Evo Ice are OK but even the Evo Light, which is goretex lined, will be wet by the time you get off the mountain. The Prime is new and yet to be proven but I wouldn't expect it to be any better than the Evo light. On a reasonable June climb no real problem with a wet boot. Especially if you are climbing out of Muir from a hut. On a bad weekend even with a guide service you could end up with some minor damage to your feet and an uncomforable summit morning.

 

Any version of the Sportiva Trangos make a great summer boot for Rainier if you get to pick your weather. Their light weight and comfort slogging up Rainier can almost make up for a few hours of cold feet on summit day for me. If you go to the Trango Series for boots, even with the new Prime, take a good knee high gaiter. That addition has proven to keep my feet drier much longer.

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One thing to think about. The guide service has been getting people up rainier and has a better understanding of what is needed. If leathers were better than plastics, they would recommend them. There is no secret arrangement between guide services and plastic boot manufacturers.

If you show up with plastics and they pressure you into plastic, rent the plastics. Many of the opinions above from people not on a guided team, which means they probably traveled faster than you will. So leathers work well if you keep moving. Plus they probably went in optimal weather since they are locals. You don't have that option.

Instead of relying on this website opinions (which probably you are not), call they guide service and ask them about the boot in question.

Also, if you go with leathers, make sure it has several miles of use to break in well. Woudl really suck to have to bail due to foot blisters after spending tons of cash to get there.

Also, (again) I use a small stretchy gaiter underneath the normal gaiters to keep snow out of the boot. When it gets real sloppy, snow will get inside the outer gaiter.

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"The guide service has been getting people up rainier and has a better understanding of what is needed. If leathers were better than plastics, they would recommend them."

 

I wouldn't go that far. Having guided on Rainier off and on during 3 decades I can make some observations. A major revenue stream for the guide services and REI for that matter is rentals. The plastic boot made boot rentals possible for the most part. You should have seen the odd ball collections of leather boots that use to make up the rental fleets.

 

But a number of other reasons guides love plastic on client's feet and few of them have anything to do directly with the client's comfort level. The way a guide service makes money is by volume and eliminating problems for the guide service. Being able to climb in marginal weather is one of them.

 

Guides on the other hand make money by return business. There is a difference.

 

Bottom line is if you want to buy a good pair of boots and use them on Rainier I would. You have very little to loose and more than likely will enjoy the trip more in your own boots. The Trango line or Scarpa's line are all good boots easily up to the task of Rainier in June and July. The Extreme Evo Lt and the Prime are excellent technical boots with some insulation and a water resistant lining that is fairly effective.

 

Both brands of lwt weight boots have been used to good effect in Patagonia and the Canadian Rockies in winter and all over the Alps in summer and winter. Conditions that make Rainier in mid summer trivial.

 

Many of the modern fabric/technical boots will do just fine in anything Rainier can dish out in June and July and you'll be more comfortable using them over plastic while you are there.

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Remember as a kid (80's) looking the old REI catalogues in awe at the plastic mountaineering boots and thinking, you'd have to be the shit to own a pair of those bad boyz! No? Maybe it was just me then...

 

Did they look like this?

 

3nb3k43p41f41431ga91pf4fdaa0fb34f13b4.jpg

I'm blind!

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I've found plastic boots nice for long periods on the front points. They don't suck. The Scarpa Inverno is surprisingly comfortable to walk in and it is bombproof.

 

As for Rainier, I don't think it matters much. There are some comfy plastic boots out there for that, there are great leather boots, and each have seen thousands of happy ascents. I do believe that plastics are more likely to fit your feet comfortably right out of the shop, while leather/synths need to be bought first and evaluated. Whatever you do don't buy a pair of boots and show up with them in the box at Paradise.

 

Have fun on Rainier, whatever winds up on your feet.

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Even in June it will be cold on Rainier... If you get cold feet easily I would go with the plastic double boot, but I have not used them much lately. I have used my LaSportiva K2 leather boots on Rainier, Baker and Hood with great result, way more comfortable on moderate slopes due to the side to side ankle flexability.

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I've found plastic boots nice for long periods on the front points. They don't suck. The Scarpa Inverno is surprisingly comfortable to walk in and it is bombproof.

 

I would add the caveat that the Invernos are comy to walk in IF you know a few tricks about lacing to protect your shins from being bloodied.

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I too followed the advice of a guiding service last year and obtained a pair of double plastics (some of the most old-school ones there are, thanks to sizing difficulties). My Lowa Civettas served me quite well in a late april week on Rainier although they did have some minor issues, I never got a blister and they only had minimal break-in (a total of maybe 8 hrs of walking in them).

 

I used those same boots again in July on rainier and continued to be happy with them although at that point they were far too warm for the purpose and I did end up getting a blister on my toe thanks to the sweat.

 

I recently picked up a pair of Vasque M-Possible boots which are not plastics but rather a hybrid and significantly lighter and easier to deal with. Looking forward to trying them on upcoming climbs, but so far I've only gone on hilly hikes where they were not totally comfortable for me.

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