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Boot recommendations for cordillera blanca

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im debating on whether i will be taking a my double boots, i would much rather have something lighter that would be easier to work with on technical stuff, can i get away with a single boot considering most the climbs there dont have too much of an approach?

 

thinking of la sportiva nepals, kayland m11+ or hypertraction, scarpa mont blanc

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I went through the same debate and went with some light double boots (Vasque Ice 9000s) and was happy with warm feet. Really though insulated single boots would have been fine for the stuff I climbed though (up to 19,511 ft).

 

As long as you are good with the weather AND don't get stuck high up something behind a slow party you should be fine. I have heard a few stories of folks being slowed down enough that their light boots were no longer warm enough with decreased circulation up high=frostbite.

 

So basically it depends how much risk you feel like taking, you'd probably fine on the less technical routes. Also having inner boots to wear in the tent was nice up high.

 

If you do go with single boots I have a pair of brand new OR Brooks Ranger overboots that fit my size 11 Nepal Extremes and have the inner foam pre-trimmed to use full step in crampons with them. I was going to use that combo before I found the Ice 9000s cheap. Yours for $80?

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If you plan on climbing anything South facing or high (above 6k) singles are probably not going to cut it.

 

I took singles my first trip and did fine on the lower-altitude routes that had sun exposure. I got frostbite on the south-facing 6k route I did. I would not go back down with traditional singles. I would go down with something like the Phantom Light but no with the Scarpa Freney which is what I took on my first trip.

 

FWIW on my last two trips I climbed with Nuptses and Spantiks respectively. They were only overkill on the acclimatization peaks, but I was happy to have them on the real deal.

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I went down last year with my Trango extreme evos and some scarpa alphas in case it got chilly, but I never used them. The sportiva's were sweet even on the summit of alpamayo. My feet were chilly, but so were my partner's in Spantiks.

I'd probably take something a little warmer next time, but I'd also feel comfortable bringing the trango's again.

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Out of curiosity did you do anything taller or longer than Alpamayo? Maybe I'm biased by personal experience because lots of people say they have no problem with singles down there. Maybe it comes down to what routes you're going after? I can't imagine that anyone would prefer singles for one of the really big routes on the Huascaran or Huandoy massifs but maybe I'm wrong.

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No, sadly, I didn't. 2 of us got sick and the remaining person turned into a flower-picking nancy with 10 days left in the Santa Cruz. I don't think I would have taken them on a route I was planning to bivy on, but any one-day climb where I was headed back to a tent and a sleeping bag I would have taken them on (Artesonraju or some of the routes on Talliraju), but not the Italian ridge.

I also tend to have warm feet - most people I've talked to say that the trangos are cold boots, not insulated enough for xyz, but I've always been pretty okay with their warmth - the only time I haven't it was -25 C and we should have been home watching TV anyway.

Edited by EastCoastBastard

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I went through the same debate and went with some light double boots (Vasque Ice 9000s) and was happy with warm feet. Really though insulated single boots would have been fine for the stuff I climbed though (up to 19,511 ft).

 

As long as you are good with the weather AND don't get stuck high up something behind a slow party you should be fine. I have heard a few stories of folks being slowed down enough that their light boots were no longer warm enough with decreased circulation up high=frostbite.

 

So basically it depends how much risk you feel like taking, you'd probably fine on the less technical routes. Also having inner boots to wear in the tent was nice up high.

 

If you do go with single boots I have a pair of brand new OR Brooks Ranger overboots that fit my size 11 Nepal Extremes and have the inner foam pre-trimmed to use full step in crampons with them. I was going to use that combo before I found the Ice 9000s cheap. Yours for $80?

I also have the Brooks Ranger. They seem pretty dang bulky on my feet when combined with the nepal evo. Did you experience that as well?

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I've worn cross trainers to 6K on Aconcagua and was comfortable. Plastics from there up. And people have frozen to death at 5k on the same route same time of year. What you can get away with on a short summit day trip isn't what you'd want if you spend a night out or in a bivy tent. Quick trip in good weather from 14 to the summit of Denali and back, in a pair of Phantom Guides or a Nepal Evos would work fine. Ferrari on Alpamayo? Sure, as it is generally a short day. But no one is going to recommend it on Denali. 6K meters in Alaska is not 6K meters in SA.

 

Two sure ways to get frost bite, dehydration or wet boots. In Dbl boots you can change soxes and dry your inner boots over night in your bag. Hydration is a 24/7 issue up high. Single boots of any make, once wet are really hard, if not impossible, to dry out.

 

It is the last 1 or 2000 feet that gets bad on most of these peaks. Poor trade, frozen feet or a lost summit, because you decided single boots would do sitting at the computer 2 months pervious.

 

This was caused by dehydration and a long day out on Dragonatail, 2870m, early last winter in single boots. It was months before he was even walking normal again.

 

toes1.jpg

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A big part of this (maybe the biggest) is YOU:

 

Do you get cold hands and feet easier than others?

Health issues (diabetic or circulatory--saw a fellow get frostbite largely due to his heart condition)?

Are you getting on in years?

Are you very experienced in winter/high altitude?

Are you in killer shape?

 

The other big part is what you are climbing, anything really technical and you might prefer singles.

 

My 2 cents:

 

You might be best off with using a good approach shoe and a pair of boots (single or double) whatever you choose. You might also look into supergaiters to bump up the warmth factor if you are going to go way high on one peak, but climb others where they or doubles might be overkill.

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A big part of this (maybe the biggest) is YOU:

Do you get cold hands and feet easier than others?

Health issues (diabetic or circulatory--saw a fellow get frostbite largely due to his heart condition)?

Are you getting on in years?

Are you very experienced in winter/high altitude?

Are you in killer shape?

 

 

No question on the YOU part. Just don't miss the obvious.

 

The feet pictured above belong to a super fit, late 20s monster that does 5.12 trad on a sickly regular basis. He never seems to get cold, tired or even complain! Young and tough doesn't make you any less prone and more likely just the opposite from what I have seen. Most seem to pay better attention to the details and take fewer chances with their feet after the first experience :)

 

7000 feet elev. in the Cascades doesn't get that cold in comparison to some other places.

 

I can think of several recent cases of minor frostbite to locals, Frieh, Haley, Cole. All were proceeded by and in part caused by dehydration. Dehydration causes the blood to become thicker and you simply have less circulation where you need it most.

 

You want warm feet and hands??..drink more and drink often is my point. Wet boots? Obvious end result.

 

Technical climbing in dbls? The vast majority of cold weather climbing will be in crampons...besides the extra weight there is nothing you can't do in a decent dbl that you can in a single.

 

I am a big fan of modern lwt single boots. Guys like Rolando Garibotti (speed ascent of the Infinite Spur)and Raphael Slawinski (GCC in winter) have used them to good effect there and in some other really cold places. But the price for a "stumble" might be costly even with their level of experience.

 

3hrs on the Ferreri route no problem in Trango Extremes. 12hrs stuck behind a slow bunch of climbers and I'd be an unhappy camper in those same boots.

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I also have the Brooks Ranger. They seem pretty dang bulky on my feet when combined with the nepal evo. Did you experience that as well?

 

I haven't used these outside, but once you strap crampons on they don't seem that bulky, certainly less so than a double boot and probably a bit less than neoprene overboots but more than just super gaiters. I wouldn't really want to wear them much without crampons because they cover the boot sole and nylon is slick. With the closed cell foam trimmed right at the crampon welt I don't have to adjust my crampons differently than without the gaiters on so they climb pretty much the same.

 

I've been happy with the Ice 9000s though so I haven't played much more with this system for really cold stuff.

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thanks for the advice everyone, looks like i will end up taking my invernos or maybe getting a lighter double

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Good luck! Besides the boot that fits best IS best, even if it ain't spanking new & shit hot techie cool looking. Kinda hard to beat the Invernos imho, especially if you get an intuition liner (hot but makes the boot quite light).

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