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petep

Leather moutaineering boots on Rainier?

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Climbing Rainier for the first time at the end of May 2011. Would like to wear my crampon compatable leather boots; good or bad idea?

Input appreciated- Thanks

Pete

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I would say it depends on the boots/weather/how cold you get. I personally feel good and wholesome climbing Rainier May - October in an insulated leather boot (Scarpa Summit).

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Depends a lot on you personally and also who you are climbing with. I've done Rainier in a mild January in my Sportiva Nepal Extremes with no problems. Except maybe for a very warm August you'll want some insulation so if you just have plain uninsulated boots you may want something more. Supergaiters could work.

 

The other major factor though is your ability to keep moving. Feet are easier to keep warm if you have the energy and team ability to keep moving. If you are in a big guided group you may have to stop more than you want and there will be more opportunities for your feet to get cold. Also if you are climbing the DC and get stuck in a line somewhere you might get chilly. Hydration and food also play a big role in this.

 

If you are not real experienced in these things it may be wise to go with warmer boots as they'll give you a bit more leeway and flexibility. Your toes are probably worth a few dollars each for new boots or renting plastics (which won't be that bad since you won't have as long of a hike on the paved trail in May).

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Made my first summit of Rainier in June of 2000 in insulated Danner work boots and strap on crampons. Second and third were in insulated leather Scarpas also all in June. Keep your boots dry and you can be ok.

 

How many days are you planning to be up there? What route? Like DPS mentioned how sensitive are you to cold? I had ropemates from Arizona in June 2000 that were complaining of freezing cold feet with plastic Koflach boots on with temps in the 20's. You should be able to determine the comfort range of your boots and have a plan B if forecast is for colder temps.

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All good insights above. If you do go with leather boots, make sure you keep them dry as the snow pack in spring can be wet, and once leather boots get wet, it is much harder to keep your feet warm and comfortable. Use a good wax on the boots and wear gaitors. At high camp take off the boots and remove the insole to help dry them if they are damp.

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To make sure boots don't ruin the trip, it may be best to rent some plastics/insulated boots. I've climbed it in leather, just be sure you seal and waterproof the hell out of them. Then use a merlino wool sock with plastic bags over the socks - pretty toasty, and has been mentioned before on this site where some have used bread bags (I've used the grocery store bags) :tup:.

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I was fine in July with non-insulated leathers (Asolo makalu), but it was unseasonably warm from what I can gather. I'll probably take insulated leathers (Scarpa Mont Blanc)this year just to be on the safe side.

 

For reference: I can only climb Hood in the winter with the Asolo's if I put toe warmers in, feet get cold otherwise. The Scarpas seem to be fine so far.

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I've worn leather on Ranier in May and had no probs. As pointed out, YMMV depending on your body and the conditions. Just make sure they have a stiff shank that will support a good pair of crampons. And waterproof them (use SnoSeal or something similar).

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I think its completely weather and climb dependent. I hate putting on cold, frozen boots, so if I can't keep my leather boots dry the first day I'll go with plastics instead. With plastic boots I sleep with the liners in my bag to dry out, and they're warm in the morning.

 

I also think that most of the time they need to be insulated leather boots. My leather Rainier climbs have been done in a pair of La Sportive Nepal Extremes - my plastic Rainier climbs in Scarpa Alphas.

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I'd take a little more flexibility over a thick, insulated boot. My feet get hot so I usually bring an extra pair of wool socks if it gets cold.

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To make sure boots don't ruin the trip, it may be best to rent some plastics/insulated boots.

 

-1. Several days of climbing in an unfamiliar par of rental boots sounds like a perfect recipe for ruining your trip.

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