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Double boots?


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Some might find my conclusion interesting.


"I have probably spent more time in plastic double boots that any other style of mountain boots. Two decades to be exact. I was climbing in leather single boots before that for the most part with the occasional foray into leather double boots. But the older and better double leather boots were heavy. Really heavy even compared to a good single boot and a Super Gator.


So what I ended up with was a very good pair of leather single boots (Haderer) and a custom pair of Carmen/Chouinard Super Gaters that were modified by adding more insulation (synthetic pile) and a zipper down the front that was backed with flaps and Velcro.


Once I got into a pair of Kolfach Ultras (shown above) I never looked back. Even if that did require a few layers of mole skin every week during the first winter season climbing and guiding in them."


More here on what is currently easily available in double boots in NA and the EU.



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Good write up Dane. Have you actually spent much time on ice with those Omegas? I love their weight and warmth - but my experience is they are a bitch to get laced up tight enough to be secure on steep ground. Some sort of lacing system on the inner boot similar to the old Invernos (or any other double boot) would help that problem.

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Thanks Jake. I haven't spent much time in the Omegas. Good idea and materials though as you noted. They just don't fit me well. And I had a hard time lacing the ankles and the hinge placement. None of the plastics fit me very well that I have pictured, except the original style Koflach shell. Even that I modify to fit my girlie size ankles. And I'd want a different inner boot than the production model before I'd use them again.


But any boot should be judged by how it fits, no matter what the material it is made from.


Omega might well be the sheeet for the right foot. Just not my foot.

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I started off with Koflach "hunters" and they were kinda warm


then to nepals (with cold toes early season)


and now have La Sportiva Baruntse which is more boot than I will ever need for early season or winter slogs. I'm pretty sure this boot has a VBL type liner though and wish it did not (tends to get funky smelling) but my toes are never cold.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just read your Double Boots article and thought I saw 17 degrees Kelvin......!


"(no one else summited that week either btw) My feet getting cold were just the first sign of that cold. That and a thermometer that bottomed out during the night at 17K."


Great read! I have to ask though, what are your thoughts on the Lowa Civetta Extremes?

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Not mentioned in the article is that fact that your body is an important part of the boot system. If you are well fed, well hydrated and the rest of you is warm, cold feet are much less likely to be an issue. Conversely, if you are taking in insufficient calories, are dehydrated, and wearing layers which are not quite enough for the conditions, your body is going to respond by reducing blood flow to the extremeties, making your feet cold. That said, I have use the Lowa Civetta GTX Extremes in some ridiculous conditions with no issues, using:


1) liner socks: Wigwam Ultimate Liner Pro

2) vapor barriers: oven roasting bags

3) insulating socks: Thorlos thick cushion mountaineering sock

4) boot liner: stock liner (Intuition Denali is supposed to be even better)

5) boot: Lowa Civetta GTX Extreme

6) overboot: 40 Below Purple Haze


Works for me. YMMV.

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"Not mentioned in the article is that fact that your body is an important part of the boot system."


It is actually a given when trying to make a reasonable comparison between boots.


You have added a VBL and an extra pair of socks to your system that most won't use and are seldom need by most. Finally adding a pair of 40 below over boots might well add some warmth but don't really address good boot design.


I simple pair of the Baruntse, Spantik or 6000s will do the same with a thin pair of socks from the get go and with the right pants be every bit as warm with way less hassle getting in and out of the boots and the crampons to stay on.


You can make all sorts of combinations work. Just dpends on how much hassle you are willing to put up with. Generally I find simple systems the best way to adress your feet in cold temps, long term.

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I purchased a pair of Baruntse that I intend to use on Denali based on many of Dane's recommendations. I used them a bit in the spring and then IN THE SUMMER on Rainier... I would have thought they'd be way too much in the summer, but I was never cold and the boots never got too wet - meaning the liners were basically dry when i pulled them out. Looking forward to wearing them on Denali. Gonna use 40 below overboots however.

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OP talked about the thermometer "bottoming out", so I assumed we were talking about extreme conditions. I don't use the VBLs unless it is really cold - it is certainly more comfortable without them - right up until your liners become damp and/or your sweat carries away too much heat to maintain warm feet. The liner socks I use are thin - with the VBLs, they prevent moisture pooling (VBL directly against skin is not so comfortable) and help wick some of the moisture up and out of your boots (losing some heat in the process, but keeping the insulating sock 100% dry). This also means you don't have a heavy pair of socks to dry in your sleeping bag at night, meaning that the energy it would have taken to dry these can go to drying other items or keeping your body warm. Without the VBL, the liner still performs an important function in shifting some friction away from your skin to between the two sock layers, reducing the incidence of blisters. The overboots are tangential to good boot design, sure, but are necessary in extreme cold conditions unless you wear a singular purpose boot like the Millet Everests or something, in which case you lose versatility. You definitely have a point about simpler being better, though. The less time you waste messing with gear, the faster you can travel.

Edited by Sean_T_Stevenson
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  • 3 weeks later...

Couple of additional thoughts.


The inner for a Baruntse is a VBL. As are the Intuition liners. The factory liner for the Spantik is not. Big difference in warmth but also over kill a majority of the time and an easy way (using a VBL) to damage your feet via trench foot if you aren't careful. Nice to never worry about getting your inner boots wet though. Which the Spantik also offers to some degree.


The best double boots these days generally eliminate the need for an additional over boot even on Denali summit days unless you are moving really slowly. I don't say that lightly having spent 8 seasons in the Alaska range.


No question hydration/nutrition and the rest of your clothing system have a huge effect on how your feet will do in prolonged cold temps.


Good video using the 6000 (another VBL inner boot) and Baruntse on Denali.



And another with the Spantik and the 6000 again




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