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Kenneth Cole

recommended alpine approach shoes

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I'm buying new approach shoes for a trip this summer to the North Cascades. One intended objective will be the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart. Would love recommendations on approach shoes for such alpine objectives. Thanks!

 

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I really dig my La Sportiva Boulders. I've owned a number of approach shoes and these offer the best compromise between hiking support and climbing performance of any I have used.

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Boulder for sure.

 

Guide tennies another choice is terrain is drier.

 

Any trail running shoe would be fine if crampons are not needed.

 

 

Edited by genepires

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I just use running shoes for most approaches. I take boots if there will be any steep snow or glacier travel.

 

For the North Ridge specifically I would do the entire thing in lightly insulated mountaineering boots. It's such a short approach that swapping out boots for shoes wouldn't gain much. Doing it in ski boots is common.

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For the North Ridge specifically I would do the entire thing in lightly insulated mountaineering boots. It's such a short approach that swapping out boots for shoes wouldn't gain much. Doing it in ski boots is common.

I've never heard of anybody doing the NR Stuart in ski boots. What is gained by wearing boots? I personally would rather not carry the weight of boots in my pack while climbing, and really like approaching in the lightest foot wear possible.

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Whoops, I was thinking of Baker for some reason.

 

Anyways, if you do the approach from the south, running shoes work great. Buying based on fit is the most important thing.

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Approach shoes that can climb are hot for climbs with short approaches. Also hot if you climb hard as fuck and can get up 5.moderate in anything and are also hyper concerned about weight to the point where foregone climbing performance is worth the weight savings of leaving behind rock shoes. Either way a niche item of limited applicability around here for most alpine approaches that are 5+ miles each way (and most mortal weekend warrior types).

 

Ditto the trail running shoe recommendation to complement your rock shoes.

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Boulder X is your best bet for performance and value. Alpina is making some nice looking options but I don't have firsthand experience with them. I think Garmont makes the Dragontail which seems good. There is a lot of off trail talus hopping on the way to the NR of stuart, so I think you will want something with support.

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I got a pair of the 5.10 Guide Tennies a while ago over the Boulder X purely for the room in the toe box. They have been treating me well and I can trek a few miles in them just fine. The edge nicely. I use them mostly for bouldering breaks at PSU and they they are not the thing holding me back from V6. They are not that great on wet surfaces like alluded to above.

 

It would be good to hear some first hand experience about the Alpina approach shoes. They look slick.

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Lightweight approach shoes. Add the small weight of rock shoes for the highly recommended gendarme direct finish to NR. You are there for a big experience not to save a few ounces.

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The Scarpa Crux has worked well for me, pretty cheap and a good balance between hiking and climbing. For the north ridge of Stuart though I'd take rock shoes too. It just makes it more fun for me.

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I've been doing easy approaches in Evolv Cruzers lately and can continue on up to 5.8 climbing. Over that grade I'll take the extra edge that climbing shoes give but that only gets me into leading 5.9 and following to 5.11. They pack down very small and are comfortable for anything that I'd wear a running shoe for but they benefit greatly from tossing the insole for something more supportive.

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I have the Scarpa Crux as well and love them. On my last trip up the NR of Stuart, I used a super-light pair of trail runners that packed well into my pack and climbed strictly in my rock shoes...... Just one guy's thought.

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I wore a new pair of 5.10 guide leather tennies for the approach and half the climb on NR Stuart route. The shoes climbed nice but are not durable esp the fabric cuff around the ankle. The toe rand separated a bit. There is a soft foam on the side at mid foot that gets torn up by cracks. I would also prefer a little more support in arch for long approach with packs. If you do std south approach there will be some snow in cascadian coulior. I'd look for something with a GTX or eVent waterproof liner. I got a pair of Salewa wildfire GTX on close out. Outdoorgearlab gave em a pretty good review. Much sturdier shoe. I have not climbed in em yet only hikes. Bring your rock shoes for gendarme or full route on Stuart.

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Great feedback, gents. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 

We intend to skip the couloir and do the entire N Ridge, with slippers for the upper gendarme. Should be awesome!

 

Thanks again for the suggestions.

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A dude named Kenneth Cole should always be rocking some snazzy alpine footwear but I don't know of any models called the Reaction ;)

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I'm a bit late to the party here, but I'll throw in my vote for the Scarpa Crux. I've had both the crux and the Boulder x. The crux is way lighter, cheaper, and climbs equally as well in my opinion. I climbed the full north ridge of Stuart in these last fall and they did great (although I'd probably take rock shoes next time for the lower crux).

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