- Jan 1, 2016 at 9:07 am #3373494
I hope to climb so high peaks in the western US this year, some with snow or glaciers as part of the trip. What lightweight boots do y’all recommend for such a trip?Jan 1, 2016 at 10:52 am #3373503
Gannett Peak can easily require crampons and has steep snow climbing and crevassed glacier travel and can be cold and icy as well, even in summer. For that kind of peak many people will carry a pair of dedicated “light weight” mountaineering boots (such as the Scarpa Charmoz or similar) for the climb and wear trail runners for the approach. As a single footwear option, a lighter hiking boot with descent ankle support (Asolo Drifter or similar) would provide OK support for moderate climbs on less steep and less icy routes, but will only work with strap-on crampons. The shoe should also accept whatever crampons you have (aluminum crampons are a light but non-durable option), and of course comfort is the most important factor overall. The key is to gain some experience climbing in those conditions using your gear and break your feet into your boots before the trip – this is very important with mountaineering boots.Jan 1, 2016 at 5:26 pm #3373548
Thank you, Lester. I have an old (unused) pair of One Sport light mountaineering boots but they are pretty stiff – too stiff I think for backpacking. I have both strap on steel crampons and aluminum crampons. I live in NC so have little opportunity to try any of them. I took the aluminum crampons on a trip to the Wind Rivers 10 years or so ago, but couldn’t find any snow to try them on. My current pair of backpacking boots are Salomon Quest 4Ds, light, not real stiff and probably not very good for edging, but good ankle support.Jan 1, 2016 at 8:11 pm #3373559
One thing to consider is that you can save a lot of weight by sticking with Class III and moderate snow ascents only. Keeping the heavy mountain boots, steel crampons, rope and glacier gear at home would save you several pounds and still allow you to climb many really good peaks in the Winds.Jan 2, 2016 at 6:24 am #3373582
Again, thanks. That is more or less my plan. I’d like to climb some of the western states high points, many of which may have little or no snow in late summer/early fall. But I’ve always wanted to climb Gannett, for instance, and know it is more challenging. On the same trip I referred to before I climbed Fremont, which is simple, but very rewarding. Anyway, thanks for the help!Jan 4, 2016 at 10:46 pm #3374040David RodriguezBPL Member
I have a similar question.
I’m heading out soon to snow camp and possibly climb Round Top Peak. I’ve read that the easiest route is class 2, although the summit block (the eastern crag) is rated class 3. I have limited experience with mountains in the winter (Mt Shasta) and I’m wondering what you suggest for this trip. We will be using snow shoes for most of the hiking.
I was planning on using my 40 Below North Light Energy TR overboots and Grivel G10 crampons and a choice of the following:
- Salomon Speedcross 3 (trail running shoes and my standard hiking shoe)
- Zamberlan 250 Mid Ridge GTX (a light leather hiking boot)
- Zambleran 996 Vioz GTX (a mid-weight leather hiking boot)
Besides weight, is there a good reason to use one over the other? All of these options are all broken in and fit quite well.
Thanks!Jan 5, 2016 at 10:49 am #3374080
Probably best to do a few winter day climbs first with your gear before going on a winter overnighter. I almost always wear mountaineering double boots or light mountaineering boots in winter on snow unless it’s just trail running or doing short hikes at low elevations on a warmer day. Overboots may be OK for snowshoes but depending on construction could be clumsy on class III ground, especially if you’re new to scrambling. If the overboots are open on the bottom there will be a lot of heat loss downward into the snow, so doing a few day hikes would help you dial in your foot warmth.Jan 5, 2016 at 12:58 pm #3374098David RodriguezBPL Member
Hi Lester, thanks a bunch for the recommendations! I garnered from your advice that there are two factors in my success; one is warmth and the other is stability.Unfortunately I cant really try out the overboot / hiking boot combo in snow before my trip (I live 4+ hour from the snow and my trip is in 9 days) but there are two options to the trip; some are just snowshoeing and camping at the base of Round Top and others will continue the next day to the top so maybe I can try out the system with crampons and turn back if it seems unstable and join those back at camp. I tested the combo last night at home and it seems pretty stable with the Grivel G10 crampons and both the light and medium weight hiking boots. I think trail runners are too light and the crampon straps might cut into my circulation so I will leave them at home. The overboots are complete with bottoms and came with insulation pads for under the hiking boot sole so I think they will be warm enough. Plus I have thicker wool footbeds and thick outer wool socks in addition to VB socks and a light wool liner sock. Thanks again!Jan 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm #3374104Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I use Camp Nano Tech crampons (12 point, steel, universal binding) and Scarpa Marmolada boots for steep climbing and glacier travel, and have done a number of steep ascents in the Winds with this combo – Helen Couloir, the finger couloirs on Fremont, NF of Gannett, as well as some steeper alpine ice climbs including the Enclosure (Tetons) and Mowich Face (Rainier).
I spent 11 days in the winds this summer climbing, trekking, glacier travel. We did a variety of routes that included up to 35 degree snow/ice with 40+ lb packs (Bonney Pass), 45 degree snow (Gannett Peak’s Gooseneck route), Class 3-4 rock (Fremont, W Face var., no crampons obviously!), and off and on-trail trekking up to about 10 hours a day.
I did not take trekking shoes on this trip, wore boots the whole time.
For me, spending more than about 8 hours a day (or say, more than 12 or 15 miles a day of trail travel) in even the best-fitting and well-broken in boot is not super comfortable when you are used to wearing ultralight trail running shoes, so keep your expectations aligned accordingly! But I was generally happy to have left the trail runners at home, and only suffered one day – a very long glacier traverse day with lots of steep up and down and sidehilling.
I was very happy with my choice of footwear when off trail and dealing with talus, scree, rotten snow/ice, moraine, etc. Other than dry talus, the rest is a nightmare in trail runners when you’re toting a pack that has any meaningful weight in it.Jan 17, 2016 at 11:11 pm #3376412Will ElliottBPL Member
@elliott-willLocale: Juneau, AK
Sportiva Trango S Evo
Scarpa Zen Pro Mid
These flex nicely at the ankle and ball of the foot, so they’re perfect for long approaches, as well as rock scrambling and glaciers. Running shoes suck for rock climbing.
What are you going to wear in winter? It wouldn’t be economical to buy a light boot like the Charmoz or Trango for your summer climbs if you’re also going to buy a pair of proper mountain boots like Nepals, for winter / Rainier / etc. If you’re going to climb in ski boots, that would be different. Maybe think about the whole year, other activities, etc., so you can get away with the fewest number of boots.
Have fun!Jan 18, 2016 at 2:07 am #3376416Jeremy and AngelaBPL Member
@requiemLocale: Northern California
As Will mentions boots can quickly add up. I have a pair of LS Nepals, which work well but are a bit overkill. If buying boots today I would instead go for the Trango Cube or the Trango S Evos, and probably pair them with a semi-auto pair of Grivel’s steel AirTechs. (For winter I can just use my ski boots.)
Compared to my old hiking boots I also feel much more confident in the soles of the mountaineering boots for edging or smearing on rock. It seems David will have been on his trip for a few days now, so hopefully he will have some good feedback from his trip when he returns!
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