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Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
#57894 08/12/20 07:05 PM
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RenRev Offline OP
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Hi All,

I am preparing for my first single-day ascent up Mt Whitney in the first week of October.

Currently, I have hiking boots that weight 3 lbs and I get knee issues after a 15-20 mile hike, so for Whitney (and going forward), I am looking at buying the Salomon Sense 4 /Pro Trail Running shoes which are well under half the weight and have only a 4mm drop to help take some pressure off my knees.

My main issue is if the temperature up the top is only 9 °F (same day last year) will my feet be too cold with just these shoes and a double sock system? Thanks!

Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57895 08/12/20 07:29 PM
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Keep an eye on weather forecasts and choose your footwear accordingly. Early October can be reasonably warm or miserably cold and the last years temperature is a poor predictor. Here is another thing to consider as a pice of footwear complimentary to trail runners: https://40below.com/product/forty-below-light-energy-overboots-tr-model/

Edit to add: IMO, La Sportiva Wildcat or Bushido are much better options for trail runners.

Last edited by Anton; 08/12/20 07:32 PM.
Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57896 08/12/20 08:45 PM
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RenRev,

I've day hiked Whitney in mid to late October numerous times. I have worn both hiking boots and trail runner shoes for the day hike up Whitney. I do prefer trail shoes any day, and as of late, my preferred hiking shoe. That being said, Whitney in October can throw some crazy cold weather at us. A few years back, I wore trail shoes (gtx) in late October and it was super cold. I climbed Mt Muir on the way to Whitney early morning and it had to be at least 18 degrees, but my feet were fine - did not get cold at all. I had my gators on, really good hiking socks, and the gtx probably helped my feet stay warm as well.

I would say that as long as you keep moving you should be fine. Or just get the Gtx version of the trail shoes.

Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
fit2climb #57897 08/13/20 08:40 AM
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Thank you for your response, good to hear the gators and good hiking socks kept your feet warm at 18-degree weather.

Based on this, I may now elect to get the Wildcross GTX over the Sense 4/Pro. Only have 6-weeks to break them in so hopefully that's enough, I will have my boots in the car in case the weather turns for the worst morning of.

Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57898 08/13/20 12:59 PM
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For me it's less temperature and more conditions that would dictate my shoe choice. Cold but dry - trail runners. Wet/snowy/icy or chance of wet/snow - probably boots or at least something more substantial.

Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57899 08/13/20 03:42 PM
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One important point. If temps get below 32F, don't lace your boots/shoes too tight. Too tight lacing can restrict blood flow to toes, resulting in possible frost-bite. Just a little caution that isn't mentioned often...

If you camp overnight in below 32F, keep your boots/shoes inside your sleeping bag with you. Put boots/shoes inside your sleeping bag sack to keep the sleeping bag dry. This will help prevent boots from freezing. I forgot this precaution one Feb night on Mt Tom, and had use my camp stove to try to thaw-out my frozen boots the next morning. The joke was on me. Ha Ha!

Whatever shoe/boots you choose, keep them dry.

Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57900 08/13/20 09:05 PM
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While not on Whitney, I have used trail runners in the snow and have used trail crampons and micro spikes on them. I didn't notice my feet get cold which I thought was odd considering they were not waterproof and my feet got wet. Of course when you stop, things start to chill quickly.

I would echo the comment about conditions. Dry/ cold- no problems with trail runners. If it's going to be more than just a little bit wet and cold, I'd probably choose waterproof boots. I'd avoid waterproof shoes because if they get wet inside from water leaking in, snow melting etc, they may take a very long time to dry. I'd rather have non-waterproof shoes at that point.

Last edited by MikeH; 08/13/20 09:06 PM.
Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57901 08/13/20 10:35 PM
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Although trail runners definitely work on snow (I used mine with crampons numerous times) and getting frostbitten on MWMT in early October is highly unlikely, someone who is not sure about their abilities should still be cautious. It is comforting to think that trail runners will work in very cold conditions as long as you keep moving, but what if you get stuck? I have climbed East Buttress and other technical routes in the range in winter wearing trail runner-like approach shoes with no issues, despite experiencing temperatures way below zero. We were constantly on the go. I also got frostbitten twice, both times wearing mountaineering boots with thick wool socks. In both cases, we were taking long brakes while navigating difficult terrain. These experiences also made realize that different people's feet have different susceptibilities to cold.

Last edited by Anton; 08/13/20 10:36 PM.
Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
Anton #57923 08/17/20 10:19 AM
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Thank you, everyone, for your responses! I am going to have my mountaineering boots in my car, so if I need them, I can put them on, should have a pretty good idea of weather conditions the afternoon prior.

We are camping at Whitney Portal the night of. Does anyone know if there is phone signal up at Whitney Portal to check the weather conditions/forecast before heading out?

Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
RenRev #57924 08/17/20 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by RenRev
Thank you, everyone, for your responses! I am going to have my mountaineering boots in my car, so if I need them, I can put them on, should have a pretty good idea of weather conditions the afternoon prior.

We are camping at Whitney Portal the night of. Does anyone know if there is phone signal up at Whitney Portal to check the weather conditions/forecast before heading out?

With Verizon Wireless I can get a 4G signal at the last bend in the road before Whitney Portal, but nothing beyond it. That is, I have parked at the portal and walked back down the road and stood on the other side of the guard rail to pick-up a signal. I've had no signal at the portal campground.

Last edited by futbol; 08/17/20 10:31 AM.
Re: Trail running shoes too cold in Oct for Mt Whitney?
futbol #57973 08/25/20 08:52 AM
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Great to know, thank you mate!

One last question, can I get away with light-weight gloves for Whitney in early October, even if 20F up top?

eg, Arc'teryx RHO glove

Last edited by RenRev; 08/25/20 09:09 AM.

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