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Boots for winter hike?
#59867 02/07/23 03:33 PM
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OpVos Offline OP
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I am looking to summit Whitney via Whitney Trail over two days later this month and was wondering what everyone would recommend for footwear. Obviously there is no forecast for those dates, nor do I know how bad the snowpack is. Regardless, what does everyone recommend?

Preferably, I would like to use my LaSpo Aequilibrium Top GTX (maybe with some toe warmers for summit) due to comfort and versatility but am concerned that it won't suffice once I reach trail camp. My other immediate options are the Nepal Evos or I can get burly with a pair of G2s which I'm assuming would be overkill right now for anything other than the M/R.

Re: Boots for winter hike?
OpVos #59868 02/07/23 05:48 PM
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dbd Offline
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Originally Posted by OpVos
I am looking to summit Whitney via Whitney Trail over two days later this month and was wondering what everyone would recommend for footwear. Obviously there is no forecast for those dates, nor do I know how bad the snowpack is. Regardless, what does everyone recommend?

This time of year you usually need some kind of skills and tool set to allow you to travel on top of the snow.

Originally Posted by OpVos
Preferably, I would like to use my LaSpo Aequilibrium Top GTX (maybe with some toe warmers for summit) due to comfort and versatility but am concerned that it won't suffice once I reach trail camp. My other immediate options are the Nepal Evos or I can get burly with a pair of G2s which I'm assuming would be overkill right now for anything other than the M/R.

You know the names of some nice boots. The boots you take up the trail should match the tools and skills you plan to use to travel on top of the snow. Are you planning skis, snowshoes, crampons, other people's boot packs? (It's a little early to count on boot packs unless you have a large group to make your own.) If the snow is all blown off, boot types don't matter much. If there is snow and you don't have skills and tools to travel on top of it, you shouldn't be taking any boots up the trail. That's the time of year it is.

You haven't given enough information yet to get any less general answer.

Good luck, Be safe,

Dale B. Dalrymple

Re: Boots for winter hike?
dbd #59869 02/07/23 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dbd
You know the names of some nice boots. The boots you take up the trail should match the tools and skills you plan to use to travel on top of the snow. Are you planning skis, snowshoes, crampons, other people's boot packs? (It's a little early to count on boot packs unless you have a large group to make your own.) If the snow is all blown off, boot types don't matter much. If there is snow and you don't have skills and tools to travel on top of it, you shouldn't be taking any boots up the trail. That's the time of year it is.

Hey Dale

The standard micro-spikes, 12-point crampons, non-technical axe, trekking poles will all be in my arsenal for travel - considering snow shoes dependent upon the responses I get here. I will be doing this ascent solo as well. I guess I am more so asking if anyone who has experience with winter ascent(s) on Whitney would approve of a lighter (insulated) boot like the Aequilibrium Tops/Nepals, or if I should just play it safe and go with a full-fledged double boot. Also curious on recent/current conditions because I would rather not have to hike with a full shank if a large portion of the hike doesn't even have snow.

I also plan to return shortly after for the M/R, in which case this distinction is obvious.

Re: Boots for winter hike?
OpVos #59870 02/08/23 01:09 AM
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dbd Offline
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This time of year there are seldom snow condition reports because this time of year the snow reports are seldom encouraging. Sometimes in dry years the trail on the backside can be blown clear, but this is a heavy early snowfall year. Crampons are unlikely to be helpful or even useful.

Should you find yourself in a situation where 'full-shank' or 'double-boot' are relevant to your progress, you are either way off route or you are in conditions such that you shouldn't be there at all.

Early season conditions in the higher parts of the Sierra are a good time to have current avi training,

Guide services that work the mountaineers route don't visit until the snow surface starts to set up for travel in the spring.

Good luck, Be safe

Dale B. Dalrymple

Re: Boots for winter hike?
OpVos #59871 02/11/23 10:34 AM
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I did Whitney last February, you can find the report in the trip report section, I used La Sportiva Trango GTX boots with "artic" socks by Carhartt. I had no problems with my feet being cold, but there was little wind and no clouds that day.

Not sure if you know anything about the road leading up, but the "middle" gate will likely be closed, and road conditions are..who knows. With this gate closed you will add on extra miles. I did it in a day and it was not a short day.

The trail conditions were there was no trail and it was all snow. Up on the summit it was somewhat clear due to the sun exposure, but there were some sketchy parts especially at the cables, which was nothing but a huge ledge. Another section leading to the incline before trail camp was a mess also and nothing but a huge slope of snow. Besides on the bottom half and right at the top, there will likely be no "trail". Especially this year with how much snow we got.

And as far as micro spikes, you will either be in boots or wearing crampons IMO.


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