Posted by: Sphazo

Boots - 10/12/11 04:56 AM

Anticipating the upcoming winter mountaineering season (and the fact that my old boots finally bit the dust), I am in the market for a new pair of boots that will work well with my strap-binding crampons. Any recommendations....preferably in the non-heart-attack region of the price spectrum?
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Boots - 10/12/11 07:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Sphazo
Anticipating the upcoming winter mountaineering season (and the fact that my old boots finally bit the dust), I am in the market for a new pair of boots that will work well with my strap-binding crampons. Any recommendations....preferably in the non-heart-attack region of the price spectrum?

given your last requirement, there's only one place - ebay. At least that is how I manage to avoid the sticker shock on gear I want.

If you have some patience and know what size you're looking for, you should find some that fit and are under $200. Last year I bought brand new Koflach Actis Extreme that way ($430 boots for $130) but sold them - didn't like the hard plastic shell. Very much a blister boot if you have to walk anywhere in it.

Then I scored a pair of La Sportiva Trango Prime (the yellow insulated ones that look like the Trango line, and those have been fantastic once I put lot of sno-seal on them, almost as comfy as the red summer version of that boot. New they are $400, with $50 insoles. I got them for $180, after they climbed Rainier once. Really like these boots.

I haven't been quite as successful to get the touring ski boots I want at the price I can afford: the manufacturers in that market make less than they plan to sell for the season and there's no leftovers on any of the good models on sale at the end of the year, only the dud designs of overweight boots are cheap. If anyone knows where I can find a Dynafit TLT5 Mountain mondo size 28.5 for less than $699, let me know...

Posted by: 2600fromatari

Re: Boots - 10/12/11 10:29 AM

All my boots come from the Sierra Trading Post.;colorFamily=70

There are some really good hiking, and mountaineering boots suitable for automatic crampons, at steep discounts. The homepage typically has coupon codes and I get great coupon codes via email (35% off + free shipping) on top of the already discounted price.
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Boots - 10/12/11 12:37 PM

I've never found a boot in my size on sale at Sierra Trading Post, but if you have a foot that's either tiny or huge, those prices are great.

The Asolos are the only pair I could use, and they are rather heavy. I know somebody who has them, likes them, so if the price is right these will do any type of crampons.

Posted by: hikin_jim

Re: Boots - 10/12/11 01:20 PM

STP is the way to go -- if they have what you want and have your size.

It's totally worth it to get on their mailing list. They constantly give out coupons for up to 35% off.

Posted by: Sphazo

Re: Boots - 10/13/11 03:42 AM

Thanks for the STP info!! I didn't know about them! They don't seem to have anything in my size right now but I will keep checking around. Any thoughts on the Scarpa Charmoz GTX or Inferno? I hear the inferno's can really wreck your feet....never used a plastic boot so im not sure how comfortable it would be
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Boots - 10/13/11 04:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Sphazo
Any thoughts on the Scarpa Charmoz GTX or Inferno?

The Charmoz is very close to the La Sportiva Trango Prime I have, but cut a little wider in the foot (will fit most people better). Light, won't need any break-in period, but not super warm. My daughter tried them on once and she felt they were very much a clone of the La Sportiva Trango she wore before.

Plastic shell boots are a pain to walk in over long distances. The inner boot moves around in the heel area of the stiff outer shell, and you constantly wonder what that will do do your heel. It's almost like walking in ski boots. Heavy, but warm as long as you can keep the liners dry. Over longer trips, that means frequently taking them out of the shell to dry them.

For pure crampon trips like a glacier route up to Rainier, these probably are the best value that will keep you dry and not drop the crampons. Plastic boots just aren't very comfortable.

I took these to Whitney last April

and tried them for a warmup hike on Telescope Peak and they felt like I was walking in my ski touoring boots, so I turned around very quickly and put them back in the box. They are probably great for a winter ascent of Everest, but for conditions you will find in the Sierras they were complete overkill. My crampons that fit fine on my size 45 Trango boots were at the end of the adjustment scale on these, beyond the last 'safe' hole. I'd need size 12+ crampons to use on these size 11 boots. Sold them back on ebay for profit, so I guess I can't complain. Glad I tried them.

If I ever need a warmer boot that isn't ski-compatible, I will go with a more modern design like the Scarpa Phantom Guide or the La Sportiva Batura Evo - except those are $$$. I think for anything than extremely cold winter days, my Trango Prime boots will be warm enough, and if you add a full boot thermal gaiter, you can extend the temperature range of a lighter boot quite a bit:

Posted by: KevinR

Re: Boots - 10/13/11 02:56 PM

I've used plastic boots for many years, and it's doubly important to get a good fit right from the start, because for all intents and purposes, there's no break in. The linings compact a tiny bit, but not much. The best way to fit them is to go to the store in mid-afternoon with your own socks and sockliners, and try on 2 or 3 different models. They each will fit differently. Wear them for at least a couple of hours in the store, and by then you should have a good idea whether they'll fit.

When I was buying plastic boots, the Scarpa Inverno (and it's Inverno, not Inferno) fit the best. I was hoping it would, as it's been the gold standard in expedition mountaineering for many years. My Invernos are the generation before the current all black model. As for being comfortable over a long day - I have no complaints. My longest days in them would be something like Shasta from Bunny Flats as a day hike. The third year I had them I did Rainier from Camp Shurman and down to White River Campground - about 4K' up, and 7K' down, and probably around 16 miles? I never get blisters with them. They're a bit beat up now, and on their third pair of laces, but have been with me on lots of adventures.

In any case - while double leathers are quite warm, if you want the warmest, get plastic. And get the ones which fit - not necessarily the ones on sale.
Posted by: Harvey Lankford

Re: Boots - 10/23/11 05:31 PM

Originally Posted By: KevinR
go to the store in mid-afternoon with your own socks and sockliners,

I had been told years ago when I bought my Invernos to use liners plus two pairs of socks. Of course this depends on where you are going, but the extra thick cushioning allows for fit, and allows for more warmth if you plan to use them in subzero areas. This gives maximum usage for the boots - you cannot simply add double socks, say, if you anticipate an extra cold time, unless there is room in the boot to begin with. (Stuffing extra socks into a 'regular fit' will actually make your feet colder because of the resultant tighter fit compressing your circulation). Loose is better, no, actually it is required. The combination of (1) inner boot, and (2)loose enough fit for double wool socks, and (3) outer plastic shell impervious to wind and water, did the trick. I never had cold feet despite temps to minus 10F and thin air.
Posted by: catpappy

Re: Boots - 10/24/11 06:40 PM

Something to ponder here:

Fitting tips here:

The La Sportiva Nepal Evo has quite a following.