Boots for Washington
I've been renting plastics for a while but I'm looking to purchase a mountaineering boot for use on Washington as well as future expeditions in Alaska and South America. I work at REI so I am trying to find one that I can get a good deal on (meaning we carry the brand). I wanted to see what you guys suggest, and I also really like this boot: http://www.rei.com/product/757631 but of course it is "classified" as an ice-climbing boot, even though the Vasque website calls it a general mountaineering boot. Anyone know anything about this one and how it would fare hiking Washington?
Other boots I am interested in....
Asolo Broad Peak - http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_d...34374302889916
Lowa Mountain Expert GTX - http://www.lowaboots.com/catalog/Sho...egory=1&Type=M
La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light - http://www.rei.com/product/768802
Kayland Apex XT - http://www.guideschoice.com/scripts/...?idproduct=951
Obviously everyone's feet are different, but looking for opinions on the "nuts and bolts" of these. I'm also a pretty small-framed dude so lightweight is important to me.
I'm not up to date on the latest mountaineering boots but what works for Mount Washington, Cascade peaks or even South America is not usually enough for Denali. Most people have two pairs.
DJ - here's something to consider regarding winter mountaineering boots. One piece boots are fine for ice climbing and 1 day trips, but 2 piece boots - those with a separate removeable liner and an outer shell - are pretty much the standard for multi day expeditions - here's why:
After a long day of climbing your feet will perspire even in the cold and the insides of the boots will become damp. Damp one piece boots will freeze overnight, making for very cold feet in the morning when you put them on. With 2 piece boots, you can sleep with the liners either in your sleeping bag or right next to your bag and they'll dry out at night. I usually put them with me in my bag and in the morning they are dry and toasty. For high altitude climbing the Koflach artis expe is my choice, but the Scarpa inverno's with high altitude liners would be good as well. I've used both on Mount Washington as well. Hope this helps.
I have had my Scarpa Invernos for almost 20 years. I suggest a pair of plastic double boots, like the Scarpa is, with two liner boot sets. That way you can swap em out at the end of each day. Do not buy single wall boots, even if they are gore-tex, etc. Those are primarily popular for water ice routes, and not good for long slogs up Denali or other such mountains.
Plastics seem like the way to go then. Just curious, what is everyone's thoughts on overboots like the OR Ranger? Obviously they would have no grip unless used with crampons, but just asking.
Plastics vs. Sorels
For anything in the Whites, including Washington via winter Lion's Head route, I prefer Sorels with strap-on crampons simply because they are lighter and more comfortable. I have a pair of plastics and they feel like cinder blocks on my feet. Of course for truly technical routes on Washington you probably need plastics.
I looked for a "do all" boot a few years ago but the reality is they just don't exist. The closest you can get to a do all boot in my opinion is the Sportiva Spantik. Sure they are expensive but man are they nice. I ended up with the following-
Millet Alpinist boot - Synthetic, Gore-Tex & Kevlar with a full rand. Used for day trips in the Whites.
Koflach Degre - Typical plastic double boot. I upgraded the liner to an Intuition.
Even though you are trying to stick to brands that REI sells you may need to look elsewhere if you are unable to satisfy your needs. Buy based on what feels & fits right. You wont think about the price when your feet are toasty and safe.
I have the Scarpa Invernos and love them. I am planning on purchasing the high altitude liners while I am up in Alaska next June. I have also heard really good things about the Millets although I have not tried them.
I pair my Scarpas with a pair of the SuperGaitors (WildLine). They make the boots super warm and if I get too hot I just unzip the gator a bit!
I just picked up a pair of La Sportiva Evo Nepals for ice climbing but have not tried them yet. Right now my Scarpas are my ice climbing and expedition boots.
I agree, buy what feels comfortable. I had the Invernos, they fit horribly, and left permanent calluses on my shins. I have the Degre's now and they are so comfortable. Don't let anybody tell you the boots should be uncomfortable.
Spend whatever it takes to get the right boot. The consequences are too severe if you don't. Not to mention for more expensive.
My kit has always been Scarpa Invernos with OR Crocidile gaiters (tall). I use Lowe Footfangs for my crampons. Yes Footfangs!
Like Bill said, never let anyone tell you the boots are supposed to hurt your feet. Everyones feet are different. The Scarpas just fit my foot well.
Gonna look into those High Altitude liners dangergirl is talking about. My knowledge of the latest and greatest is a little dulled.