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why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!!
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Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/21/2008 01:02:46 MDT Print View

... when you can wear UL GTX boots like Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX with Aerogel/climashield XP socks!

I am really puzzled. From what I have learnt the only reason plastic boot are prefered is because they are warmer. You can buy aerogel insole here:
http://www.sahalie.com/jump.jsp?itemID=10974&itemType=PRODUCT&RS=1&keyword=insole#detailsAnchor

and can make UL socks of Climashield XP and there you are warm.

Or am I missing something?

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
sometimes, just sometimes on 04/21/2008 14:31:31 MDT Print View

Sometimes it is a very fine balance between weight, stiffness [for crampons], and insulation value.
I agree climbers overkill with the boots but in Alaska, the Andes, Himal, Patagonia or Canadian Rockies[sorry easterners, I don't know about climbing Mt.Washington in the winter] speed ascents with light equipment is tempered with being pinned down by weather or avalanche conditions.
After 57 years I still have ten toes and nine and one half fingers...it would be nice if we all could move as quickly as Mark Twight.
Every piece of equipment needs to be balanced between light and fast and smart and safe, speed is safety, but managing your personal resources becomes a huge issue in the winter.
I work outside all winter in the Cascades and play around a lot with footwear and insulatator combinations, but when I go climbing on the volcanoes or in winter I put my game face and plastic boots on. Believe me I would climb in ballerina slippers if I could pull it off.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Plastic Boots on 04/21/2008 22:07:31 MDT Print View

I'm no expert, but my impression is that stiff, double plastic boots with overboots are obsolete. The La Sportiva Olympus Mons are not like the old Koflach plastics, they are made of high-tech composites, they have built-in gaiters, so you don't need separate gaiters, and they have enough insulation that you don't need overboots (you do need $850). Sportiva has several models that grade down in warmth from the Oly Mons, and climbers seem to buy all their models, which they wouldn't do if the lightest model was warm enough for any situation.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/21/2008 22:45:27 MDT Print View

ok, suppose this is my footwear gear list:
>wool liner
>inflated socks made of aerogel insole, 2.5 oz climashield XP and waterproof/silnylon shell
>Trango S Evo GTX

You have to inflate it a little because the shell is non breathable. It also help the from compressing. Silnylon acts as vapor barrier.

Aerogel has the highest R value of any insulation,
translating into the highest practical Clo value. my question is wouldnt climashield XP keep you warm, atleast while you are active? When you stop you can just pull over down booties.

Peter Fogel
(pgfogel) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Plastic boots on 04/21/2008 22:47:18 MDT Print View

How extreme are we talking about? Stiffer, heavier boots work better with crampons which can be necessary in some situations. These boots definately are warmer as well. Just how cold do you expect it to be?

I like to use GTX trail runners whenever possible. There are crampons made specificly for trail shoes. If you have good socks and keep moving, you tend to stay warm enough. I believe some of the extreme sled racers have used only GTX trail runners very successfully when crossing the Arctic on foot!

I don't cross the Arctic but I do carry a pair of NEOS OVERSHOES just in case I need something more. Check them out. You may find this to be a reasonable alternative to heavy boots.

I really think the key here is about how fast you will be moving. When extremely cold conditions are involved, every situation is different with potentially dangerous consequences. It's probably better to be safe than sorry!

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/21/2008 23:41:49 MDT Print View

How extreme are we talking about?

how about eight-thousanders and seven summits?

I havent had any mountaineering exprience yet but I have two hikes planned in himalayas and I also plan to do basic mountaineering course this year. I like going fast and I am a believer in SUL. SUL doesnt neccessarily have to compromise safety. I think the key is to use right combination of fabrics, multi use and proper technique.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/22/2008 06:33:53 MDT Print View

"how about eight-thousanders and seven summits? "

Huzefa,
You aren't alone in your thinking (double plastics being overkill). This was discussed a while back - I was very interested.

Check out this thread:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/4647/index.html

Edited by Steve_Evans on 04/22/2008 06:34:31 MDT.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/22/2008 07:24:32 MDT Print View

Steve, thanks for the link. I dont want this thread to be a repetition. I hope this thread will make more people seriously consider aerogel. I like what Roger said:

The point I was trying to make about really getting to understand your physiology is a bit like the arguments about SUL gear. Sure, a few of us know about it and practice it - but the vast majority of walkers don't - yet.

I could equally point to Ryan's efforts at SUL in the snow and the Arctic 1000: possible, but few walkers have gone that far YET.


There are many exprienced climber out there but I find most of them not open to adapt to the latest advances in technology. No disrespect meant to anyone. This something I have observed in all sphere of life not just backpacking.

Peter Fogel
(pgfogel) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Plastic Boots on 04/22/2008 07:47:27 MDT Print View

I personally do not think Aerogel insoles are a magic bullet. I've played around with them, but actually stopped using them. I feel a truely proper fitting shoe is much more important. I personally like GTX, XCR the best in shoe applications. The shoes must not fit too tight and should have a decent amount of adjustability. I also use thick Merino wool winter running socks. They fit tight but are not restrictive.

If you take a good class, you'll have a chance to try out some of these ideas without risking your feet and possibly your life.

Good luck.

Mike Hinsley
(ArchNemesis)

Locale: England, UK
Re: Why do you need stiff....... on 04/22/2008 11:58:12 MDT Print View

I've used both plastic rigid and heavy leather boots in deep snow. I've also used ordinary boots on a glacier (without crampons).

I found that the plastic boots were unwearable after a few days (but they were borrowed) and the leather boots almost as bad.

The thing is that you never know what is under the snow. You could be walking along post-holing through the snow as you go and then you suddenly hit a hidden rock or a hidden hole and your ankle might collapse.

If you try step-kicking in snow with soft boots on you will soon understand why you need rigid boots.

This is one area where you need to get some practical training and see and feel for yourself what benefits boots might bring.

Derek Goffin
(Derekoak)

Locale: North of England
step kicking with soft shoes/boots on 04/22/2008 12:27:47 MDT Print View

If the snow becomes too hard to step kick with light flexible shoes it is probably time to put on your crampons as an alternative to giving up on light shoes.

Jeremy Cleaveland
(jeremy11) - F

Locale: Exploring San Juan talus
why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/22/2008 12:52:32 MDT Print View

I haven't used plastic boots mountaineering boots, but do have plastic telemark ski boots. They are really warm, and require much less maintenance than traditional leather boots. With a plastic shell and a closed cell foam liner, there is nothing to absorb water, so they don't freeze overnight, which is especially important on longer trips. If you get the thermo-formable liners it really cuts on weight and makes them fit better. Whenever possible I'll use running shoes, even with crampons, but for real winter mountaineering on steep, hard snow, you'll need warm stiff boots.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
plastic versus leather on 04/22/2008 15:41:26 MDT Print View

I've used plastic and leather boots on all the Cascade volcanoes, in Alaska, and on two peaks in the Himal. I'm a big fan of Intuition liners, but the key word is the statement "winter mountaineering". I am infering he is not talking ice and snow ascents during the traditional climbing seasons but winter ascents. Am I missing something here. There is a huge difference from putting up an ice route or mixed ascent and a winter ascent... You might take a look at Mark Twight's book, Extreme Alpinism....you might also be able to glean what type of boots Steve House used on Nanga Parbat by chasing down some of the articles.
These two come to mind when you speak of light weight at altitude, the other source I would pick on would be Will Steger.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!!" on 04/22/2008 20:57:49 MDT Print View

larry, sorry about the confusion. I dont particularly mean winter ascents. Most people summit everest in summer. But it is so cold out there that they need a plastic boot to say warm. So my point is why cant you wear less warm GTX mountaineering boots (I am not talking about trail runners) with aerogel insole and climashield socks?

Edited by huzefa on 04/22/2008 21:27:59 MDT.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
well... on 04/22/2008 22:06:59 MDT Print View

well, your socks will be compressed if their synthetic puffy insulation as you lace up the boot. Also if you size bigger for that, your foot will likely slide around making for a poor climbing fit and giving rise to blisters ect even if your just walking.
If your climbing technical ice, the trango S are too soft for prolonged frontpointing.
The good alpinists do go VERY fast and VERY light, but they know where to cut weight. A boot like the Trango Extreme(?) is designed to insulate as well as to climb well. A much better winter, to even all season, choice then the Trango S. House used La Sportiva Spantik's on his ascent, and that or the Nupse might be a better choice for prolonged winter trips as you can dry out the booties in you bag overnight. Also you could use the Trango Extreme with a VBL sock, not as warm as a full double boot but pretty warm. I've heard of some hardcore climbers using boots like the Spantik with a Intuition liner for winter assents of the 8000m peaks.

The issue with reluctance to try new technologies is that many of them fail to live up to expectations.
For mission critical gear, like my boots, I'd like to stick to technologies that both work and have few opportunities for failure in the field. Inflated socks, would fall outside of that categorizes, IMO.
Also, if you inflate them hard enough to resist the pressure of the laces, I think your going to fins that they bind uncomfortably or burst as you take a step.

IMO, go get the 'standard recommended gear', go get some experience, let us know how it went, AND THEN think about new and radical ways of cutting weight. As fun as it is, I would love to hear your ideas, but once their tempered by experience.

Edited by nanookofthenorth on 04/22/2008 22:14:03 MDT.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/22/2008 22:54:43 MDT Print View

>IMO, go get the 'standard recommended gear', go get some experience, let us know how it went, AND THEN think about new and radical ways of cutting weight. As fun as it is, I would love to hear your ideas, but once their tempered by experience.

Robert, you are absolutely right. I need to get exprience but till then I cant help thinking about new ideas. Its my fav past time.

>well, your socks will be compressed if their synthetic puffy insulation as you lace up the boot.
>Also, if you inflate them hard enough to resist the pressure of the laces, I think your going to fins that they bind uncomfortably or burst as you take a step.

what about making thicker socks say 5oz XP -non inflating. Even if they are compressed they will still be as warm or I guess warmer then 2.5oz Xp socks.

>If your climbing technical ice, the trango S are too soft for prolonged frontpointing.

I have done some research and I came to the same conclusion but they are great for general mountaineering. I am still in search for a light shoe that balanced general mountaineering with ice climbing. I will look into Trango Extreme.

Edited by huzefa on 04/22/2008 23:01:20 MDT.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/23/2008 00:34:44 MDT Print View

-delete-

Edited by huzefa on 04/23/2008 08:18:37 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/23/2008 07:57:37 MDT Print View

A couple of helpful articles and reviews on the topic:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/la_sportiva_trango_s_evo_gtx_mountaineering_boot_review.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lightweight_footwear_systems_for_snow_travel_part_3.html

Personally, I use vapor barrier/insulated socks by RBH Designs combined with wb/b footwear for all of my winter backpacking and mountaineering these days. For winter trips, I use GTX runners by Inov-8 and for mountaineering, I use the Trango s gtx boots. I've been very happy with the compination.

If you skip the insulated boots (double/plastic), you'll want to think hard about vapor barrier systems. The Overboot is another great idea- I'd stick with 40 Below on this- the tread of the Neos system is not designed for mountaineering.

I've taken my system on numerous winter trips as well as climbs up Rainier and other high volcanoes.

However, I would not rely on high-loft socks or anything that required air to maintain loft. The environments you're describing are too harsh to accept that level of complexity or risk.

Thinking about 7 summits, these will require different setups depending on the application. I'd make selections for your first trip(s) Huzefa, and then you'll have the experience to make decisions for the coming trips.

Best of luck!
doug

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/23/2008 08:20:54 MDT Print View

Doug, thanks for the links. Unfortunately I am not member yet.

I found two very informative reading on mountaineering boots.

>Ryan jordan's post where he explains why you need different boots and his recomendations:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/103/index.html

>Article by AAI guide Kurt Hicks:
http://aai.cc/expert_tips.asp#footwear

I reread all the above post and the comments make more sense to me. This is what I understand:

>I can use my trail runners for glaciers and rock/approach with SUL loads.
>For snow I need snow shoes or skis.
>For hard ice I need stiff/full shank crampon compatible boots.

Thomas Tait
(Islandlite) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: why do you need heavy, stiff double plastic boots and insulated overboots for winter mountaineering?!! on 04/23/2008 09:41:39 MDT Print View

I'm with Doug on the GTX and the Trango S. Work great for the intended conditions.

For very cold or high altitude technical mountaineering/ice climbing I picked up a pair of Scarpa Omega plastic boots this season. At 4lb 9oz they are featherlight compaired to my old gear. I was impressed. They were very warm and far less bulky making foot placement easier. I have to admit I had to work a little more on hard waterfall ice to get the crampons to stick. Those heavy boots are good for something!

Huzefa don't forget that at high altitude "fast" is a relative term. There are just some days you feel like crap, move pretty slow and don't put out a lot of heat to keep your extremities warm. Test out your stuff before you go. Keep your toes.