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Boots for Rainier
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Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
Boots for Rainier on 04/27/2009 16:00:03 MDT Print View

I'm looking at a La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX as my climbing boots for summer summit trip to Rainier. Has anyone used these boots for mountaineering purposes?
I'm 115 lb woman and I'm not carrying a large load, so I'm really looking for something lightweight and simple. Would there be a problem with a cramp-on?
I was also considering Kayland Apex Trek . There are also the regular LaSportiva Trangos, but i'm not liking the feel.

Please help w/ advice!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Boots for Rainier on 04/27/2009 16:43:45 MDT Print View

Hi Elena,
I used the Trango Trek for a number of years for hiking, backpacking and the occasional snow climb. They flex too much for a step in crampon, but are fine for general purpose crampons and low angle snow/ice. I used them on the Emmons Glacier route in June, 1996, and they worked well for me. So, if you are doing something like the Emmons or D.C. route in the summer, you should be just fine. Make sure your waterproof them thoroughly. They are not a winter mountaineering boot or even shoulder season, IMO. Also a good general purpose hiking/backpacking boot if you are not a UL hiker. Very comfortable and "relatively" light.
Good luck on your climb!.
Tom

Hi again Elena,
I goofed. It was Lowa Trekkers that I used on Rainier. I replaced them with non GoreTex Trango Treks in the early 2000's. I used the Trango Treks a lot for snowshoeing and winter/spring snow climbs in conditions similar to what you will probably find on a summer climb of Rainier, so my other comments and recommendation still stand. The 2 boots have very similar performance characteristics and capabilities, with the Trango Treks being sighter by about 6 oz. If you end up with the GoreTex version, obviously disregard the waterproofing comment-stone age technology.
Sorry for any confusion my faulty memory may have caused.

Edited by ouzel on 04/28/2009 10:00:21 MDT.

Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
Trango Treks on 05/04/2009 12:29:36 MDT Print View

Thank you! I wonder, though, if I were to go on more technical climbs in the future, if it would make more sense to go with pure mountaineering boots like regular Trangos... But the much lower price of Treks is really seducing.

Some other questions though. I understand Treks are not compatible with semi automatic crampons?

Also, would you recommend aluminum or steel crampons? I understand one needs to take aluminum off if going via DC route (rocks)?

I also wear my hike shoes half size larger (my toes really hurt on descents when shoes are fit to size). Now with boots, do you recommend doing this? would there be a problem with the heals slipping off when you are going up steep terrain? (which I've noticed slightly happens with trail runners).

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Boots for Rainier on 05/04/2009 15:43:46 MDT Print View

Elena - I wore Zamberlan Civettas on an August climb on Rainier (DC route) a few years ago, and they did fine. The La Sportiva Trango Evo's are popular for climbing among the people I know. No one in our group wore plastic boots and didn't feel the need for them. At least 3 of us in our group of 9 wore Stubai aluminum 10-point crampons and did not take them off on the cleaver that was about half melted out. They were trashed afterwards, but I had no trouble filing them back to usability. The aluminum crampons are not for more technical ice climbing, however. A lot depends on the snow conditions when you go.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: "Boots for Rainier" on 05/04/2009 16:06:58 MDT Print View

It's all about the fit.

Try on numerous boots and wear them around as much as possible before the climb.

I have used both plastic and light-weight boots (Garmont Tower GTX being my favorite) on Rainier and elsewhere. I find that for most routes and conditions in the Cascades, something like the WMN'S TRANGO S EVO GTX [ http://www.sportiva.com/products/prod/284 ] work best. These boots are also lighter than the ones you mentioned. However, make sure that they fit you well, are comfortable, and that you have enough room in the toe box for descents & warm socks, while still keeping your heel secure.

La Sportiva's tend to fit narrower feet better, but models differ even among the same brand, so check out numerous brands also. Take a day, visit Marmot Mtn. Works in BV (or Backpacker's Supply In Tacoma), REI in Seattle, Feathered Friends across the street and Pro Mountain Sports and try on as many as you can. Let the staff fit your feet and be sure to take any insoles (ala Superfeet) that you plan on using. Bring your own thick socks also in order to get the most accurate fit.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Trango Treks on 05/04/2009 16:10:01 MDT Print View

Hi Elena

> I also wear my hike shoes half size larger (my toes really hurt on descents when shoes are fit
> to size). Now with boots, do you recommend doing this?

First mistake: thinking that such boots are 'fit to size'. If your toes can touch the front of the shoe while you are going downhill they are TOO SMALL!

A very common mistake made by far too many people. Your feet expand after a few hours: you need to buy shoes large enough for sustained use, not sized to look neat and elegant in the shop.

Cheers

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Trango Trek on 05/04/2009 17:10:29 MDT Print View

It's not that big of a deal to climb Ranier in Hiking boots via the Disapointment Cleaver or Emmons Glacier routs in summer. You definitely want to waterproof them and some vapor barrier socks might be nice on summit day. Just use all-strap crampons and you will be fine.

If you are going to go on climbing you are going to want a somewhat more technical boot though. The light, fairly stiff, sticky rubber-soled-and-randed boots are what works best for most of the Cascades. If you do much alpine climbing you will eventually buy a pair or three. Pretty much all the boot companies make this kind of boot these days and the best one is the one that fits you the best. Go to the previously mentioned retailers and buy the exact pair that fits best.

I've noticed that no-one owns just a pair of aluminum crampons. They would be fine for Ranier but not fine everywhere, and there are many times when they would slow you down signifigantly taking them off and putting them on. Speed and efficiency is often a matter of climbing rock, gravel, mud, and sometimes other things in your crampons. For general use you probably want steel ones, the aluminum ones are sort of a specialized thing for climbs when they are appropriate.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Trango Treks on 05/04/2009 18:27:37 MDT Print View

"Thank you! I wonder, though, if I were to go on more technical climbs in the future, if it would make more sense to go with pure mountaineering boots like regular Trangos... But the much lower price of Treks is really seducing."

"Some other questions though. I understand Treks are not compatible with semi automatic crampons?"

Hi Elena,
Lots of good advice by the above posters. If you're going to be doing more technical climbs, don't bother with the Treks. They are not designed for real climbing, and won't take a step-in crampon. Lots of better boots out there for climbing, as mentioned above. And definitely, go with a steel crampon if you're going to be doing technical routes.
One thing to consider if your toes are hitting the front of your boots, beyond sizing up, is to be sure your boots are laced properly to lock your heel into the heel cup. This will keep your feet from sliding forward if done properly. There are various techniques that allow you to leave the laces relatively loose across the instep area and tighten it in the lower shin area. I used to use a simple surgeon's
knot.

Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
thank you on 05/05/2009 18:10:24 MDT Print View

Thank you - all these are very thoughtful and helpful comments.

I will hit the stores now in search of those perfect mountaineering boots.