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Mountaineering and Ice Climbing Boots
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Kari Post
(karipost) - MLife

Locale: New Hampshire
Mountaineering and Ice Climbing Boots on 11/03/2012 14:16:03 MDT Print View

I'm looking to get a pair of multi-purpose mountaineering and ice climbing boots. Weight is a consideration, but not the only one. I'm hoping for a boot that will work for both hiking and technical climbing, and my hands and feet tend to run fairly cold. I've got a somewhat wider foot but narrow heel and a medium arch, or at least I find that the most common issues I have with shoes are that they are too narrow in the ball of the foot area but slip in the heel (of course, this is a problem I encounter mostly with non-athletic shoes because who designs women's shoes anyway). I own both men's and women's footwear that are comfortable, depending on the actual model.

The only mountaineering boots I've ever used are rented Koflach Arctis Expe's and I have not yet gone ice climbing but plan to get into it this winter and would like a pair of double-duty boots. The most extreme conditions I've winter hiked in was a winter summit of Mount Washington (NH) in -12 degree (-52 with wind chill) temps. This winter, I have a trip to climb Cayambe (18,996 feet) in Ecuador, but I expect that most of my mountaineering and climbing will be done in the United States.

I do plan on going to EMS or IME to try on boots and talk to the folks there, but I wanted to do some background research first. Price is a factor, but I can prodeal La Sportiva, Scarpa, Lowa, and Koflachs (and maybe some other brands as well) so I'd be interested in learning about boots in a variety of price ranges. In general, boots with an MSRP of around $500 or less are probably within my budget.

(PS: I know this topic may be a bit out of place on BPL, and I'd appreciate if anyone could point me towards articles or another forum that would help. Thanks!)

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Mt Boots on 11/04/2012 17:38:14 MST Print View

"I'm hoping for a boot that will work for both hiking and technical climbing..." I'm no expert, but I don't think that is possible. Technical climbing requires a stiff sole, hiking boots require a bendable sole. It might not occur to you, but many expert climbers willl not go on a multi-day climb with single boots, i.e. boots with no removeable inner boots. With inner boots, like the $750 Spantiks or the $500 (?) Baruntses, you take them to bed with you, inside your sleeping bag, and let them dry out and warm up. Single boots like the leather Nepals are great for one-day climbs, but once they get wet on a multi-day climb, there is no way to dry the leather.

whitenoise .
(whitenoise) - F
I'd go with doubles on 11/13/2012 12:21:05 MST Print View

Kari, I would advise you to visit You'll get a better response there.

First, I don't think you're going to find a single boot that will pull double duty for winter climbs and general mountaineering.

General advice would be to look at the Spantik or Baruntse. You have other options such as the Batura and Phantom Guide, which are single boots with an integrated gaiter, but since you get cold feet I think the double boots are a better choice. For the conditions you mentioned, a single boot (such as Nepal Evo) won't cut it.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
cross country ski boots, good enough for the Great Couloir on Everest on 11/13/2012 13:57:07 MST Print View

"the Great Couloir first climbed by the Australians, Tim McCartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer (without O’s) in 1984. Tim cut the new route in a pair of cross-country ski boots after losing his climbing boots in an avalanche."

Don't risk your toes. You can make most anything work, (see above) but make sure you
stay warm.

I have hiked a lot in Koflach double boots, both stiff soled and flexible versions, prefer
flexible for everything, but I don't lead steep ice. As mentioned by others, inner boots and insoles you can dry at night, along with VBL socks will help a lot.

Even Sorels or Bunny boots with strap crampons work, to a degree for snow climbs. If you
really like Ice climbing, you will probably want a specific pair just for that at some
point. Better to start with something less specialized.

Edited by oware on 11/13/2012 14:09:43 MST.


Locale: Western Michigan
Mountaineering and Ice Climbing Boots on 11/14/2012 10:46:16 MST Print View

Kari....Looking for USED boots & Climbing Gear.You will find a larger selection out WEST. Check out the Yard Sale at

Scott Ireland
(WinterWarlock) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
Koflach on 11/26/2012 09:26:08 MST Print View

I'm curious as to what you did, or didn't, like about the Koflachs..

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
koflach ultras and polos on 11/27/2012 12:36:33 MST Print View

For cold I do like the stiff Koflach Ultras. Still a very light option even today.

For slop and summer volcanos the polos (mid height and flexible and way light) are my favs.

Both take clamp on or strap crampons, but I wouldn't trust the clamp on versions would stay on for serious ice.

Michael Bachman
(rivrfox) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Koflach Viva Soft Lady Mountaineer boots Wm 8 like new. on 11/27/2012 13:22:56 MST Print View

Ok, first noted I don't have a lot experience as a mountaineer. More with backcountry touring and SARS. Anyhow, hope this helps.

Check out La Sportiva Spantik, Batura or maybe koflachs or scarpa invernos with intuition denali liners (no experience with any of these expcept the spantiks). On sale or with patience you should be able to find these in your $range. Maybe even look at some of Kaylands boots but they may be secondary in quality and custy service to what I mentioned above. Cheers,

The denali liners should shave 2 lbs. or so and keep you warmer..

So negatives about double plastic boots is that they tend to bruise shins and can be brittle at super high altitudes.

Locally I was searching our shopper and found

FOR SALE: Koflach Viva Soft Lady Mountaineer boots - very warm and hardly used. Ladies size 8. Asking $75. 497-0260

This might not be the boot for 6000m climb but I've heard great things for what you want to do in general. You can also substitute a Koflach Degre Liner Scarpa
which I'm guessing will be warmer and lighter.

If anyone is interested in the boots pm for the area code. They're in Crested Butte. The ad came out today on Wednesday.

Check back and update on how things are going, other trip reports, etc. thanks!

Edited by rivrfox on 11/28/2012 16:44:36 MST.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
My $.02 on 12/13/2012 00:45:27 MST Print View

personally, i've been using scarpa omegas for ice and snow hikes. why, you may ask. well, when i go on trips, my boots will get wet, no matter what. whether from sweat or snow, they'll some how get damp, and anything but plastic will freeze at night unless you sleep with them in your bag. with plastic boots, theres nothing to freeze on the outer shell, and the intuition inner bootie doesn't absorb water and can be worn without the outer shell around camp and in your sleeping bag (which is very useful when you have to go pee in the middle of the night). I find that my omegas climb vertical ice and rock pretty well with crampons (not as well as fruit boots, but thats a different class of boot), they are very light for a full plastic boot, and they have enough ankle flex and the foam will give enough to make them okay to use on approaches, even flat ones.

I find my omegas work best when using a thin, knee high wool ski sock, a integral designs vapor barrier sock, and then an outer mid weight wool sock. this make it so the main insulation properties of the outer sock are not compromised by sweat, eliminates any vapor heat loss, and with three layers i don't get blisters if the laced correctly.

the only other boot that i've been very interested in trying are the new Salewa Pro boots, however they are not double boots. the switchable sole is interesting still.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: My $.02 on 01/09/2013 17:14:54 MST Print View

I ended up settling on Scarpa Phantaplastics for my mountaineering initiation. They're a lot lighter than I'd anticipated, and nigh indestructible, so used are a great option, as are rentals so that you can try them out.

Once you learn the lacing trick, which is to say keep the outer boot LOOSE, they're very comfortable... in snow and ice. One of the guides said that he went so far as to not lace the outer boot on his double plastics all the way up, stopping at the ankle. He let his gaiters hold the top in place.

Even when laced properly however, they are pretty miserable on nice ground where flexible boots or trail runners are great.

Dedicated mountaineering boots are pricey, but if you're going to be tramping around in deep snow and on ice for extended periods, worth it.

BTW, my Phantaplastics were $380 new before the member discount at REI.