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Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/17/2007 11:36:01 MDT Print View

In this thread:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=995

Ryan J said that he uses the Trango S on Rainier in the summer. It seems that every guide service recommends plastic double boots. Has anyone has experience with gortex boots on Rainier in late July? We plan on taking the 5 day plan on Emmons Glacier (1 - Glacier Basin, 2 - Schurman, 3 - Review skills, 4 - Summit, 5 - Descend)

Thanks!
Bob

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/17/2007 11:55:28 MDT Print View

Hi Bob,

Double plastic boots are the standard of glacier mountaineering and most use them. Hoever, I've climbed Rainier (and most of our Washington volcanoes on many occasions) in leather boots. Lateley, I've switched to La Sportiva Trango S GTX. Last summer, I led a climb for three days on Rainier (same route as yours) in these boots and had wonderful luck. Without the warmer liner, you'll definitely want a roomy boot with a warm sock (I prefer Darn Tough or Smartwool). I also carried a vapor barrier sock but never needed it.

As far as climbing, I find these boots to be great for moderate front pointing and all French technique. They don't accept step-in crampons but are great with hybrids (and offer a bit of extra flexibility which makes them far superior on the long approach to Camp Sherman).

Bottom line- Ryan and I use the same boots and both have had great experiences on Rainier.

A few good places to look in Seattle (if that's where you are): Second Ascent, REI, and Pro Mountain Sports (the last being my favorite). I also tried on Kaylands which were similar but didn't fit me quite as well.

Have a great climb!
Doug

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/17/2007 11:56:19 MDT Print View

Also- here's my Trango review: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/la_sportiva_trango_s_evo_gtx_mountaineering_boot_review.html

Best of luck!
Doug

Kathleen Whalen-Burns
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/17/2007 13:10:42 MDT Print View

I wore my Zamberlan Civettas with thin liner socks and Thorlo backpacker socks during a 3-day climb (one of the guys in our group wanted 2 days on Muir to acclimatize) on Rainier using the DC route last August. They worked just fine. I did slather waterproofing on them right before the trip. I've never used plastic boots on glacier climbs.

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
AL crampons on Rainier on 04/18/2007 06:49:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll go the leather route and bring extra socks and VB just in case.

On a similar thread, what about aluminum campons on Emmons in late July? Should I have any problems with that?

Thanks,
Bob

Kathleen Whalen-Burns
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: AL crampons on Rainier on 04/18/2007 08:54:32 MDT Print View

My aluminum Stubais worked fine, but I had to resharpen them afterwards because the cleaver was mostly melted out and they took a clobbering. I even had to front point one step (I'm short!), and they held up.

Graham Williams
(crackers) - F
Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/18/2007 09:34:04 MDT Print View

One word Bob: liability.

The chances of a client messing up their feet with plastic or double boots on Ranier is small to infintesimal. The likelihood of somebody with absolutely no mountain experience not taking care of their leather boots and getting foot problems of one sort or another is significant.

There is no exogenous reason that you'll have problems with leather boots (or AL poons) on Ranier. Just remember that if they wet out, you'll have problems.

And bring a file with you if you're using the AL poons, and remember not to step on rocks. They've got a TON of snow up there right now, so the glaciers might still exist when you go up.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/18/2007 09:52:42 MDT Print View

I've worn Trango S's for winter ascents of Rainier as well, combined with Forty Below overboots. The preciseness of footing with a less substantial boot is a big deal when the routes are icy, and the Emmons will have ice even in July. Alan Dixon and I climbed the Emmons in October and the whole route was bullet hard ice. I'm glad I had flexible footwear and not double boots.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: AL crampons on Rainier on 04/18/2007 11:48:22 MDT Print View

Aluminum crampons should be fine- that's what I've used for the last few years. But be aware of their limits- they are not as strong as steel for front pointing ice (not a problem on the Emmons route), they have thicker teeth so they don't bite quite as well in really hard ice, and they dull more easily on rock sections. That said, I've climbed out of crevasses on aluminum crampons and plowed through rocks with no problem. I was more careful though, and sharpened them again when I got home.

Trango S boots with Camp aluminum crampons are my combination.

Like Ryan, I've used these boots in the winter on many occasions. I use an RBH Designs vapor barrier sock. I hear those 40 Below overboots are fantastic but I've never used them myself.

Doug

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/18/2007 11:58:52 MDT Print View

Well, I'm going to go for it then. Thanks for the advice.

Bob

pack nwcurt
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/18/2007 12:22:25 MDT Print View

I used plastics on Rainier right around 2000 and they were clunky and overkill. It's a loooong way up - and we got turned around at 13,000. Especially the Muir Snowfield - what a slog in plastics! We've done Adams a couple times since in leather boots (Zamberlans) and it was a million times more comfortable. I've been looking for a good pair of fabric boots like the Trangos, but they have a really narrow toe box that hurts in the shop - can't imagine them on the mountain. That search continues...

For crampons, I'd say it depends on the route. The D.C. route has a long stretch of rock in the middle depending on time of year. I'd pop them off or be prepared to ruin them on that. Rainier has had a ton of snow this year though, so that probably won't be a problem until August or September.

If I was going to accept a weight penalty, it'd definitely be in the crampons instead of the boots. My 2 cents at least.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Leather boots on Aconcagua on 04/18/2007 13:22:28 MDT Print View

Ive heard of leather mountainering boots being used on Aconcagua with double layer of RBH designs Vaprtherm insulated socks. This was used by the record holder to loose some weight on his feet.

If it could be pulled off on that kind of expedition, im sure it could be done on rainier as well without needing such a warm sock system.

(Im not sure if overboots were used??)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/19/2007 00:32:52 MDT Print View

> Double plastic boots are the standard of glacier mountaineering and most use them. Hoever, I've climbed Rainier (and most of our Washington volcanoes on many occasions) in leather boots.

I had a bit of an argument with the trip leader in Nepal, who wanted everyone to have double plastic boots. Sue and I refused and took light Scarpa leather boots of a generous size, with thick socks.

One member of the party who had plastics was in screaming agony up top: feet had swollen, but plastics don't move. No frostbite fortunately. Close. Hard to do good foot placement under those conditions of course.

Sue and I travelled much faster and had warm feet compared to the plastic-wearers.

OK, you might look silly trying to front point up an ice waterfall with our light leather boots, but they were great for ordinary walking and French technique (which is of course what the French technique was developed on).

Graham Williams
(crackers) - F
Re: Re: Re: Not using plastics on Rainier on 04/19/2007 08:17:54 MDT Print View

Roger: it sounds like your boots fit and theirs didn't...

My leathers work fine for vertical ice. In fact, leathers are pretty much the standard for vertical ice. ;)

Just by the by, the standard for hi end ice climbing mountaineering are non-plastic double boots like the lasport spantik. Plastics are dying out fast. The standard for hi end rock climbing mountaineering is leather. In that realm, plastics are dead.

J Her
(sailfast3r) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Leather boot fit Asolo Clif on 11/13/2007 22:26:44 MST Print View

A bit of a revival for an old thread...

On a related note. I have a pair of Asolo Cliff leather boots from 1999/2000. They are basically just barley broken in and unmolested in great condition. I have done some longer day hikes but nothing too technical because of fit.

My Cliffs are a 11.5 US (46EU) and the footbed fits perfectly for my narrow low volume foot with no rubbing or hot spots. I like the pully lacing system on the forefoot to get them really snug and tight on my foot.

My problem is my lower leg and calf area. I am pretty skinny and... well... I have chicken legs. It is really tough to get the upper portion of the boot to fit as well as the lower. I've done one pair thick socks, one pair thick socks and a silk liner, two pair thick socks with a liner and it's still a pain to get it right. I've experimented with lacing techniques but not had success.

Any tips or hints on how to get the leather uppers to be snug around a skinny leg? I really love these boots and in 2008 looking to do a pair of 14ers. I want to make sure that these boots are ready.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Re: chicken legs on 11/14/2007 10:24:49 MST Print View

I have skinny ankle/calf area too. After a few days wet, my old old Makalus would stretch a bit to the point of no more adjustability. One (crazy?) solution might be cutting the foot off a sock, to pad out just the ankle. Perhaps some foam and duct tape would be better. Post back if you come up with a great solution.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Chicken Legs on 11/14/2007 18:14:02 MST Print View

I've tried the cut-off-the-foot-of-the-sock, but that tube that is left tends to migrate around on my particular ankles. I've had better luck using lace-up ankle braces, not for any bracing effect, but just to fill in the volume.

J Her
(sailfast3r) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Chicken legs and socks on 11/15/2007 08:46:29 MST Print View

I was surfing around and it looks like I should look in to snowboarding socks. They appear to have much more volume around the upper ankle and calf area for added warmth while boarding. I am an avid alpine and nordic skier, but traditional ski socks have volume in the front of the sock, on the shin area for warmth and padded for ski boots. I am not too hopefull at this solution but I will give it a try.

I was thinking about neoprene socks or "gaiters" to take up the volume. Cut off the foot area of a pair of tight fitting neoprene wetsuit booties and they will not migrate as much.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
snowboard socks on 11/27/2007 01:45:40 MST Print View

My girl gave me some that were not too thick. Snowboard boots have thick soft liners.

R K
(oiboyroi) - M

Locale: South West US
Re: Chicken legs and socks on 11/27/2007 04:04:12 MST Print View

Just brainstorming here...You might try finding any type of knee length sock and fold it down several times to your ankle so that it adds the required thickness and doesn't move around.