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Boot help for Rainier climb next July

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby valleygirl » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:50 pm

It sounds like a lot of members have done the IMG Rainier climb, and it sounds like renting a pair of boots might be necessary. My feet don't necessarily get cold easily, so maybe I'll just bring my big heavy hiking boots in case they are OK for an early September climb. For those of you who have done this trip, what were you really glad you brought with you, and what did you really wish you had brought with you? Any advice for a novice would be appreciated!
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby nyker » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:40 am

Speaking of IMG: Here is a quote from their website, that I am pasting here verbatum:

Q: What type of boots are sufficient for Rainier?

We are often asked if single boots are adequate for climbing Mt. Rainier. The answer is a qualified yes.

Here is IMG's thinking:

For a first time climb of Mt. Rainier, you want to be as well prepared as possible. That means warm, waterproof boots. Double plastic boots provide the best possible warmth for your feet, they are completely waterproof, and they don't constrict your toes or ankles when worn with crampons attached. First time climbers will do well to choose double plastic boots, and IMG makes this simple by offering them for rent. We also strongly recommend double plastic boots in early summer (May and June) for all participants and we REQUIRE them on winter programs.

There are some very warm, insulated, waterproof synthetic or leather single climbing boots on the market these days. If you own a pair of single climbing boots (generally less than ten years old) and have used them successfully in cold weather environments previously, then single boots will probably work for you on Mt. Rainier.

There are a number of manufacturers who make very good climbing boots these days.

Here are some of the requirements your boots must possess:
•Must be fully rigid or ¾ rigid shank soled.
•Must be factory treated waterproof leather or synthetic waterproof
•Must have synthetic insulation
•Must be crampon compatible

If you are thinking about purchasing any type of boot, remember, the BEST boot to buy is the one that fits your foot the best. Go to a good outfitter that has multiple models to try on. If you do not have a good climbing store nearby, shop online through a knowledgeable climbing store with a good exchange policy. Ask for the store expert. If they do not have a boot fitting specialist, then go to another store. You will want to describe your foot, perhaps send in a tracing of it, describe the climbs you intend to use the boot on and be ready to order and return a couple of pair of boots in order to confirm the best possible fit. If you end up buying a boot that gives you blisters, get rid of it! Sell it on eBay and try again.

Following is a list of some of the MANY single boot manufacturers:

Scarpa, La Sportiva, Asolo, Boreal, Garmont, Vasque, Technica, Millet and more. Remember, you want a rigid, insulated, waterproof, lug soled mountaineering boot suitable for cold weather glacier climbing.

Following is a list of some of the double plastic boot manufacturers:

Scarpa, Koflach (also owned by Scarpa), Asolo and La Sportiva.

When to use plastic boots:•Early season (May and June) and winter
•If you are a First time climber, you should rent them
•If you are a person with compromised circulation or a history of cold feet
When to use single boots: •If you own your own boots and have used them successfully in similar conditions to Mt. Rainier
•During the peak summer season (July through September)
•If you have fit issues (very small, large, narrow or wide feet)
Late season suggestion:
If you are climbing in later season (after early August) it is often worth bringing a light pair of hiking or running shoes to wear on the first 2½ miles of the approach up to Pebble Creek. These are especially valuable on the way down if your feet are sore (or hot) in the double plastic boots.

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby Johnson » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:49 am

I spent some time with these a couple of weeks ago. Ordered a pair and spent about a week comparing them with the Scarpa Mont Blanc. I went with the Mont Blanc as they were a bit more roomy for my freak feet but was really torn about the decision as the Lowa's were very nice. IMO, the Weisshorn would be warmer than both the Nepal and the Mont Blanc. I say that only because the insulation felt thicker to me. Also, the footbed in the Lowa was higher quality and looked as though it was built for the purpose of keeping in warmth. With Zappo's free shipping each way, the Lowa is worth a look.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. - Psalm 95:4

"I would be doing myself a disservice and every member of this band if I didn't perform the hell out of this." - Gene

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby yedi » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:13 pm

valleygirl wrote:For those of you who have done this trip, what were you really glad you brought with you, and what did you really wish you had brought with you? Any advice for a novice would be appreciated!

Haven't seen a response to this, so I'll try to answer. Definitely bring earplugs. You'll stay in the Gombu at Camp Muir, and it is *very* loud at night. You've got a bunch of climbers who have been told to get really hydrated and then told to go to sleep. Expect to hear lots of grunts and shuffling and knocking as people struggle to don mountaineering boots in the dark and get to the outhouse before they accidentally test the wicking properties of their sleeping clothes. You probably won't get much sleep even with earplugs, but they help a bit. Other than earplugs, I can't think of anything I was super happy I brought. Use the gear list the guide services provide. They've got it pretty well dialed, so it'll get you what you need without a bunch of extraneous stuff. Focus on getting your pack weight down as much as possible. Since you're going guided, you don't need to bring a tent, or sleeping pads, or a stove or fuel. This means you can get your pack weight way, way down, which makes more for a more pleasant experience.

In terms of things that I wish I had brought, I'll answer this just from my experience. Others have had different experiences, so their recommendations will likely be different from mine. First, I wish I had brought a larger down jacket. I had a Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody and we were getting hit by 50mph gusts on the DC. I got really cold. I should have brought something with a little more fill. Second, I wish I had brought goggles with a lighter or clear lens. The wind we were getting stirred up a ton of dust on the Disappointment Cleaver, making it hard to see (see picture - that's dust, not snow). I had a pair of photochromic goggles, but they weren't bright enough to climb in at night. I wish I had brought goggles with a lens that I could have used at night.
DC Dust.jpg
DC Dust.jpg (35.39 KiB) Viewed 396 times

Finally, I wish I had brought different food. I had bagels with summer sausage and just couldn't stomach any more at the end. I should have brought something that I would have found more palatable at altitude.

Have fun. You'll have a great time. It's an unbelievable place.

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby valleygirl » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:35 pm

Great suggestions! I would not have thought of the clear goggles, and the earplugs are definitely on the list now. I have been told that the best food to bring is the food you will eat - whether it's healthy or not.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

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Re: Boot help for Rainier climb next July

Postby davebks » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:03 pm

Hi, too late to chime in?? The Nepals didn't fit my foot at all. I was bummed because people love them but I have a narrow heel and a wider front. So I went with a Salewa boot and couldn't be happier. Bent Gate had some great options and I LOVE these boots for everything in Colorado too. 15 miles? no problem.
Check out Salewas....

Honestly, I would avoid renting if you can afford boots. If you can't so be it, but fit is king and most important.


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