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Messages 1 - 60 of total 60 in this topic
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 18, 2010 - 11:51pm PT
Climb in hiking boots and you'll understand why the YDS made 5.9 the hardest freeclimbing rating.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:00am PT
Warbler, very true. But there is one aspect of this issue that is really important today. I began in Cortinas and then Spiders. They were board lasted lightweight boots but stiff as hell. And we wore than extremely tight as well. In offwidth such stiffness is a huge huge plus usually. It is also amazingly precise and makes you climb precisely.

Oblique heel-and-toe placements were incredibly powerful, not to mention regular 90 degree ones. And when you would stem out to an edge you got, again, giant power. And finally, your toes and feet did not get as tired as quickly because the shoes were doing so much work. Eventually when you got Spiders and similar shoes broken in, you could semi-smear even. BUT let's not forget that the rubber was NOT sticky but actually nearly hard and so this made you square yourself off all the time on edges--- not necessarily a good thing but again if it worked, it was more restful. Finally the shoes were kind of tall and had complete ankle protection. You could press with all your might on those ankles and still be semi-okay in offwidths and similar situations.

The natural transition for me was then to wear PA's. They were pretty damned stiff too but way more form-fitting and light. You could edge bigtime on them but again smearing was miserable. They were not so much a granite shoe in this respect but in offwidths they were pretty incredible especially since again they were kind of high and protected your ankles really well.

Eventually I gave up stiff shoes for things like 5.10 Newtons and Acopa JB's but still pine for the days of stiff shoes.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:05am PT

You can still do it!
Mixed climbs, or even early season climbs in the mountains
can be done in boots. It's nice to have stiff soled ones,
but you can edge, climb cracks, etc. . .
Not good on smearing, but they work!
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:05am PT
I sure liked my blue RR's a lot better after I broke all the knobs under the balls of my feet!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:06am PT
You remind me, Peter, of how good my RRs felt in cracks wider than 4".

Anybody ever stick some sticky rubber on the rands and soles of a pair for offsize?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:08am PT
Did my first wall in Garmisch boots although I'd worn Kronhaufers for years.










Oops!
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:12am PT
What Peter said.

We wore only stiff boots in the Alps and Himalayas.
Easy transition from crampons to the rocks.

The added benefit there is that they kept your feet warm.

Not to mention that the weight of the things helped develop more leg muscles
on both approaches and the rock!
The user formerly known as stzzo

Social climber
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:51am PT
Try it. It's not a big deal.

Climb in tennis shoes at the gym. It'll improve your technique.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:18am PT
One of the shoe manufacturers should make a shoe that is board-lasted, high and a bit stiff in the upper as well but soled with our modern rubber. Don't start padding and insulating it though. I think they would sell the hell outta of them. Especially once they got "understood". Taller than a Kaukulator and a bit stiffer. Ankle fully, yes fully covered, no exception.

I had my Kaukulators soled with Stealth rubber and it was awesome. Still have them too. But the shoe was still too low and could have been stiffer. I mean, stop this smearing, bendy business. We accept special shoes for situations, why not for offwidths too!?!

The softer the shoe the worse for offwidths and cracks just below that size. I watch less experienced climbers trying to offwidth in slippers and similar and it is just a nightmare for them. And pointless.

And the softer the shoe, the stronger you have to be in your toes and feet. And maybe too, your upper body since you're smearing so much which sets up this whole unrestful arrangement.
DonC

climber
CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:20am PT
mid 60's - Tahquitz. There wasn't anything else at the time.
West Lark - Tahquitz
West Lark - Tahquitz
Credit: DonC
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:28am PT
I really like what Peter says about shoes, especially edging and wide stuff. Although I started a little later, my first shoes were Spiders, and I was climbing at Castle Rock S.P. where the sloper and friction reigns supreme. I got pretty good anyway, because you use what you have, but E.B.s were a revelation at Castle. When I finally got to Yose, there were a few climbs where I wish I had my Spiders.
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:37am PT
Once I realized that heavy hiking boots with Vibram soles climbed better than the cowboy boots i had been using I was sold on them. Sure they were heavy as cinder blocks but boy could they edge and jam. Eventually I got a pair of the trusty RRs. Wow what a break through they were. I got them because EBs seemed so radical at the time. RRs seemed like high tech hiking boots by comparison.
Of course EBs were the bomb and it wasn't long before I was sporting a pair of the blue and whites.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:45am PT
And now EB's are an abomination! Funny. I had a bunch of pairs of them too after I left PA's and for some climbs I was actually set back but on others--- appropriate ones--- I leapt forward with them. Because our sport-art is so wide ranging with the types of things our feet have to do, we should add to the collection of shoes, a technical stiff Mo-Fo offwidth boot that is also totally up-to-date in rubber and fit. And it has to be high. Cutting them off at or near the ankle is just woosing out and trying to be all things to all rock. I guess I should add too that a climber's weight has a lot to do with this too. If you are like something more than 170 lbs these modern shoes and slippers are effing horrid in wide cracks.
Karen

Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:10am PT
My buddy Woody had me wear my hiking boots one time climbing a route up on Tahquitz, he wanted me to experience what it was like back in the day. I found it was fine in cracks, but on any friction area I floundered pretty bad. It was fun I must say but glad we have our modern climbing shoes.
One thing though, great to not lug up shoes in my pack while climbing; hike up in them, climb in them, then hike down, that was nice!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:30am PT
What, ya gonna do this bare foot?

Credit: Reilly
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:38am PT
Maybe the La Sportiva Mariachers should be brought back! I remember the British importers complaining because the lasted so long and could be resoled forever.

I loved the green Shoenards for edging.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:53am PT
My first climbing shoes were fabiano trail boots. You just accepted the way they worked cause it was all you knew.

Then I got a used pair of RD's hoh man! I was amazed!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:59am PT
Many of the first slab climbs at Squamish were done in stiff boots (including RRs). Edging on crystals.

As to what somebody said above about taking a stiffish high-top old-style boot and putting modern rubber on it...
Shoenards (Vasque Ascenders) with C4 on the front
Shoenards (Vasque Ascenders) with C4 on the front
Credit: Ghost

I did a fair amount of climbing in Shoenards (NE Butt of Slesse with Mighty Anders, for example), using them for approach, climb, and descent. And also used them for cleaning because they were comfy for standing in aiders. But the hard rubber lugged sole was a bit of a limiting factor.

Some time around 1997, I got Dave Page to replace the lugged front sole with 5.10 rubber. It was revelatory. I could climb very nearly as well in them as in whatever I thought my best shoe was back then.

A couple of years ago I found an unused pair at a second-hand gear store for next-to-nothing. So I bought them and sent them straight down to Locker. He resoled them with perfect workmanship, but he also put some kind of hex on them. But that's a whole other story (which you can read at http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=660999&msg=660999#msg660999 if you're interested).

Of course, nothing like that is made now, but maybe the TC Pro is a kind of compromise? Half old school, half new?
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 19, 2010 - 03:03am PT
I do remember climbing better and faster in boots when stuff started coming down from way up high!
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Sep 19, 2010 - 10:30am PT
On various routes in Idaho and Washington in the 1970’s: I climbed up to 5.9 in mountain boots.

Of course, we didn’t usually plan on climbing that hard in mountain boots. It just happened: through poor pre-planning or over-confidence.

One of my first “big-routes” was the Open Book on the Finger of Fate in Idaho’s Sawtooth. It was considered 5.6 in 1971 and is now rated 5.9.

I climbed it at the end of a ten-day trip that was mostly backpacking. No reason to have my REI brand imitation RR’s along.
Credit: Fritz
Here’s me, dressed all in cotton, with my Raichle boots in an unprotected chimney near the top.

Credit: Fritz

The tough pitch with the boots: was led by Chris with RR’s. I was terrified following it, since my fat-round boot toes did not fit in the hand crack.

In one of my stupider moments: I led the same crack 6 years later in mountain boots. Just as terrifying as in 1971, but much worse: since I was now on “the sharp end” of the rope. Somehow it had seemed bright to trot into the route and “knock it off” with minimal loads.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 19, 2010 - 10:39am PT
Rock climbing in boots pretty much sucks- I've done a fair amount of it over my alpine climbing career. Could never force myself to "practice" rock climbing with boots on. Rock climbing has always been too much fun for me to knowingly handicap myself in any way.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 19, 2010 - 10:59am PT
The cobbler's curse never lost traction...LOL

I started out in RR Yosemites and I'm glad that I did because I learned a lot about footwork in terms of weight distribution and steady contact. I quit using chalk very early on and that sharpened up my footwork even more!

The amount of focus and care necessary for leading was much higher, BITD!
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:15am PT
I've lived through multiple iterations of shoe concepts. The original kletterschue came stiff, like the Spiders Peter mentioned, medium, like the Cortina's he also mentioned and also Zillertals, and soft, like Kronehoffers, the slipper of BITD.

Kamps was the Cortina master; he did things in them which remain very impressive even in today's upgraded fit and rubber.

For the steep face-climbing areas I learned to climb it, it was generally assumed that stiffer was better. For climbing at Devil's Lake in Zillertals, we used to use homemade insoles cut from thin cookie baking sheets. These made funny sounds when they flexed a little and eventually cracked, so it was prudent to have a second pair available.

Sometime in the sixties, while perusing a French climbing magazine (Alpinisme?), I saw an ad for RD's (the initials belong to Rene Desmaison). These had a beautiful thick leather upper, a smooth but very hard sole, and a steel shank for stiffness. I somehow managed to figure out sizing and ordered a pair from the catalog of Edouard Frendo. The total cost, after paying import duty, was $15. These shoes eventually became the standard for Gunks climbing, and were independently "discovered" by Western climbers, although they never caught on for Yosemite climbing.

As we moved into the seventies, the face-climbing shoe of choice became one of the Shoenard iterations. The green ones were the stiffest, and Steve Wunsch, one of the most controlled and precise climbers ever in my experience, was the master of the art.

From the eighties on (well, I'm really not sure of the dates), shoes evolved away from stiffness, with slip-lasting and close fit combined with sticky rubber taking the place of built-in stiffness. The sticky rubber revolution was ushered in by John Bachar and Fire's, which were a very soft shoe.

To address at least part of the OP's question, I think that modern shoes with sticky rubber, enhanced ability to conform, and great sensitivity gave rise to a revolution in climbing technique, making it possible to securely move your foot on a hold while standing on it. Modern back-stepping and drop-knee techniques, which are part of the more general technique of facing sideways on steep rock, all require the ability to pivot on weighted holds; this was an absolute no-no with hard rubber soled stiff shoes, which would immediately pop off a hold without warning if you moved your foot.

The stiff shoes required absolute precision: you placed your foot carefully by sight---the shoe had virtually no sensitivity so no adjustments by feel were possible---and then kept that foot rigid on the hold, no matter what other motions were happening with the rest of your body. Climbers stared intensely at their footholds in a way you don't see much any more, now that the visual placement is enhanced by tactile feedback and the ability to make adjustments on the hold while weighting it.

Having grown up and done all my best climbing in stiff shoes, I've never been happy in really flexible ones and have never felt good in slippers. But I've also learned a lot about smearing, and now see holds on steep rock that used to be blank.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:55am PT
I think you can tell a climber who has been trained in either boots or an exceptionally stiff shoe: they are very precise in their footwork! It becomes ingrained in their style, and it's always impressive to see a real master.

When I began climbing, I was using the classic Kronhofer Kletterschue until my first trip to Yosemite in 1965. Chris Fredericks and Steve Thompson convinced me that I needed a stiffer shoe: enter the "Kletter Spiders." They were fine on many of the earlier climbs that I tried, but then--getting out onto Glacier Point Apron and Arches Terrace wasn't particularly lots of "fun."

I did several routes wearing Kronhofer Mountaineering boots during some periods of bad weather: I did my first-ever ascent of Redguard in Eldorado Canyon wearing them to help support a badly sprained ankle, too., and then the Green Slab under winter conditions with slush and ice cascading down the face.

I agree with Peter, that having a stiffer rock climbing shoe helps on many routes with wider cracks, and helps tremendously on steep edging.

My all-time favorite rock shoe is the La Sportiva Mariacher, and I still have 2 pair that are resoled now with C-4 rubber. I've done all my climbing in JTree using these shoes, and a huge number of climbs elsewhere: Durrance Route at Devils's Tower, Ruper, Yellow Spur, and Bastille-Hair City in Eldorado Canyon, and Topographical Oceans in the South Platte to name a few varied climbs.

Everyone should try climbing in some decent mountaineering boots, "just for grins."
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:00pm PT
We did all mountaineering rock routes in big boots and lots of rock routes. Like Phil said, the switch to Robbins was godsend, best of both worlds. Back then, I used Robbins to edge and Kronhoefer's (sp?) for smearing because their rubber was stickier than the Robbins (nowadays most guys would laugh at the difference).

Here's some pictures from Korea in 1975 (stationed in the Army), doing 5.8's and 5.9's in big boots.

Near Pusan Korea 1975
Near Pusan Korea 1975
Credit: ydpl8s

Big boots, Korea 1975
Big boots, Korea 1975
Credit: ydpl8s
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:11pm PT
The best thing about boots was not having to worry so much about your ankles during slab falls. They provided all the necessary support while geek skiing on stone!
stonefly

Social climber
Alameda, California
Sep 19, 2010 - 01:18pm PT
And before boots:

Norman's Shoes,Aug 12, 1931
Norman's Shoes,Aug 12, 1931
Credit: stonefly
R.B.

Big Wall climber
Land of the Lahar
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:28pm PT
I learned to climb in "waffle stompers"

I loved it when PA's and RR's came out.

EB's were mind altering.

3-Stripe feerays were the BOMB!

Now, so many choices, so little time.

My favorite boot was the "Black Beautys" Wonderfully stiff, but could grab a dime wide edge & stay!

BITD
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 04:26pm PT
Grossman needs to find that article about the dood in England doing some
classic in roller skates and boxing gloves...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 19, 2010 - 04:42pm PT
I know the shot Reilly! News section of some Mountain if I recall. This is the best that I have!


From Climb.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 19, 2010 - 04:45pm PT
That was quick and speedy service! I forgot that was on the 3rd Flatiron
and in the 50's! Notice that he also has boots on!
Kofi Donny Annan

climber
darkest of africa
Sep 19, 2010 - 07:30pm PT
OT trivia note- Dale Johnson (on rollerskates) is the guy who founded Frostline sew-it-yourself kits, yes?
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 19, 2010 - 07:43pm PT
Maybe Jogill will share with us the tale of the fa of his route on the thimble, in '61? In boots !
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 19, 2010 - 10:49pm PT
Masochist- someone who thinks rock climbing in boots is fun.

Realist- someone who realizes that rock climbing in boots is sometimes, not often, necessary.

Retard- I meant to say alpinist, someone who puts themselves into a POSITION where rock climbing in boots is necessary.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 19, 2010 - 10:59pm PT
Jaybro-

FYI-many of the traditional classics (Fall Wall, Upper Fall Wall) at Vedauwoo have been climbed in Terray mountain boots by Jim Halfpenny. Quite a few climbers in the late 1960's did so in imitation of his style.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:13pm PT
Once upon a time climbers in Vancouver would gather at a sleazy bar called The Cecil every Wednesday night. Drink bad beer, talk about climbing, tell lies, make plans... The usual. One drunken evening somebody mentioned a route named "Foot in the Gravy."

Silly little 30-foot route in the Little Smoke Bluffs at Squamish. 10c on an 75-degree wall with two bolts.

And this started an argument. Don Serl was there that night, and he happened to say something like "Oh, right, neat little edging problem." To which Konrad Kraft replied "Edging? You must be thinking of something else. 'Foot in the Gravy' is a slab. Smearing all the way."

"Smearing? No, it's little edges from bottom to top."

"Edges? Are you nuts? It's a slab."

"Slab? No, you're nuts. There are edges everywhere you look. There are so many edges I could climb it in crampons."

"Bullsh#t."

"Not bullsh#t. I could front-point the whole thing."

"Wanna bet?"

"Sure."

So, the following weekend, everyone who had been in the pub that night wandered out to the Burgers & Fries cliff in the Smoke Bluffs, and watched Don lace up his mountain boots and lash on the crampons. And carefully and concisely front-point his way up 30 feet of 10c as a light rain began to fall.

Of course most of us had climbed the thing a hundred times in sticky shoes, but Don had that edge mentality that comes from spending thousands of hours in stiff boots on steep rock.

So what's the takeaway? Maybe it's in your own mind. Or, if you'd been standing where I was standing, you'd have been able to see the tier of cliffs above, and like me you'd have been torn between watching Don front-point his way up "Foot in the Gravy on a toprope" and looking up to watch Peter Croft solo "Flying Circus."

I mention this because the light rain had influenced Peter's choice of footwear...

He took off his shoes and climbed it in his socks.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:13pm PT
Largo on the "Teflon" problem at Mt. Rubidoux, using the stiff
-as-a-board red PA's, circa 1972.

Credit: Rick A

Comments by Hahn and Goldstone regarding the precise footwork that stiff boots, such as PA's and RD's, required are exactly right. Those boots had little margin for error when standing on an edge.

Once one got used to it, however, it was a very satisfying style of climbing that rewarded the commitment necessary to step up on a tiny edge and put out of your mind that your foot just might skate off at any moment.



Spider Savage

Mountain climber
SoCal
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:20pm PT
My boots from 1977. Still have them.
Late 1970's Galibier Boots, Early 1970's gear purchased from Fritz.
Late 1970's Galibier Boots, Early 1970's gear purchased from Fritz.
Credit: Spider Savage
gonamok

climber
aging malcontent
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:34pm PT
It wasnt all that horrible. I started climbing in Lowa Alpspitz, which were fairly heavy leather mountain boots with a stiff vibram sole. Graham Crackers (5.6) at Suicide was my first 5th class route and I didnt fall. They edged ok up to 5.6 or 5.7, but with zero feeling. You sighted your foot onto the edge and stood up on faith.

I will say that when i got my first pair of EBs they felt like miracle shoes.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:38pm PT
Spider: Thanks for the boot photo.

Those are Galibier Vercors. A great hiking and light mountaineering boot. They look like the Galibier Super-Guide, but didn't have the stiff -sole.

Spider's Galibier Vercors hiking/light mountaineering boots.
Spider's Galibier Vercors hiking/light mountaineering boots.
Credit: Spider Savage

It is the same model of boot that I foolishly trotted up to "The Finger of Fate" with, and then stupidly led the jam-crack with in 1977.

It didn't fit worth a "shet" in the vertical hand-crack.


Spider Savage

Mountain climber
SoCal
Sep 20, 2010 - 01:07am PT
These had nice foam insulation. Used them in the snow and ice many times.

Okay for climbing. Edging was about it until the vibram wore down. Friction shoes are way better.

Bought those nuts from Fritz in about '74.
gf

climber
Sep 20, 2010 - 01:33am PT
Ghost,
I happen to know that Tami has a couple shots of don climbing "Foot in the Gravy" with chouinard rigids if memory serves. Tami -to the scanner lass!
gf
utahman912

Social climber
SLC, UT
Sep 20, 2010 - 11:55am PT
I think you can tell a climber who has been trained in either boots or an exceptionally stiff shoe: they are very precise in their footwork! It becomes ingrained in their style, and it's always impressive to see a real master.

Very true... pulling up and then searching for a foot placement to stay on the rock nearly always resulted in a fall while wearing boots. Now with rock shoes it just mostly results in a fall :-)

BITD you had to learn the footwork. These days a lot of people think you can get away without it.

jb
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 20, 2010 - 11:59am PT
I really think that there is no relationship between climbing with boots and good footwork. Good climbers use good footwork and mediocre climbers don't- simple as that.
hossjulia

Social climber
Eastside
Sep 21, 2010 - 08:05pm PT
My first boots were Galibier Guides. Climbed in them for a bit, until I got one stuck in a crack, had to unlace the thing, downclimb and yank it out by hand, put it back on and continue.
I climbed in Reeboks for a year or so after that before I got my first pair of rock shoes. (old EB's, complete with holes, traded for a beer.)





(edited to edit! Like my rough draft? Librarian shut me down before I could clean it up. My secret is out.)
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Sep 21, 2010 - 08:21pm PT
JC Penny work boots, $14.99 - couldn't beat it with a stick. That and barefoot in the hollers of SoIll. Eventually we variously got 'blue meanies' (RRs), 'green meanies' (Chouinards), PAs, and then the miraculous EBs.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 21, 2010 - 09:12pm PT
I'll expand on what donini said, good climbers have good footwork and mediocre climbers don't. Agreed! I was simply stating that a climber who learned to climb in boots and got up the routes in good style learned good footwork or simply quit climbing.

Stiffer shoes have always been my choice, as well. I've had old red and black PA's, Robbins Blue Boots, Kletter Spiders, Boreal Ace's, and La Sportiva Mariacher's, and now am sporting a pair of TC Pros and a pair of Tradmasters.
bmacd

Trad climber
Grade V, Level III certified Kook 100% Canadian
Sep 22, 2010 - 02:51am PT
Ghost those custom soled Vasque ascenders are brillant. I did a bunch of climbing in the Bugaboos with mine, sans your resole job. Perhaps the modern equivalent candidate for that kind of resole would be my old pair of red La Sportiva Trangos
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 22, 2010 - 05:12am PT
TheEiger ? Did you ever do us a TR? If not, get crackin'!

And back on topic, from earlier today, it's never too late to find out how to knock boots.
Credit: Jaybro
bmacd

Trad climber
Grade V, Level III certified KooK 100% Canadian
Sep 22, 2010 - 10:22pm PT
Radical Riley sez: And I climbed The Eiger, a mixed 5.7 route in casual off the shelve A-solo hikers

bump for Nordwand TR with pictures ;)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 22, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
If you really like rock climbing in boots, you probably liked sex in the backseat of a VW Bug.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 23, 2010 - 10:11pm PT
If you really like rock climbing in boots, you probably liked sex in the backseat of a VW Bug.

Jim, have you forgotten who you're talking about? Probably 99.999% of climbers who were around in the climbing-boot era would have liked sex in a cardboard box.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Sep 27, 2010 - 07:09pm PT
"If you really like rock climbing in boots, you probably liked sex in the backseat of a VW Bug."

yeah well, better than watching!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 27, 2010 - 08:22pm PT
If you really like rock climbing in boots, you probably liked sex in the backseat of a VW Bug.

and your problem is?

Use what's available.
You just want to get it over with as soon as possible and find something better next time.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 3, 2010 - 11:09am PT
A Bump in Time Saves Thine...
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Sep 15, 2011 - 12:28am PT
Manly men rock climb in mountaineering boots

Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos
Climbing Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos, more than 30 years ago
Climbing Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos, more than 30 years ago
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Try this in mountaineering boots
Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos
Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos, over 30 years ago
Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos, over 30 years ago
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 15, 2011 - 01:44am PT
Rooskies were still going to the Pamirs in tricounis in the late 70's!
GNARLY!
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Sep 15, 2011 - 08:26am PT
Royal and I used Spiders for a long time for the very reasons
Peter described, good edging, good in off-widths...

In about '65, I was bouldering at Split Rocks. A fellow came along,
trying to think of his name (I want to say Lee Herrell?). He
had some type of lightweight mountaineering boots. I was amazed
at how well he bouldered and how good he was with his feet.
He said he had done a lot of climbing in the Alps and that
the good climbers there could climb as well in boots as most
more pure rock climbers could in tight rock shoes. I tended
to believe him, when I saw him climb. He noted, however, that
it was absolutely vital to get the right boot, that most didn't
work too well, but one or two kinds were amazing. Seeing photos
of people such as Rebuffat and Bonatti with their boots, I began
to believe they weren't at too much of a disadvantage, and what
with their supreme techniue. The "good" mountain rock boot were
"flush" where the rubber meets the leather tops. I.E., the sole
didn't stick out at all....

About this time, Cub Shaefer gave me a pair of lightweight mountain
boots. I can't recall the brand, but I agreed to try them out on
rock. I went up and did the first free ascent of Vertigo. I climbed
right past the 5.11 section, solidly, but higher up on the 5.8
stem dihedral I realized I couldn't stem very well, couldn't smear
out on those sloping walls in those boots. Grabbed a carabiner to
rest and try to figure it out... Whatever... I used those boots
again on a host of climbs, but I really preferred my RD's. Gill and
I bouldered for a long time in RD's. They were vastly better at
edging than EB's. At certain bouldering areas, such as Split Rocks,
you couldn't even stand up on some tiny footholds in EB's, but in
RD's it was an easy step. RD's were a good measure better than Spiders,
for sure, in most respects. But then, and note, they came out with
a new RD that was supposed to be the same boot but actually had a
different, not nearly as good, rubber. Then climbers, rightfully,
started saying RD's weren't very good.... They hadn't used the original
RD's.

My friends Luisa Iovane and Heinz Mariacher have kept me in rich supply
of La Sportiva climbing shoes, for many years, and they friction so
amazingly well, but they still are quite soft compared to my years
with stiffer shoes.... and not very comfortable to the feet. The
feet get tired easily. One thing I've seen, with some of the top
Yosemite stars, is that they climb off-widths with these softer
modern rubber, but they don't heel-and-toe so much. They do more friction
technique along the sides of the walls....
BillL

Trad climber
NM
Sep 15, 2011 - 08:55am PT
Did lots of 4th and easy 5th class in big stiff leathers less than a decade ago. This was the Ptarmigan Traverse in the North Cascades ... a multi-day trip with quite a bit of glacier travel. Bringing extra shoes for climbing wasn't an option and wasn't needed.

On a peak along the way.  Helmet Peak?
On a peak along the way. Helmet Peak?
Credit: BillL

A little smearing and edging in boots a day or so after Helmet Peak.  ...
A little smearing and edging in boots a day or so after Helmet Peak. We did six peaks in six days from 2nd class to 5.7.
Credit: BillL

The boots in no way soured the climbing, to say the least. The technical climbing on this trip inspired me to take a technical climbing course the next spring and start traditional leading about a year after that (~7 years ago).

Bill
steve shea

climber
Sep 15, 2011 - 09:41am PT
Fun, we did not know any better. The five and dime edge route on Blacktail Butte in the Tetons, 5.12, done by Breashears in Haderers or some such in 1978. Also what Peter Haan said amout heavier climbers and the modern soft rubber is so true. It's like driving hard on an old school, non steel belted, low aspect ratio tire. It sucks.
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