Backpacking/Light Mountaineering Boot Recommendations

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T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 15, 2013 - 07:58am PT
My current boots (Lowa) are DOA, they served me well for over 15 years.

Looking for recommendations for a backpacking/light mountaineering boot.

Primary use will be backpacking with occasional peak bagging and strap on crampon use.

Won't be doing any steep ice front pointing and would like to keep the price point under $200 if possible.

What do you guys like or recommend.

Thanks,
Tad
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 15, 2013 - 08:00am PT
They are mutually exclusive. Backpacking is best done with running shoes unless a lot of snow is present.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 15, 2013 - 08:19am PT
Want a boot that offers ankle support and foot protection that a trail running shoe can't.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 15, 2013 - 08:26am PT
I got a pair of KAYLAND lighter mountaineering style boot which ive been very happy with.. All leather uppers, toe cap for protection- and fairly light- Sierra trading posts has them normally.
darkmagus

Mountain climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 15, 2013 - 08:33am PT
Asolo Moran GTX, though it may not be under $200.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 15, 2013 - 09:18am PT
Thanks guys,
Ron, I don't think Sierra Outpost carries the Kaylands that you have anymore. They do have a Kayland mountaineering boot model that would be overkill for my use.

Darkmagus, Those Asolo's do look like they would fill my needs, how do you like yours? Some reviews say the are slippery in wet conditions.

Anyone have any experience with Scarpa Kailash GTX model pictured below.
Credit: T Hocking
Bababata

Mountain climber
Utopia
Jan 15, 2013 - 09:28am PT
I love my Scarpa Nepal GTX - very light but also plenty sturdy and stiff for steep snow and winter escapades. Have had them for 3 years, so far so good... Not sure if they make them any more.

http://www.scarpa.com/scarpa/products/p_60100G
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 15, 2013 - 09:40am PT
This is an interesting topic for me as well, as we are planning to take a shot at Kilimanjaro in September.

So far I haven't found a pair that fit well enough to take them home. I really like some of the Asolo boots, but they pinch the middle of my feet.

Next up to try are the Salomon Quest 4D's, they are pretty widely recommended so hopefully they will actually fit my feet.
QITNL

climber
Jan 15, 2013 - 09:51am PT
Hey T - I don't know those boots but those soles look better for hiking than climbing. For hiking/climbing, my favorite sole is the Vibram Mulaz, it edges like a champ, and the Teton is also good. It looks like they have a new one called the Maton - on rock, the flat bit in the front gives better grip than lugs.

You might want to look at some Garmonts, the Vetta & Tower are both pretty good. There are various versions ranging from heavy to light, the larger ones take hybrid crampons. If you look around you can find them at a decent price.

The most important issue, of course, is fit, so you might want to hit a shop. If you are doing the mailorder thing be prepared to send a bunch of them back.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 15, 2013 - 10:01am PT
what about a rebuild of the Lowas..Good Norwegian welt- board lasted boots are getting rare..
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2013 - 07:57am PT
Boot Bump,
Thanks for the suggestions so far.
Anymore recommendations?

Ron, the wife gave the OK for a new pair, don't want to piss her off. lol

Tad
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
Jan 16, 2013 - 08:05am PT
i have quite enjoyed my asolo powermatics. granted, after selling boots in the industry for several years i would say that the fit is going to be more important than anything anyone could say here
darkmagus

Mountain climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 16, 2013 - 08:17am PT
I've had really good experiences with my Asolo Morans. I've now beat them up for two full seasons (summer Sierra stuff) and they're showing minimal wear. Haven't noticed anything regarding excessive slipping when wet, in fact, I downclimbed a bunch of snow/ice on Mt. Sill (no crampons/axe) and remember being impressed with how they worked/felt in that situation. I have heard a lot of good things about the Salomon Quest 4D, and I know that they're a hit among Marines and Navy Seals (FWIW)!
bajaandy

climber
Escondido, CA
Jan 16, 2013 - 09:31am PT
Brand don't mean chit if the boot don't fit!

The best thing you can do for yourself is take the time to try on various brands and models. Find a boot that fits your foot and still will serve your need. As long as you're not set on having bail-type clip in 'pons, you can get away with a fairly light weight boot using strap on crampons. Just my two cents. Your mileage may very. Personally, I'm one of those idiots who seems to have a boot for every purpose, so I don't really count on my light weight hikers to do anything other than that. But in that category, I like the Asolo Fugitive. Fits my foot well.

Happy hunting.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 16, 2013 - 10:01am PT
everyone is going to recommend a different boot because each of us has a differently shaped foot. everyone is going to prefer the one we bought that fit us best and complain that the others are badly designed because they have "poor fit."

each of these boots is built on a differently-shaped model of a human foot. you need to find the one where, through sheer chance, the manufacturer used a model that was shaped like your actual foot. there's no sure way of knowing which that'll be w/o trying on multiple pairs.

salewa, scarpa, sportiva, garmon, and kayland all offer well-designed boots that cover the niche you're looking for. moreover, each offers multiple model options. in many cases, the different models are built on differently shaped lasts.

go to a store with a wide selection (better, multiple stores) and try on everything you can find. or else order six different pair from zappos-- or sixteen --and find the one that fits.

Dover

Trad climber
New England
Jan 16, 2013 - 10:21am PT
It's true, everyone has a different foot and will recommend something that works for them. So, to add to that list, you might check out La Sportiva's Karakorum. This is the best boot I've ever owned for light mountaineering and backpacking. Very solid and very comfortable. Pretty light-weight for a beefy boot. Perfect for mixed conditions. You need to treat the leather with nickwax to keep them waterproof. Do that and they never leak. They take crampons well (flex, not designed for rigid) and are warm for a single boot. I always feel sure-footed in them. I think I read that they were originally designed for NOLS or OB; no question they are tough and durable. They run about $300, so maybe outside your price target, but a really great boot.

I have to echo KLK's reco to go to a shop with a wide variety and also people who actually use the boots they sell. I spent pretty much all day selecting these boots, trying lots of different makes, and some different sizes, too. I bought them at IME in North Conway. The people there are all climbers and know their gear. They had lots of good advice on how to fit. To me, it's worth paying a little extra for that kind of service for boots. I have had too many blisters from ill-fitting boots when I tried to save a few bucks. Eventually learned that lesson!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
Here in Redding we only have 1 shop and their selection is very limited.
I've tried a few of the models they have but have not found one I liked locally.
I'm a true size 12 med. width so fit should not be a problem, may have to make a trip to Sac Town.
Where should I try in Sacratomato?

Thanks all,
Tad

Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Jan 16, 2013 - 01:02pm PT
I roll with 3 flavors..

Credit: Sewellymon

Credit: Sewellymon

Credit: Sewellymon

or you can read the reviews below

http://www.supertopo.com/reviews/gear.php?cat=1353&c=hiking+boots
QITNL

climber
Jan 16, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
It's not Redding, but the Fifth Season up in Shasta had a good selection last time I dropped by. There's a nice hike or two up that way, too.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 16, 2013 - 03:07pm PT
Vasque Sundowners ain't bad

$100 at Sierra Trading Post

Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 16, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
So he found his boots...still in a quandary on mine.

Went back to try on some more tonight, and I have it down to two; the Asolo Fugitive and the Salomon Quest. The last pair of Asolos that I tried pinched the sides of my feet. Tonight I tried the Fugitive in a wide and it fits perfect. So does the Quest.

The only thing I can come up with right now is the quest feels slightly better on the foot bed and the Asolo feels slightly better on the upper ankle. the Quest has a bit of a spatulate shaped toe box and the fugitive looks a little more narrow, but they both fit the same in that regard.

I guess what it comes down to is which boot is warmer, and which boot holds better on wet rocks. Is there anyone here who has worn both?
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 17, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
Went and looked at another pair today - the La Sportiva Trango S. I'm not crazy about the color, but it has a full rand and is crampon compatible which is nice. The price is a bit high even with my discount, but the shop owner is willing to order them in and let me wear them around the house for a couple weeks. Anyone have these? The reviews seem pretty decent.
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Jan 17, 2013 - 10:46pm PT
I vote for Vasque. For serious backpacking, I need stable ankle support and foot protection. I use the Vasque Summit because of their stout ankle support and stout footbed padding for handling heavy pounding on rock with a heavy pack. Also, they are trimmed close for climbing but are stiff enough to handle steep snow with a full pack and Sierra mountaineering.
QITNL

climber
Jan 17, 2013 - 11:15pm PT
I like Vasque, too. Wore them when I was a kid and got back into them the last couple of years. Had some Morton's and had to go wide, Vasques are nice and wide.

Their last series of mountaineering boots were pretty awesome - there was the Radiator, the Optimator, and Another-ator in between. Unfortunately they're all discontinued. After years and years, Vasque has abandoned the mountaineering game.

I'm sure it wasn't very profitable. Plus the economy. Across the board selection is down and prices are going through the roof. Pretty soon a decent pair of boots is gonna cost you more than a set of tires. Ouch.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 17, 2013 - 11:18pm PT
Thanks for the replies guys. I have another month or so before I have to get serious about pulling the trigger on these, but I want to make as informed a decision as I can. I can't afford any chance of these failing me on the mountain, this is by far the most expensive trip I've ever planned and I want it to go right.
QITNL

climber
Jan 17, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
That La Sportiva Trango S is a safe bet. They're too narrow for my dumb feet, but I've climbed with a bunch of guys climbing in them and they climb real good. Both the guys and the boots.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 18, 2013 - 12:04am PT
"What you need is the Lowa Alpspitz."--Len Singer

When I first learned the magic of boot-fitting, my own choice was the Alpspitz.

We sold them exclusively at the Mtn. Shop, Yosemite Village. The models we sold were, in ascending order, by use, the Goll--very light use on trails; the Scout--medium backpacking, light climbing (excellent on rock, useful for light-duty cramponing); the Alpspitz--very stiff, uppers soft but stiff, and just all-around kick-butt anyplace, and if you needed to front-point, well, I never got to try them like that, but others like Jerry Coe were happy.

One day in the shop, according to Andy Cox, he and Bobby Ashworth and Len Singer were in the store and a man comes in looking for boots to go to "Half Comb." The guys smothered their glee when Len jumped up and said, "What you NEED is the Lovah Allp-schpitzen." And the dude parted with nearly forty dollars on his assurance of stability on the cable

I am in the market for a pair of multi-purpose boots. My last pair were a Galibier climbing boot for alpinists, with a shank that was much too stiff for packing, but I bought them anyway for a discount here in town from Mark Tuttle. I used them some, but the soles came apart from the uppers after long storage. They were injection-molded, something to stay away from, IMO, but this is twenty years ago that I purchased them. The soles separated on me after about fifty yards of hiking with the Rev. I'm glad it happened while we were in sight of the truck!

I am going to REI in Modesto soon. Maybe manana, as I have a chance to go to the Valley on Saturday and I know there's going to be wet, slushy yicky melty snow! Not tennie-weather, most definitely. So I may just grab a book and take a bus ride.

Good luck, Travis! I like the Fugitive and One-Armed Bandit Routine, too! :) Booooo! That sucked!!!!

Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jan 18, 2013 - 01:21am PT
In a light mountaineering boot, I really like the LA SPORTIVA TRANGO S for three season climbing in the Tetons…front pointing in crampons and good edging on rock…I haven’t found a lighter mountaineering boot.

(Certainly, they don’t permit the feel and sensitivity of a rock climbing shoe…and some may consider them somewhat stiff for hiking…and they're too light for earnest winter ice climbing)

The Five Ten Camp Four WMS (approach shoe) has good support for packing loads. Very comfortable on my own feet. ..as an approach shoe they've been quite durable but don't edge as well as Guide Tennies. I love the Camp Four, but would avoid climbing anything beyond class 4 with them.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 18, 2013 - 08:59am PT
The Camp Four has been my go-to shoe for hiking and everday wear since they came out. Great everyday hiker and approach shoe. I got a pair of the Exum Guides, figuring that being as they were on the same last they would be just as good with better ankle support. Since then I have been trying to wear them out as fast as I can so I have an excuse to get rid of them...horrid shoe for me. Thankfully, they are about done and another pair of Camp Fours will be in the mail soon.

The C4 just isn't designed for the type of terrain I will be in on Kilimanjaro, and I want something burlier both for the trip and the Sierra trips that I take every year. Hopefully the Trango will fit my feet; I tried on the ice version of the shoe and it seemed wide enough, but with some shoes I have to order the wide to get them to fit right. My foot is a little wider then standard but not really wide, so it's a crap shoot.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 18, 2013 - 09:02am PT
Mouse,, you didnt sell them elusively there, as we at Bobs Alpine shop in Carson also carried the Alpspitz model- my first mountain boot!
LB4USC

Trad climber
Long Beach
Jan 18, 2013 - 11:18am PT
I bought a pair of the Salomon Quests for an extended backpacking/climbing trip in the Sierras. Went a half-size up. Replaced their insoles with a pair of Superfeet. L-O-V-E these boots. The first step I took in these boots was at the trailhead for Taboose Pass. I'm 225# and I started the trip with 50# of food and gear. Eleven days later, feet felt great. No hotspots. No blisters. Feet didn't overheat and didn't get cold.

Agree with the observation that the 3 most important things are: 1) Fit. 2) Fit. and 3) Did I mention fit?
Howard71

Trad climber
Belen, New Mexico
Jan 18, 2013 - 11:37am PT
I've used two Asolo boots over the last couple of years for those trips where I think a boot works better than an approach shoe. One, the Fugitive, has already been mentioned in this thread, but I didn't see the other one. It's the Asolo Sasslong (http://www.sierratradingpost.com/asolo-sasslong-gore-tex-backpacking-boots-waterproof-nubuck-for-men~p~83043/?filterString=mens-boots~d~137%2F&colorFamily=05). Basically I prefer the Fugitive unless I'm in snow or I know that I'll be edging on rock. The Sasslong has full leather or synthetic leather (I don't know which)uppers with a continous rubber rand, Unlike most modern boots the sole no bigger (it may be slightly smaller) than the upper which I like for two reasons:

1. When edging on rock the stiff sole stays on small edges well because my weight is directly over the sole rather than outside of the edge.

2. The narrow heel doesn't get caught between rocks nearly as much as a fatter heel that extends outside of the uppers.

If you use one of the Sierra Trading Post discounts you can often get this boot for around $140 or so.

Howard
atchafalaya

Boulder climber
Jan 18, 2013 - 11:48am PT
The 1960's called and they want their boots back.

You guys realize there are lightweight trailrunning/hiking shoes these days?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 18, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
Hey, Ronnie! Shoettin' the breeze about das Alpspitz.
http://www.360cities.net/image/alpspix-viewing-platform-opening-germany

You will be amazed to know that of the three of us, Tad, yourself, and I, the me of the group, all had the Alpspitz in our past at the same damned time.

I got my pair in the Valley, Tad got a pair, too, he tells me. Kid, dynamite! You know what a good boot is all about, so I'll just say it's strange. I been talking to Tad and I found out to my surprise there is no R.E.I. store in Modesto, just one down in Fresno. So it looks like I'm not going to Fresno, on principle. I really try to avoid the place.

I'll find something soon, I'm almost sure.

What everybody wants is a comfortable shoe that will do the work for them. Cheap. Meh.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 18, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
Mouse,, kinda funny that --eh! Birds of a feather i guess-- but Lowa Alpspitz were the boot! I did frozen falls with em and hinged crampons!

Norweigen welted, board lasted and a stiff midsole made them work horses undeniable.! That and a coat of snow seal and you were good to go!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Guilty,
Alpspitz were my 1st mountain boot also.
Parents got them for me as a birthday gift in 72.
I put them to use for backpacking in the Sierras, SoCal wildernesses,
Grand Canyon and were on my feet for the East Face of Whitney.
Even wore them cutting many cords of firewood during my Susanville years.
Laid them to rest in the late 80's. RIP old friends.

Hope the new Lowas like my feet as well as the Alpspitz.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 18, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
you need a mortgage to get such a boot now...
ClimberDave

Trad climber
The LBC, CA
Jan 18, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
you need a mortgage to get such a boot now...

So true!!

I had the Trango S's a few years back, they were pretty comfy and had a very narrow profile that was good for climbing/scrambling but they really didnt last that long for me. A few of they eyelets broke in me at the most inoportune times.
And did not seem to be very waterproof as my feet would get soaked in spring snow.
If you dont like the color when they are new new just wait till they fade a bit and you're wearing pink boots!!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 18, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
Credit: Ron Anderson

Lowa Alpspitz in ax-shee-oan...LOVED those boots.. (RIP)
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