Backpacking/Light Mountaineering Boot Recommendations


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Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Jan 18, 2013 - 01:46am 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.

Jan 18, 2013 - 02:15am 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.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 18, 2013 - 02:18am 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.

Jan 18, 2013 - 02:28am 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 - 03:04am 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!!!!


Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jan 18, 2013 - 04:21am 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. 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.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Jan 18, 2013 - 11:59am 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.

Trad climber
Long Beach
Jan 18, 2013 - 02:18pm 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?

Trad climber
Belen, New Mexico
Jan 18, 2013 - 02:37pm 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 ( 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.


Boulder climber
Jan 18, 2013 - 02:48pm 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 - 03:13pm PT
Hey, Ronnie! Shoettin' the breeze about das Alpspitz.

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.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
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.

Trad climber
Jan 18, 2013 - 05:30pm 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!!
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