/ Do i want B2 or B3 boots?

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Sam Maher - on 21 Jan 2013
Hi all,

Im currently having a dilemma about what boots would be best for my situation. Fearing a potential, very expensive, mistake coming...

I'll be going to the Alps this summer for my first season and the general advice is to go for the tried and tested La Sportiva Nepal's however i dont want to spend that kind of money on a boot i can only really use once a year. Ideally i'd like to be able to use it for Scottish winter scrambling that way when im not climbing in the summer, i can go for exciting walks/scrambles in the winter. The suggestion for this type of use i gather is a B2 boot as the Nepals would be "overkill".

Bearing in mind that within the next 5yrs i'd like to take up ice climbing, is it better to put up with the uncomfortable walk ins for alpine routes to save money on not having to buy another pair of boots when i transition to ice climbing?... or in 5yrs, might I have worn the Nepals out in which case i'd have to buy new boots anyway?

Would be interesting to hear what the general opinion is. is there such a thing as a boot that can do both? is there even that much of a difference?

Thanks in advance

Sam
Caralynh - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:

Husband wears Nepals and they are fine for long walks as well as climbing and scrambling.
JimboWizbo - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: I wear my B3's (Scarpa Mont Blancs) whenever we're going to encounter snow, cold heavy rain, lots of mud, generally when it's a bit cold and miserable.

Yeah they're heavy and stiff but I consider those outings to be more time in the boots getting ready for the Alps trips. I wouldn't wear them in warm to hot weather but they get a lot of use throughout the year and they've never caused discomfort due to being too hot.

Ideally I'd have some B2s for non-wintery/alpine stuff but who can afford both? And at least with the B3s I'm ready for the Alps and the future when we push things further.
featuresforfeet - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:

I'd go with B2s, you can get compatible crampons with vertical toe points for ice climbing. A guide advised me not to bother with C3 crampons as the toe cleat on the boots wears down.
ire - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: I have Scrapa Mont Blanc B3's and use them in uk winter conditions and alps. I wouldn't describe the as overkill at all.

When you venture into the mountains in the alps you'll want something to keep your feet warm - go for the b3's.
davy_boy - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: i would get b3's i have a pair of b2 scarpa charmoz and a new pair 0f b3 scarpa jorasses and the b3's are far more comfortable to walk in even though they are stiffer. also dont just get nepals because there highly rated you need to get the boot that fits your feet best, for me its the laatest scarpa models or boreal boots that work for me. try a few of the new style b3 boots out and see how you find them to walk in.
mrchewy - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: I've done 20 miles on tarmac in 70 degree heat in my B3 Asolos with not a bashed toe or a blister to show for it. Mainly because they fit me properly. Fit is everything.
Standing under Aladdin's Mirror Direct belaying the other week - my feet were still flippin' cold, so I wouldn't worry about B3s being overkill in a Scottish winter.
Mountain Llama on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Hi Sam

IMHO you'll be fine with a pair of good B2 boots for the alps, Scottish winter climbing and scrambling. Example would be scarpa mantas and gravel G12s crampons. If you really go for ice climbing in a big way then you can invest in some more specialised boots or crampons later.

One option is to try a few boots on and see what fits (as this is the most important thing!), ie mantas, nepals etc, then look on eBay, fs forums, sales etc for your size so you bag a bargain.

HTH Davey
isi_o - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
From chatting to folk, and my own experience, the bigger your feet are the more difference this will make. If you're a size 13 or something then you will probably appreciate B3s for steeper routes. B2s will do fine for winter scrambling though, so long as they are a good secure fit with the crampons and the crampons are a C2. Depending on how much you wear your boots you may well want a new set within 5 years, and they will probably tend to get a little more flexible with time also. Personally, I'd love to have a set of B2s for walking and easy routes, and B3s for steeper stuff, but the reality is that I don't find enough difference to warrant the investment. I have smallish feet though - size 6... I've climbed IVs comfortably in B2s and suspect it wouldn't be them that limited how hard I could climb, and done plenty walking in my B3s.
Isi
Sam Maher - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:

Thanks everyone for your input. Your combined views have made my decision much easier.
spearing05 - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: I second the thing about size. I have size 12 feet and find B3's much better for climbing and just as comfortable for walking. I faced a similar decision several years ago and got B2's which are now about half way through life and unlikely to get picked as the boot of choice for any day out except possibly summer scrambles.
Nath93 - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Got my Nepals Evo's last week and must say that I love them thus far. Straight out the box and climbing in the Cairngorms for three days and then 2 days in the Cuillin and they gave me no blisters, although they do need a better insole. I'd say having two pairs of boots, the Nepals for alpine and winter stuff, and then a pair of more flexible boots for rock routes and summer scrambling.

I'm only seconding up to III at the moment and wouldn't want anything less flexible than the Nepals just now. They are a good long term investment too as they can be resoled and even once the Gore Tex dies you can get Nixwax
and coat the already thick leather anyway.

If you go into Ellis Brigham or somewhere similar and ask nice and say you are poor and can't afford them at retail then they will most likely give you a big old discount, I got mine for 288.

Happy shopping.
steveej - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: if you have any ambitions to progress passed winter hill walking then get B3's.

As soon as things get remotely technical you will want B3's. They will also be generally a lot warmer than B2's.

They will not be overkill for Scotland in winter.

I wear mine in summer in the UK as like to keep my feet in order.

Buying B2's this year and then B3's next year will be far more epxensive than just buying B3's now.

If your off to somewhere like Cham you should consider buying there as the selection is far great and the price generally better than in the UK.
steveej - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to steveej: and in summer you can use your approach shoes for scrambling and your rock boots for climbing. And if its pissing down, wear your B3's. Never in 18 years of climbing have I complained of having hot feet
Misha - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
I've had my Nepals over 6 years and with moderate use have had to get them resoled twice but otherwise they're still fine. Rock climbing in them (particularly on rounded Chamonix granite) is what really knackers the soles. With crampons on they don't get much wear and tear. B3s are not essential for ice climbing but will be better and warmer/drier.
Misha - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
And I've done a V ice route in a pair of B1s and G12s when the B3s were being resoled. You use what you've got! They didn't even have front points back in the day... But we aren't back in the day and winter and Alpine climbing are hard enough, so you might as well get yourself set up for success with decent kit, i.e. B3s if you can stretch to a pair.
Mr.Ric on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: I went for B2s for Scottish winter/summer alpine (climbing as well as walking days) and I'm wishing I'd gone for something a bit more substantial! Although it's more my choice of B2 boot that was the problem, the Manta.

Stiffness has been fine for me because I don't climb harder than grade IV and the boots are nice and comfy to walk in as well. The problem I have with them is that the Mantas aren't fully waterproof. I find within a very short time of wearing them my feet are soaking wet and then cold.

It should have been obvious to me and I'm sure it will be to you but what I'm saying is whichever you choose B2/3 make sure it's fully waterproof and not a Manta!
Rob Stratton on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
HI Sam, had same dilemma last summer. I bought Sportivas, but they didn't suit my wide feet, so are now for sale on this site....size 43 if you're interested. BUT: I agree with your 'overkill' concerns. I had to buy new pair of boots while in France, and got less full on, synthetic Scarpa Trango's. (Synthetic equivalent to Mantra's) Exceptionally pleased, definitely what I'd buy for the Alps. Being flexible are much better for walk ins, moving faster over easier ground and no probs whatsoever on snow/ice as stiffen up with crampons on - well up to ice climbing. Much lighter, more flexible shank so good for general UK scrambling and general mountaineering use, as you describe wanting them for also. Next summer I will climb in them, and are by far my favourite pair of boots, as do actually seem great for everything! No doubt far warmer and stiffer Nepals have their place, but my guess is they're so nice looking it's easy to buy overkill boots. Hope that's helpful. Rob
mike kann - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Personally, I like having B2's. I wear Scarpa Triolets which are a full leather upper with a stiff sole unit. They are great for climbing rock in the summer in the alps, and good for ice in the winter, are warm but not swelteringly so. I've never felt I needed a b3, having been through many b3 boots. I use g14's with them and climb IV's in them quite comfortably, and have seconded tech 7 in them. If you are only looking to progress on to ice climbing in a few years time, I'd go for a warm B2 like this as if you are doing lots in the hills, they will wear and by the time you get to grade 5 and 6 you'll probably need new boots anyway.
Rob Stratton on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:

HI Sam, Rob here again. Apols, bought Scarpa 'TRIOLET PRO GTX'. May not be available in uk, but many similar around.....
iksander on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Get somelight B3s that fit well with thickish socks, and get some volume adjusters to put in the boots in the summer so you can wear thinner socks.
Hannes on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: B2s are great for winter walking, scrambling and easier alpine but if you want to do ice climbing, harder alpine or scottish over III you'll appreciate B3s.

Climbing steeper stuff in B2s is awful unless you have size 4 feet

Scrambling I think is easiest done in light approach shoes in my opinion, something like five ten guide tennies and similar. If it is awful weather you're better off in B3s anyway
Sariel - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
Over the years ive tried all sorts of combinations....ive settled on B3 for all technical climbing, Alpine and scottish winter and use the lightest footwear i can at all other times.......Ive not worn my B2 for 5+ years....

Go for the B3 and and a B0 for UK, approach etc......
Cameron94 on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Mr.Ric: I've always found the manta to be a good boot regardless of it's lack of membrane, which imo was one of its best selling points.
I've never had wet feet in mine after hours of plodding around in the rain, through boggy ground and climbing in gullys.

Perhaps some water was getting in through the big hole where the foot goes? ;-)
FrankBooth - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
So half of us reckon you'll just need a decent pair of B2s, the other half reckon you just need a lightweight pair of B3s. That'll be the general view then.
Sariel - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
The Scarpa Jorasses for a B3 has a great walking action , they built in some flex specifically for this. Plus their light.
This would be a great compromise.
LP - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: I am/was in the same boat. I got some Nepal Evos on a price match for 298. I sweated for a long time about the cost and the B3'ness but been out this last week in them and they are amazingly comfortable, light and easy to walk in. I could only afford one pair so opted for these as you can do most things (more or less) in a B3 but not in a B2.
Orgsm on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:

I wouldn't get too hung up on the b2 / b3 classification. Find a pair of b2 or b3 boots that fit your feet and go with them. Summer alpine I have a pair of b2 for full on winter climbs I have my b3s. For easier winter climbs (up to grade 4) the summer alpine b2s are fine. The b2 /b3 rating is more for crampon suitability and not necessarily stiffness. There is some overlap in this attribute of supposedly b2 or b3 boots.
steveej - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:

As I said before, b3 are generally warmer. If you go to the alps in summer. You want flexibility in your plans, but not necessarily in your boots.

If you have any ambitions to go higher, Mont Blanc for example you will be better off in a warmer boot.

If your only going to buy one pair of boots buy b3!
steveej - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: think of it this way....

B3 will do everything a b2 can but not vice versa!
jonnylowes - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Misha:
> (In reply to Sam Maher)
> I've had my Nepals over 6 years and with moderate use have had to get them resoled twice but otherwise they're still fine.

I suspect your moderate use is more than most!
Simon80 - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher:
I would say B3's.I recently went from years of using old Scarpa Vegas to Nepal Evo's and just couldn't believe how comfortable they are to walk in.I think,especially if you have larger size feet,the line between B2 and b3 is very thin and overlaps sometimes and with the modern designs like Evo or Scarpa Mt Blanc there is plenty of ankle flex there for easier ground.
rossn - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Personally I'd go for the B3 and the Nepals are a fantastic boot. I've used the same Nepal Tops for about 12 to 14 years not quite sure how long. They've been resoled several times new rubber rand etc and they are still great. That's the thing about a full mountaineering boot they just last and last and can be restored if you take my meaning. I've used them for winter climbing, ice climbing, walking, scrambling etc in Scotland and via ferrata and mountaineering in the Alps. When they came out at first they were used by Jeff Lowe for many of his famous steep ice fall routes. If you get the right size and the shape suits your foot you'll be hooked. Can't recommend them highly enough. If you get a B2 boot you'de end up buying B3s as well so I would go for it. Check out Go Outdoors if they are near you. They are doing them for 225 at the moment. RN
The Ex-Engineer - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Pretty much the only boots I've owned for the last 3 years have been B3 Nepal Extremes.

In October 2009, I had trashed both my climbing boots (Sportiva Trango Ice which fell to bits in short order) and my 4 season walking boots (Scarpa Mantas after 10+ years and two soles) and needed a new pair of boots. I could only afford one pair and since I was going to be Winter climbing in February 2010, I bought the Nepals. Since then, I have never actually got round to buying any B1/B2 boots as I originally thought I would.

The Nepals are a bit heavy but I've never had any great problems even when using them for UK summer hillwalking and scrambling. In fact I was damn glad of them when I was back-packing in the Dales last June in torrential rain - I don't think I'd have dry in anything 'more suitable' for summer backpacking.

Unless you are struggling with fitness or have climbing/walking partners who are all closet fell-runners who want to set speed records for everything they attempt, wearing boots than are 'overkill' for the situation is never much of an issue, provided they fit.
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

> The Nepals are a bit heavy but I've never had any great problems even when using them for UK summer hillwalking and scrambling. In fact I was damn glad of them when I was back-packing in the Dales last June in torrential rain - I don't think I'd have dry in anything 'more suitable' for summer backpacking.

That's really interesting, I love my Nepals - now 13 years old and still in use from time to time, http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.fi/2010/03/stuff-that-works-la-sportiva-nepal.html but I wouldn't wear them in summer except in the Alps. Mine are fine to hike in, but I wouldn't choose them over a decent more flexi walking boot for soggy/muddy summer stuff and these days I tend to use trainers more than anything else in summer.

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