/ Welsh winter/summer alpine boot advice needed!
I have got myself in a bit of a muddle and too caught up with all the different specs and intended uses as this will be my first pair of 'proper' boots and a first foray into winter and alpine climbing.
Is there a happy medium that will cover a few uses comfortably? Ie easy Alpine climbs and scrambles (Aiguille vert etc) as well as warm enough for a trot up Mt Blanc and waterproof enough for some Welsh Winter stuff? Do I ask too much?
Have been looking at La Sportiva trango Alp and the Extreme Light - am I on the right lines?
It does seem Leather B3s with C2 crampons are usually suggested for the Mt Blanc courses; will these be ok for easy climbing as well?
Thanks in advance! And apologies for the long rant for a short question...
On the leather side, boots varying from a pair of Scarpa Manta through to Sportiva Nepal Extremes will do everything you ask. The Nepal Extremes will be superb for 4000m peaks and Welsh Winter at the expense of being heavy and very warm in the Alps below the snowline. At the other end of the scale, Mantas will be ideal for easier Alpine routes below 4000m and Wales up to grade III. They should cope with Mont Blanc at a push (unless you badly suffer from cold feet) but will quickly start to show their limitation on steeper ice and on harder routes where you are standing stationary belaying for long stretches.
It is a similar case on the synthetic side but with all the boots being a bit lighter at the expense longer term durability. You are looking in the right area. The Trango Alp won't deliver as much in terms of warmth so the Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light (or Scarpa Jorasses Pro) will be better above 4000m and on Welsh winter routes and the expense of being heavier.
When I was in a similar position in 2009, I bought a pair of Sportiva Nepal Extremes with which I have since done everything you mention and more. The fact I could only afford one pair of boots meant that I equally could not afford to have to replace them if they started to fall apart after only 100 days use, hence I went for leather.
In a similar vain I'm after a pair of all rounder winter boots. I want them mainly for winter walking in the highlands and snow/glacier approaches, but it would be nice be able to do the occaisional bit of climbing in them too.
From what I've read so far, I'm guessing a pair of B2 boots and and C2 crampons is probably my best option - would B3's be too cumbersome/heavy/stiff to walk in?
I've only tried a couple of boots on so far. Does anyone have any recomendations? Ideally looking at <£200, but definitely <300.
In my humble and somewhat old school opinion, hot feet are bearable but cold feet are miserable.
Good, solid boots may be heavier, but they won't let you down. Lighter boots lack that extra bit of oomph and provide a less stable platform.
Nepal Extremes or similar. Buy well, buy once.
I was in a similar dilemma a while ago, getting into winter walking and easy climbing (grade 1/2) and wanted to get a pair of boots that then might do me for harder climbs and the Alps.
Bought some Nepal Extremes and G12 crampons, and they've been great.
Except I never did get into any harder climbing, and won't now, so they're overkill for walking and easy climbs, so am in the process of selling them and getting a pair of new synthetic super-light B2 boots to use with the G12s.
So, I'd just say, although I agree that the Nepals fit what you want, be very sure that they are going to be used for harder climbing, otherwise a lighter pair of boots might be a better buy.
very similar situation for me. My feet don't seem to get on with Scarpa boots so the Manta was out. I got a pair of the Asolo Sherpa GTX. They are waterproof, pretty light, stiff enough for the alps (several outings done) and a little flex so they are reasonably comfortable (albeit a compromise) for just trogging around the Dales or Lakes. I think mine were just under £200 after the BMC discount.
Most mountain boots are aimed at your activities approx 3/4 season 1000-4000m
At either end of the spectrum you can get B3 boots that are fine (even comfortable) for walking or C2 boots that are fine for climbing (especially if your feet are smaller or your calves are immense)
Mountain boots can size up significantly different to your "street shoe" size. Key things are to i) try them on for as long as possible and ii) get crampons that fit - cos they ain't uiniversal
Try some different insoles and/or volume reducers (v thin insoles) and socks. Some people like 2 pairs of socks, others 1.
As others have said, generally leather boots are more durable but heavier and synthetic lighter but less durable - so plan according to your priorities.
Spending a few hours in a knowledge shop (Joe Browns, Needlesport etc) is well worth it
As your post starts with the words "Welsh summer/winter" and it sounds like the Alpine stuff is an occasional "nice to have" maybe you don't need to be too concerned about high end technical stuff.
I climbed Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc du Tacul and the Cosmiques Arrette (Agui du Midi) in Scarpa SLs with 10 point flexible walking crampons and a decent set of yeti snow gaiters super glued to the boots. You can peel the glue at the end of the season easily. I use mine for summer, winter, via ferratas, glacier travel and general scrambling in Scotland, Wales and the Alps.
Scarpa SLs are common and often around £120. My latest pair were £99 as there was a price war on my local high street (Yay!).
The big question is how hard and vertical the ice will be. A B1 boot + strap on 10 pt crampon combo is fine for glacier travel and snow couloirs. If you intend to get vertical then you are unlikely to get an all rounder for both Wales summer and Alpine ice.
Agreed :) Thanks for all the advice guys. Just tried on some Mantas, Chamozs, monoliths, Nepal Extremes, Trango Ss, but went with: a pair of Verto S4K GTXs: http://uk.thenorthface.com/tnf-uk-en/men-s/shop-by-category/footwear-shoes/men-s-verto-s4k-gtx-boots... It was between these and the Mantas for me.
The Nepal extremes were a great fit, but far too stiff for what I need (front pointing is going to be less that 10% of what I do). If anyone's after a pair of the Nepals though, Nevisport on Deansgate has a couple of pairs left at £309. Alternatively, Decathalon sells Simond 300s for about £150, and while they're only rated to B2, they are very stiff (as in as stiff as the Nepals).
So the next question... which C2 crampons?
I'd get newmatic crampons. Not all crampons fit all boots well.
When you fit crampons they should stay on the boot when the boot is lifted without doing up the straps or rear clip.
The sole of the boot should have good contact from the back to the front points (apart from the joining bar).
The downward points should cover the sole of the boot well, they should not overhang the edges or be all based too much to one side or the other.
I'd avoid buying crampons that need an asymmetric bar to get them to fit your boot, this is just a poor bodge IMO and leaves the front points pigeon toed (pointing in the way too far), buy crampons that fit your boot properly in the first place.
G12s are very nice if they fit your boot. The only gripe I have is the front point protrusion could be a bit longer (maybe just under a cm or so), but this does make them slightly better for walking in ( and also mixed climbing)
Grivel Air Tech with a newmatic binding.
Not much in it, but whilst the G12s are better for the Alps where you spend the majority of time on snow/ice, for UK use where you spend loads of time on iced up paths and rock with only a thin covering snow the Air Techs will have a slight edge.
Thanks guys, so far tried the following with the boots:
Simmond Makalu mixed
Grivel Monte Rosa
Newmatic-style binding do seem to be the best fit...The Simond's and the Airtechs were the best fit, but not sure about the antiballing plate on the Simonds. How much of a difference does the design make? (on the Simonds the AB plate is pretty much flat).
Think I'm torn between G12's or Airtechs. How much of a pain are the G12's to walk in?
> Think I'm torn between G12's or Airtechs. How much of a pain are the G12's to walk in?
Fine, with a bit of practice. They pretty soon reduce to Air-tech length points anyway if you use them on rock!
On iced up paths or in conditions with minimal snow cover, all crampons are a pain. G12s are no better or worse than most others.
The Air Techs will have a slight edge in that sort of terrain but not enough to agonise over and certainly not enough to warrant paying any extra if you can get G12s for a better price.
I'd get the G12s more general purpose and will last longer.
"Not much in it, but whilst the G12s are better for the Alps where you spend the majority of time on snow/ice, for UK use where you spend loads of time on iced up paths and rock with only a thin covering snow "
Thats not been my experience. I rarely use crampons for travel when not climbing and most times I've climbed I've had a lot more than a thin covering of snow!
..... £105.69 for the G12s cheers :-)
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