/ Boots/Shoes for the Cuillin

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Bob_the_Builder - on 16 Apr 2013
I have a plan with a couple of folk to attempt the Cuillin ridge in late May, and I'm wondering what boots to use. I was planning on wearing some pretty bog standard high-ankle approach shoes with a membrane but those managed to go through a lawnmower so that isn't happening anymore... At the moment all I have is a pair of Nepal Extremes (bit heavy!) and some cheap crappy running shoes (bit light!).

So what advice is there? I've heard of some kind of trainer/rock shoe hybrid which sounds attractive but I don't know what to look for. Budget is a fairly major concern unfortunately...
Dave Kerr - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

I'd go for approach shoes personally.
martinph78 on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:
> Budget is a fairly major concern unfortunately...

Then buy whatever you will get the most use out of for the rest of the next few years (or use what you already have). If it was me I'd wear my normal hiking boots as that's what I have and I'm used to walking and scrambling in.

Solaris - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

It'd be worth running a search on this question: there've been plenty of discussions about it, some in recent weeks.

Fwiw (and it's a bit hard to offer advice to someone without a profile), I think it depends on how comfortable you'd be climbing severe in whatever you wear. Judging from the fact that you own a pair Nepal Extremes, I'd guess that you'd be up to leading at least V Diff in them and wearing them for long days. So if you are on a really tight budget, I'd consider using them.
Call-Me-Bryce - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:
Salewa Mnt Trainer!
Bob_the_Builder - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

I used to use my approach shoes as my normal hiking boots (did me 4 months in NZ, on a number of 5-7 day hikes, as well as grade 3 scrambles, lots of hiking in north america, etc.) Unfortunately having destroyed them in the autumn I haven't replaced them and so that's what I'm looking to do. Problem is the approach shoes I had don't seem to be made anymore though I'm sure they upgraded to an equivalent that I don't know about. I guess since its been 5 years since I've looked for a new model of boots (having previously just replaced them with e same model) I want to see what is out there. Fair point on the budget issue though, beggars cannae be choosers!
Bob_the_Builder - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Solaris:

Indeed I have led VDiff in my lovely B3's, though I lead S in rock shoes and somewhat nervously at that! I won't be doing any of the hard leads though, I'm planning on being the fit and good at ropework seconding guy. =]

I was thinking about doing in the Nepal Extremes, what I'm concerned about is that they are super heavy and when my partner will be in something lighter and weight is key (I'm led to believe), that I'll be holding up the group with clunky massive boots. Also sweaty feet. Manageable on a winter day/weekend/week but it seems like a bit of unnecessary suffering when there won't be any snow or ice!
martinph78 on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder: Sounds like you'd get plenty of use out of a new pair of approach shoes then

On a side note, I worm my Nepals last weekend, full sun, a cracking day on the walk in and out. I was amazed how little my feet sweated. My socks were practically dry back at the car. I was amazed!
Bob_the_Builder - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

I have quite sweaty feet. Sweaty but easily cold. Its a frustrating issue.

Any advice on a good pair of high ankle approach shoes then? =P
martinph78 on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder: lol, no, sorry. I just wear cheap "trail" trainers or my hiking boots
cat22 - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder: Why the high ankle, just out of interest? I'd recommend something along the lines of 5.10 Camp 4 or La Sportiva Boulder X - only problem for UK use is they're really slow drying.
Solaris - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Sounds to me like you'd be fine in the NEs which, historically (!), aren't all that heavy and aren't particularly hot. If you've been to the alps, you'll be well aware that they are probably the most commonly seen boots out there - and glaciers get pretty hot in the afternoon.

Weight will matter more on your back than on your feet, I'd have thought. Clumpiness of movement in NEs could be a concern - why not have a day on a long mountaineering route in them and see how you get on? Personally, I find rock climbing in boots easier than in approach shoes: like boots they require neater technique than rock shoes but unlike boots, I don't find them stiff enough.

If you do decide to get another pair of boots/shoes, my advice would be to regard them as a long-term investment and stretch the budget as far as possible.
Bob_the_Builder - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to cat22:

I just like that little bit extra ankle support. Also a high ankle with a membrane seems slightly more likely to hold back the bog! (thinking long term)
Bob_the_Builder - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Solaris:

Maybe I'll try them without the tongue insulation insert on the Aonach Eagach and see how it goes.

I always thought they were super popular because they're comfy and warm and great to climb in! That's why I got them anyway. =]

For boots I do prefer to pay more for the right item. I'll probably end up spending loads on them, but I don't want a TNF shoe equivalent, i.e. super expensive and technically less good than other options.

Thanks for the advice, and if anyone has suggestions I;'d appreciate it if they were thrown my way! Everything has to be researched and tried on anyway, so the wider my starting point the more likely I'll find the right shoe.
Cameron94 on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder: Almost all of my hill days are on the ridge (usually twice a week) and I wear a pair of scarpa charmoz in summer but I'm considering getting a pair of approach shoes with a decent rand a flat zone at the toe. Only down side is I don't see them lasting very long.
neil9216 - on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

I waer La Sportiva Ghanda, they are an appraoch/climbing shoe. around 120 quid.

they are awesome, there is a stiffening insole inside that you remove for the walk in then when you start climbing just replace the insole and off you go.

They are really comfortable, they kind of mold to the shape of your feet so the longer you have them on the more comfortable they become.

i have happily lead a severe while wearing them.
I have also used them at the local indoor wall to see what there like and was comfortably leading 6b/c in them.

If you require the high ankle support look at the Ghanda guide. same shoe.around 150 quid

I also wear Scarpa Freney in winter and the first time I went to Skye I used them and regretted it, it was a really hot day and my feet were sweating like hell and it felt as though I had lumps of lead on my feet,

And if your doing the whole ridge I would definently consider something lighter than your Nepals,

If budget is an issue I also own La sportiva trango light low trainers, whch are basicly built on the same model as the trango boot but in a trainer, and I have used them on Skye and they were great. retail around 80 quid.

hope that helps

BnB - on 17 Apr 2013
Another vote for a decent pair of approach shoes. Mine are Scarpa something GTX with a low ankle. I've climbed all the Cuillin tops in them over the last year or so. Thry have a stiff last with trainer-like weight and comfort, best of both worlds. You really shouldn't be worrying about getting them wet. The approaches from Glen Brittle and Sligachan are all sound enough for nimble walkers to stay dryshod. I can't remember them ever letting water in over the ankles. Just make sure you get a pair with a firm sole and last.
Solaris - on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Sounds like everything is under control. Only thing I'd hesitate over is removing the tongue insert: won't that alter the volume?

If you do decide on shoes, it may be worth having a look at light weight fell shoes: sticky rubber soles (some Inov-8s, anyway), drain well, and the low heal reduces need for ankle support. You could always carry a spare pair of socks.

Have a great trip - it's a fantastic day (or two) out.
OwenM - on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to neil9216:
> (In reply to Bob_the_Builder)
>If you require the high ankle support look at the Ghanda guide. same shoe.around 150 quid

> Neil

Interesting shoes, where did you get them I've just had a quick look on the internet and can't find anyone selling them?

Bob_the_Builder - on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm getting a few ideas now to look into.
Offwidth - on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Our old Cuillin Traverse Report and Tips

“Some useful info from a couple who made it but only rated their chances at 50:50 beforehand. Late 30's with 10+ years multipitch mountaineering experience mainly upto HS. Longest previous day trip Mount Whitney USA 7000ft ascent 22 mile walking round trip at altitude.

No running!! (not intended, but both of us had a variety of minor injuries, now I wonder if its worthwhile...)
Mountaineering trips concentrating on continuous movement over D/VD terrain with boots & rucksack. Days in the peak district climbing 15-30 routes in a session, S and below. Practice moving alpine style...familiarity... trust. No previous experience of the ridge other than scrambling on Scurr Dearg Am Basteir and Scurr Nan Gillean.
Lots of reading/sussing out (mostly Skye guide; Harvey map; Andy Hyslop and Gordon Stainforth). Much weighing & organising kit (seriously!)

Decided to take:
45m 9mm rope, 1kg rack (2 long extenders; 1 sling extender; hex 8; nuts 1,3,5,7,9; 2 long slings); 600gm down jacket for emergency warm clothing; map; compass; whistle; altimeter watch; space foil bag; penknife; one lightweight headtorch; minimal 1st aid kit (Ibruprofen taken every 6 hours to combat pain from old injuries; triangular bandage; steri-strips; cleaning swab; compeed)
then each:
alpine harness; belay plate & locking crab; approach shoes; comfortable socks; comfortable underwear; two long sleeved thermals; lightweight pertex top; thick thermal trousers (power stretch); powerstretch balaclava; thinney gloves; 2 one litre bottles with measured 'high 5' isotronic drink powder(slow burn, high carbohydrate); 4 x high 5 carbohydrate bars (slow burn, high carbohydrate).

17/6/01 forecast cold day, breezy, mostly sunny, drizzle & rain the previous day &night. Relatively dry on and off previously. No Midges!!! Almost perfect!!!!

Day before ensured good hydration and carbohrdrate loading; tried to get some protein but minimised fat; no beer!! Got up early, ate a high 5 protein recovery bar started taking pain killers. Ate breakfast. Started walking at 2:30 am from Glen Brittle up Coire Gurunda drinking 1 lire of isotonic. Filled all 4 bottles at the Loch. One with just water to drink with the energy bars. Got onto Ridge at 5:00; dumped bags walked to Garrs Bhein. Moff slipped and nearly fell on a dodgy bypass of Scurr a Coire Bhigg (watch your step on those loose traverses!!) Started traverse at 6:00 am mostly following Andy Hyslop's running guide (except going over Sgurr a Coire Bhigg, avoiding Scurr Dubh and getting lost on the descent of Bidein). Tried to keep moving minimising breaks to a few minutes. Good progress to Scurr Banachdich (12 noon). Navigation problems on descents, tiredness & my knee slowed progress thereafter. Descents of Sgurr A Mhadaidh fourth and first peaks, Bidein, An Caisteal were nastier than expected and cost a lot of time and energy. The climbing was
exposed requiring confidence but not too bad; the exception being the overhanging boulder problem onto Am Basteir (4b/4c?) and the TD Gap is a bit of a thrutch, especially for the short. Bruach Na Frithe at 8.00pm; Nan Gillean at 9.30pm - fifteen and a half hours for the traverse. Limped down descent but speeded up again on the surprisingly good flatish path, arriving back at Sligachan at 12.15 am. Ate a High 5 protein recovery bar and rehydrated, (no booze! but only because we'd missed last orders).

What would we change??? Take 6 energy bars; knees!!!

Unused kit: down jacket; first aid kit other than pain killers; compass!; headtorch!!!

To conclude it was the most absorbing, fabulous mountaineering day of our lives so far. I think the key to our success was a mixture of luck and preparation (including keeping a very close eye on the advanced weather forecasts and deciding two days before to drive up and go for it; going as lightweight as we dare). On the day itself we were able to just concentrate on movement and the outstanding surroundings.

Time now to crack open the champagne!! Oh, one final tip - when you're soaking in the bath check your body for ticks!!! (and learn how to remove them properly if you don't want to waste the next night at your local casualty department)."
Offwidth - on 17 Apr 2013
Pero - on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder: I'd say the answer is simple:

The Nepal Extremes are way too heavy. Weight probably matters more on your feet, because you move your feet up and down more than your centre of gravity.

If you're happy on rough terrain in approach shoes, go for those. But, if you like/need ankle support, go for a pair of lightweight trekking boots.

As other posters have said, you only need to buy what you'll use afterwards anyway. Although, the ridge might very well trash a pair of cheap approach shoes!

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