Multi purpose there such a thing???

4:45 a.m. on April 15, 2005 (EDT)


I've just bought some excellent Salomon Super 9 mountain boots that are fully crampon compatible.

But I'm wondering if there are any boots out there that can be used for both mountaineering (ice climbing/walking) AND for general hiking.

I do alot of trekking at high altitudes so I walk on alot of mixed terrain, but I can't see myself using the Salomon S9's for hiking as they are way too bulky. I am really looking for the perfect boot that I can use for full crampon compatibilty and for hiking.

Any ideas???

11:48 a.m. on April 15, 2005 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts
Not really ...

Asking for boots to cover the full range of possible uses is like asking if a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman can actually cover the full range of things that dedicated knives, pliers, screwdrivers, tweezers, scissors, or (in the latest versions) USB thumb drives can do and do them all well. The short answer is "no."

However, if you are going to do moderate to long hikes, with the climbing no more than 3rd or 4th class, and moderate glacier hikes, with the weather in the range from not much below freezing to moderately hot, there are a large number of hiking boots available. In general these are all full leather, medium high tops (a little above the ankle bone), some insulation, and often have a welt that can mate with crampons. If you choose the right crampon binding, you don't even need to worry about the welt. Grivel, Charlet, and BD among others have a "traditional" binding available that works well with just about any boot (even running shoes, since adventure racers sometimes go to places with snow and ice). I recently got a pair of Grivel Aerolites that work well with my light hiking boots, weigh very little, and are adequate on moderate alpine ice. They aren't suitable for a frozen waterfall (I have other boot-crampon combinations for that sort of thing), but the combination is just fine for doing some peak bagging that involves a glacier approach, perhaps a 45 degree snow-filled couloir, and a rock scramble to the summit.

1:26 a.m. on April 16, 2005 (EDT)
28 reviewer rep
11 forum posts

As Bill said, no one boot will do everything, but you can get good general purpose boots that will do most things including moderate mountaineering and rough hiking.

Assuming that you're not talking about on-trail walking where all you need is lightweight joggers, then a well fitting pair of insulated leathers with a bit of flex (though still with a 2/3 or full shank) is proabably the go. The Salomon S9's have a completely rigid enclosure for the foot don't they(??) which would probably make them too uncomfortable for general hiking but the only way to find out is to try(!)

I've got an old pair of La Sportiva K3s (not made any more, but they do have similar models) that have done 2+ week off-track hikes as well as glacier travel and short pitches of vertical ice. The main factor that makes a rigid boot, or any boot, OK to walk in is probably that it needs to fit *your* foot well. I butchered my feet in several pairs of less stiff boots of other brands before finding this out.

5:41 p.m. on April 18, 2005 (EDT)

The Salomon s9's that I recently bought (off of the internet) actually fit me quite well. The only problem I have is that I feel like my feet are like lumps of concrete.

If they had a bit of flexibilty on the soles I may have got away with hiking with them but they are fully rigid. So I think they will have to go.

I travel abroad, mostly in mountainous areas (like the Andes in S.America), and I occasionally do some mountain climbing as well, involving ice climbing.

I'm no expert at mountaineering, but I would like to have the option, while I'm hiking, to do some more challenging stuff.

Maybe someone could recommend shoes that are crampon compatible, that are fully waterproof and that are light enough to wear whilst travelling/hiking.

Also, can someone tell me what the difference between 10 point and 12 point crampons?

Thanks for your advice!!

7:11 p.m. on April 18, 2005 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts
Well, ....

First, look back at my first response to your post. There are good crampons from several of the major gear manufacturers that can be put on ANY boot, or even running shoes. You do not need a special boot, certainly not for general mountaineering at the level of experience your post implies you have. A good hiking boot is more than sufficient for moderate rock climbing and snow slogging, and with one of the crampons I have suggested, for moderate ice and glacier work. Grivel, Charlet, and Black Diamond all have crampons that will work with any good hiking boot. For example, the Grivel G-10, G-12, or G-14 with the New Classic binding, The Grivel Aerolite with the New Classic binding (a very lightweight alloy crampon that works very well for moderate mountaineering and is only a couple pounds for a pair, thus easy to stick in the pack for the occasional ice patch), the Charlet (Petzl) Irvis with the Flexlock binding, or the Black Diamond Contact will all work well with the kind of flexible hiking boot you say you want for your hiking.

Since you do not like the S-9s for hiking (well, of course, they were designed for technical ice, not for hiking) and want flexibility, you should be looking for a full leather boot, and treat it with Biwell, SnoSeal, or something similar. A Goretex lining on the boot helps, but the full leather is more important. This will give you the flexibility for hiking, will work well for moderate rock climbing (even up to moderate 5th class, but you should have a partner and experience with technical rock before you try this), and will work well for snow and ice up to the moderate level if you use one of the crampons I listed above.

You ask about the difference between 10 and 12 point crampons. One is tempted to give the flip answer of "if you don't know, you have no business getting on snow or ice." However, the basic difference is exactly in the name - 10 point crampons have 10 points or spikes on the bottom of each crampon (20 per pair), while 12-point have 12 points per crampon. More important is how the points are arranged. Usually 10-point have all 10 points aimed downward from the boot and are intended for glacier walking and low angle ice, where "pied platte" is the proper technique, while 12-point have the other 2 pointed forward from the boot and allow climbing steeper ice on the front points, something that requires a lot of practice and experience. However, there are 10-point crampons with 8 pointing downward and 2 front points, and 14-point crampons with 12 pointed downward and 2 front-points. Plus variations which are nominally 12 point but with a set of "secondary points" in addition (the Black Diamond Sabertooth, for example).

Really, your best bet would be to go to a good mountaineering shop and discuss the whole idea with a knowledgable salesperson who can show you the various choices. Better yet, it sounds like you should enroll in a basic mountaineering course.

10:44 a.m. on April 20, 2005 (EDT)

Re: Well, ....

Hi Bill

Thanks for the advice.

I was looking into finding a mountain leader course in the UK, but they are extremely it looks like I have to do a Mountain Leader 'Summer' Course before I can do the Winter one.

I actually do already work in an outdoor hiking equipment (part-time), and we sell a couple of mountain boots (scarpa) and some grivel/petzl crampons, but as I'm more of a hiker it's not really my area of expertise.

So you've given me some info that I didn't know before.


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