Trying to save some cash on boots, advice appreciated

9:44 a.m. on November 12, 2010 (EST)
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Ever the frugal one, I am looking at boots for trips like St Helens, Adams and Hood in snow.  My old-school Raichle Montagnas weren't warm enough on Adams last Spring. 

Everyone seems to love the La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX but they are spendy (to me anyway) pushing the $300 mark LSTRANRD.jpg

Experienced climbers please weigh in.  Could I use my Black Diamond contact


strap crampons and be just as happy with these Columbia boots:


They aren't considered mountaineering boots but they only run less than $100.  Will I regret getting the less expensive boots?

6:10 p.m. on November 12, 2010 (EST)
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You can use your crampons on these boots, but they may shift about on the boots.  Besides, these boots are a poor choice for snow travel.  The insulating membrane cannot be removed to dry out.  While 300 ducats seem like a lot of money, keep in mind this is an investment in your feet and well being, and a good boot will last a long time.  The reason quality snow gear costs money is because it is worth it!

The mountains you reference don’t require sustained front pointing to get up, but if you intend to travel steep routes that do require this technique, a boot with a shank is almost a requirement, and definitely so if front pointing for extended lengths of time.  


12:50 a.m. on November 13, 2010 (EST)
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I agree with Ed. Actually there are three pieces of equipment where I hardly look at the price tag: Shoes, sleeping bags and backpacks. These are such a vital part of a tour. If any of these fail, you will feel miserable and the tour will be a lousy one. Buy the best (even if they are expensive) boots for your feet. Some day you'll be glad that you did.

1:24 a.m. on November 13, 2010 (EST)
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..Actually there are three pieces of equipment where I hardly look at the price tag: Shoes, sleeping bags and backpacks...

Ditto ditto and ditto!  May I add bomber rain gear is another item where money comes second to functionality.


1:39 a.m. on November 14, 2010 (EST)
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Your crampons will fit those boots just fine for easy to moderate snow slopes and ice. I have used contact strap crampons on a similar pair of 4 season trail runners and they never slipped, even when hiking on bare rock between icy and snowy patches for more than 2 hours.


Unfortunately, for high altitude climbs above 6000 ft, I wouldn't trust something that wasn't designed for that demand. Feet are too important, and while you might get down with help or much more slowly after foot problems, you might risk ruining the rest of your life and chances to hike if you lose toes or parts of your foot to frostbite. Those same boots I used with my contact crampons were nearly frozen solid from picking up moisture and not being well insulated enough. My feet were numb, and that was only at 3800'. Needless to say, we didn't expect the conditions we found, and won't make that mistake again.


Sucks to hear, but shell out the extra money. More expensive boots are made well, and will last you longer, where as cheaper boots not made for mountaineering will simply wear out, and within a few years you will have spent the same amount anyways replacing the cheapies.

9:22 p.m. on November 14, 2010 (EST)
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I have a pair of the Trango Evos and i did not pay $300 for them,more like $215.You can find them on sale somewhere on line almost any time.Just wait for the right time.Never pay full retail if you dont have to.ymmv

1:48 p.m. on November 15, 2010 (EST)
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Many thanks for the advice.  I will search high and low for a pair of good mounatineering boots on sale.  Maybe I'll skip eating dinner out for a month and save up. 

I figure the more money I save on gear (reusing beverage bottles for water for example) the more I have for gas to get me and the kids to the trailhead.   For boots however I will buy quality, at the best discount available of course. 

To keep this thread going, who has any idea of a good mountaineering boot for my ten year old son.  He wears a 4/5.  Do I look at womens boots to get to his size or is there a mens boot that goes that small?  Any experience with this? 

4:14 p.m. on November 15, 2010 (EST)
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Sorry no experience with kids boots, but if you're willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks, I'll recommend the same boots I've recommended many times because I have them: Scarpa Inverno. They great for high altitude climbs, have a liner that is incredibly warm, and can be used for anything from winter hiking to vertical ice climbing. They are a bit heavy though, weighing in at about 10lbs total, so train hard!

5:50 p.m. on November 15, 2010 (EST)
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i also wear the scarpa inverno - bought them used on craiglist (the anchorage list) and bought a new set of high altitude liners.  if you search craigslist in cold weather areas, northeast, mountain west, you can find some great lightly-used gear.  found my winter sleeping bag that way too.

The scarpas are great boots.  they are heavy, and some people get a fairly vicious shin bruise from them if they are laced tight.  hasn't been an issue for me.   

more than one of my hiking partners use soft-sole insulated boots (Rockys or Sorels) and crampons similar to the contact strap.  for general snow-walking and snowshoes, they were absolutely fine. 


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