Mountaineering boots

cmeier117

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So how many of your guys use mountaineering boots for your mountain hunts for Mule deer, elk etc... Or any hunt where it is high and steep? Or what is the stiffest type boot you would use for your hunts? I have some Crispi boots that are very rigid and supportive and a step up from a hiking boot. But who uses the mountaineering style boots with a stiff sole?
 

Becca

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I used La Sportiva Glacier mountaineering boots with a half shank on sheep and goat hunts the last several seasons, and this year I am trying out the Hanwag Lady Alaskans with the full shank in the bottom. I was completely happy with the Glaciers, but interested in upgrading to the full shanks and also wanted a boot with a full rand all the way around as the glaciers rand only covers the front half, and while waterproof they did seem to collect moisture inside over time and I hoped the full rand would help. I have so far been thrilled with the Hanwags, the full shank lets you walk right up steep hillsides even with only a small toehold, and they felt comfortable yet still supportive right out of the box. Stiff soles take a little getting used to, and I would absolutely recommend after market insoles for a little cushion if nothing else. I ran pink (women's equivalent to orange) super feet in my La Sportivas and have the Lathrop and Sons Synergy Footbeds in my Hanwags.

I was wearing my La Sportivas when I broke my leg on Kodiak. My tibia fractured right where my boot stopped, and the surgeon told me he thought the boots saved me from destroying the whole ankle joint and possibly a compound (bone sticking out) fracture. I remember overhearing a discussion in the ER about how to get my boot off, and the State Trooper who was there saying "don't bother with a saw, you won't be able to cut through those boots".

Think I will continue running stiff soles in steep terrain or when I am packing heavy loads. For lighter trips without mountainous terrain, I can sometimes get away with lighter weight hiking boots or shoes, and so there are occasions when those get the nod.
 
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cmeier117

cmeier117

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So Becca the La Sportiva only have a half shank so they are not as stiff and rigid as the alaskan's? Am I understanding you correctly? I may have mixed up what the shank of the boot is?
 

sreekers

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I have been tempted by the mountaineering boots as well, but haven't tried any yet. My current arsenal includes Meindl Perfekts(my size 13s have a 1inch rand), Meindl Alaska Hikers, and Asolo Sasslongs.

The Hikers are far and away the stiffest, but you wouldn't use them for climbing, and I don't believe they are Crampon compatible. The Perfekt's are a 10 inch model and honestly look like a 10 inch version of the Canadian with the different sole/rand than the standard.

The terrain that I hike for Mule Deer and Elk covers just about everything that Wyoming has to offer, including some pretty rough rockslides and chutes. The Perfekts did great in them last season and I can't complain at all. The Hiker's have done well and will likely do well this season on some scouting trips. The Sasslongs haven't been put to the test yet, only one real hike in them and they were very comfortable.

Bottom line, I can't justify that stiff of a boot for what I do, even though it might have been nice last year coming off the peak with my deer. However, if/when I ever draw a sheep tag something that stiff will be on my feet.
 

Becca

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So Becca the La Sportiva only have a half shank so they are not as stiff and rigid as the alaskan's? Am I understanding you correctly? I may have mixed up what the shank of the boot is?

The boot shank is the metal or plastic plate built into the bottom of the boot. So you are correct, the La Sportivas with their half shank were not as stiff as the Hanwags with their full shank. I was surprised at the difference this made, as I thought the La Sportivas were pretty stiff soled until I upgraded. I noticed the biggest difference when side hilling, or climbing straight up a steep slope; I got a lot less twist in the sole of the full shank boots even when only a small part of the boot was in contact with the hillside. The La Sportivas were great boots, but for hiking in steep terrain I am impressed with the full shanks in the Alaskans.

I reread it, and my previous post was confusing, when I referred to my injury I meant that the stiffness/support of the ankle portion of the boot likely saved my joint from further injury, and I suspect that regular hiking boots wouldn't have provided the same level of support that mountaineering boots did. I doubt any type of footwear would have completely saved me from a fracture in that situation. Because the shanks run from the heel portion of the boot out towards the toe (or to the toe in full shanks) it would have been really hard to cut the boots off in the emergency room...I am glad they didn't, it was going to hurt getting it off anyway, and I got another full season out of them once I was recovered enough to get back out there.
 

Lawnboi

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I like the benefits of a stiff mountaineering boot when hauling any load... My legs and feet need all the help they can get. All personal preferance.



I love my meindl alaskas, which are pretty dang stiff, along with my tibets, which are even stiffer. my ankles need all the help they can get. Something to be said about a good broken in pair of mountaineering boots. My alaskas are like gloves. The stiffness of the sole and overall harness of the full shank does take some getting used to though. Your feet will adapt.
 

Above Timber

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I have a pair of Meindls as well I do love them now. I also have a pair of Lowa Zephyrs. I use the Zephyrs for very early season and scouting and the Meindls for later in the season of if I am packing in more than a couple of miles. I thought I would never get the Meindls broken in but not that they are they are my go to boot. They are very supportive in the foot and ankle the only drawback I have is the weight. But that is not enough for me to quit wearing them.
 

Aron Snyder

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One of the assets that gets overlooked with a stiff shank is the ability to climb with less stress/fatigue to the foot. With a stiff mountaineering boot your ascent times up steep terrain (30-45 degree slopes) will be quicker than with a normal set of boots. It reminds me of the difference between normal pedals on a bike and using toe clips; using toe clips gves you maximum efficiency and no wasted energy per stroke, whereas with a normal pedal you get slippage and a lot of wasted energy.

I probably didn't explain that very well, but mountaineering boots are pretty handy in some areas! The thing I've had trouble with it getting a set to fit...
The mountain Lights from Lathrop and Sons fit me perfect, so they looked through all the boots that Hanwag offers and found the mountaineering boot that mimicked them the most. The Crack (don't laugh at the name) was about identical in fit. I've been using htem for a couple weeks now and they been great so far, but I haven't put any LONG distance trips on them yet. I'll be heading out thins afternoon for a 2 night/3 day, 18 miles loop and that should tell the tail as to how my feet will like them on extended trips.
 
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cmeier117

cmeier117

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Thanks guys for the tips. I really want a pair now. All the boots I have do have great support but they have some flex up in the toe area. Very comfortable, but after my last weekend of going 4 miles in snow from 4,500 feet to 6,500 feet the balls of my feet were very fatigued and my toes were kind of sore. I am assuming if I understand you correct Aron that the cracks (or something similar would have helped or eliminated this?

If mountaineering boots fit well can they be just as comfortable walking in on flat ground or rolling hills? Or are they made for one thing only, going on steep hills with a heavy pack?
 
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cmeier117

cmeier117

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One of the assets that gets overlooked with a stiff shank is the ability to climb with less stress/fatigue to the foot. With a stiff mountaineering boot your ascent times up steep terrain (30-45 degree slopes) will be quicker than with a normal set of boots. It reminds me of the difference between normal pedals on a bike and using toe clips; using toe clips gves you maximum efficiency and no wasted energy per stroke, whereas with a normal pedal you get slippage and a lot of wasted energy.

I probably didn't explain that very well, but mountaineering boots are pretty handy in some areas! The thing I've had trouble with it getting a set to fit...
The mountain Lights from Lathrop and Sons fit me perfect, so they looked through all the boots that Hanwag offers and found the mountaineering boot that mimicked them the most. The Crack (don't laugh at the name) was about identical in fit. I've been using htem for a couple weeks now and they been great so far, but I haven't put any LONG distance trips on them yet. I'll be heading out thins afternoon for a 2 day, 18 miles loop and that should tell the tail as to how my feet will like them on extended trips.

I know Lathrop and Sons doesn't carry the Crack's but how do they compare price wise to the ML and Alaskan's?
 

Aron Snyder

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I can't really comment on comfort as everyone has a different idea of what they like, but I have several friends in Colorado that use mountaineering boots for everything.

I'm guessing I'll be using the Crack's for all mountain goat and sheep hunts as well as long distance elk/deer, but for everything else I will use the Mountain Lights.

Heading out now, but will report back on Saturday morning when I return.
 

RockChucker30

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I use Lowa Tibets or Sheep Hunters every season in a mix of flat, steep, and hilly ground. They are comfortable on flat as well as steep terrain.
 

NWhikerAl

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Aron, How did the Hanwag Cracks work out?
I like the fit of the Alaskans but looking for something with more support.
 

Aron Snyder

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I liked the fit of the Salewa Raven over the Crack.

Both were great boots, but my foot prefers Mountain Lights and the Raven.
 

fillthefreezer

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so if im reading this correctly, you wouldnt consider the mountain lights a mountaineering boot? what would they be considered and whats the differences? thanks
 

Yellowknife

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so if im reading this correctly, you wouldnt consider the mountain lights a mountaineering boot? what would they be considered and whats the differences? thanks

I'm not Aaron, but I have the Hanwag Alaskans and have also used mountaineering boots. The Hanwags can be more accurately defined as "mountain hunting" boots. i.e. built sturdier than an average hiking boot. However, they are in no way a "Mountaineering" boot. Although they have full length shank built into the midsole, it is nylon and relatively flexible. That makes it easier to walk on normal terrain by allowing your foot to bend in a more natural fashion. The drawback is that when you are climbing very steep ground or sidehilling, the boot will flex down slope every time you take a toe hold.

Defining a "mountaineering" boot is a bit tough, but generally they will have a very stiff full shank combined with a highly supportive upper. When you toe into a slope, you can climb it more like a ladder. As Aaron mentioned in his post earlier in this thread, it's just more efficient on nasty slopes and long scree slides. In fact many Alaskan sheep hunters use full plastic mountaineering boots with nearly no flex for this reason. The DRAWBACK of a super stiff boot is that it's clunkier to walk on more moderate terrain. They also tend to be heavier.

Yk
 

fillthefreezer

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the description of mountain hunting boot vs mountaineering boot helps to put things into perspective. thanks

so how close is a mountaineering boot to a full on plastic boot as far as feel and peformance?
 

Yellowknife

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the description of mountain hunting boot vs mountaineering boot helps to put things into perspective. thanks

so how close is a mountaineering boot to a full on plastic boot as far as feel and peformance?

The range of mountaineering boots is just to wide to really make an accurate comparison. You can get anything from fly weight "fast and light" like the Scarpa Rebel Carbon boots to super heavy duty leather double boots for climbing Denali. I believe the plastics fall toward the heavy end of the scale, but my mountaineering experience is limited.

Yk
 

luke moffat

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Another thing to consider is full leather with goretex on the Alaskans vs. just gore-tex on the Mountain lights. Just got back from a extremely wet mountain goat hunt on Kodiak. My buddy whom has the exact same foot size I do wore my mountain lights and i ran the Alaskans. His feet were soaked after day one of the hike up the soaking wet mountain grass/brush in the pouring rain. Mine were still dry (actually the only thing left truly dry on me at the time) after day 3. I waxed my boots just prior to the hunt and had dry happy feet the whole time. My buddy in the mountain lights and my other buddy in some Asolo mountaineering boots feet were both just gore-tex not full leather and gore-tex than while their feet were blister free they were very very wet. Just something else to consider when buying boots is how wet of conditions you'll be in....
 
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