Suggestions for snow hike for boot break-in

Original Post
4will · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Hopefully some of you can help me out. After a three month search I got my size 49 mountaineering boots (a huge thanks to the great guys at LaSportiva who provided tons of input and helped locate a pair). I'm not new to alot of outdoor activities but pretty new to mountaineering. I'll be doing any significant activity with experienced people (friends who talked me into the gear purchase) and a guided trip (Rainier in July).

All of that said, the Sportiva guys said the best way to break in my boots is to get on snow and not just hike in them or get on a stairclimber. While there's still snow in the mountains I want to get some time in my boots and on my crampons. Any suggestions about where I should go? Close to Denver just makes it more convenient and more likely to happen more than once.

If your suggestions include something requiring a little skill or knowledge of mountaineering I'll coerce one of the experienced friends who said, "sure I'll go with you anytime."

Thanks in advance, Will

Kent Pease · · Littleton, Colorado · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 725

Try St Mary's Glacier area, although you may need to walk on dirt/rock a bit before getting into the snow. Other areas to consider are: Lovelend Pass and Berthod Pass, and each of the following when their respective roads open: Mt Evans, Trail Ridge Road, and Pikes Peak.

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 123

Go up to Brainard Lake, park at the winter lot, ride your bike down the road to the actual lake (maybe 2 miles?), lock your bike to a tree, then climb Mt. Audobon. It's a 13'er and the trail is about 8 miles round trip with maybe 2800' elevation gain to the summit. Start early.

I've never done it, but from what I understand it's a great intro to snow climbing and fairly safe from avalanches. Do your research and make sure to evaluate the snow stability that day. Typically, the main risk this time of year is a rapidly warming snowpack under the sun which can lead to wet slides. Aim to do it the morning after a nice cold overnight to properly freeze the snow. gives amazing forecasts peak by peak at multiple elevation levels and it's an indispensable tool for alpine climbing and mountaineering.

4will · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks guys! I had thought about Loveland Pass and completely forgot about St. Mary's. I've been to the Brainard Lake area snowshoeing but had not even considered that as access to something like this. I'll certainly do the research for safety and for personal education on the topic.

Any other suggestions are appreciated. Nothing like a new pair of boots to motivate me to get outdoors (as if I need a reason).

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

Quandary is in great shape for mountaineering boots. You will be on snow for all but the first mile. Saw a lot or guys in the boots yesterday. Plus you will get more elevation as well.

4will · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Sweet. This is all exactly the type of input I'm looking for. I have several hike options now. Happily I'm in town some over the next few days. Sadly things may be a little crowded over the holiday weekend.

Any other suggestions can only improve my list.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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