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Boots for Cordillera Blanca

Original Post
Scott . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 50

I am headed to Peru to climb in the Cordillera Blanca and possibly some other ranges for a month this summer. I am hoping to do some of the 6000m peaks. Are double boots necessary? I currently own La Sportiva Nepal Cubes. I know people who have been fine with leather single boots there and I generally operate pretty warm. However, my feet also sweat a lot so I have a hard time drying my boots out at night on multi-day trips. I am thinking about getting one of the more technical double boots like the La Sportiva G2SM or Scarpa 6000. What are other people's experiences with boots in Peru? Also, any recommendation on ideal temperate rating for a sleeping bag to bring? 

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

I used plastic boots for that trip and pretty much sold them immediately after. We'd typically be on a glacier 3 days. It was nice to bring the liners into my bag and let them dry overnight, also keeping my feet warm when sleeping. 

I doubt my feet would have been cold wearing leather boots. I don't know of any strategies to dry them overnight on a glacier though.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

If your feet sweet a lot look into a VBL system. I use thin neoprene socks with a fleece lining under a wool sock. When I get into a camp I take the VBL off and hang to dry and put on some other socks. The wool socks go under my shirt for the night.  Once dinner is done the VBL socks go into my bag for the night.

As for boots, the real question is what are your objectives? You may well fine with your current boots. I like a double boot for multi-day trips the temps are consistently below freezing. As for a bag I would bring my 0 degree bag. 

Logan Ortlieb · · Lima, PE · Joined May 2017 · Points: 25

Spantiks are always good for 5k-upper 6k mountains.  
I use the la sportive Nepal cubes in the cordillera blanca and Arequipa and I have no complaints.  My feet are always dry and warm.  plenty of wiggle room and perfect fit for ice climbing and general mountaineering.  I've used them on 6000m peaks and they were amazingly warm and perfect for the mixed and ice terrain.

Gerrit Verbeek · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Have you ever tried putting antiperspirant on your feet? Lots of companies make specific products, or just get a regular scent-free antiperspirant/deoderant

Parker Kempf · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 210

I spent like 9 weeks there in 2014. Rocked nepal evos (single leather) for most stuff there but brought some super gaiters which i tossed on (and was super psyched to have) when i got above like 19/20K but I am a very cold footed person.

for sleeping i had a western mtneering -10 gore-windstopper bag but could have gotten away with a 0 degree for sure.

definitely check in with the casa de guias before going anywhere. i had the 2009 guidebook and it was mostly worthless because of how much the glaciers had retreated. most of the routes laid out in the book were super dangerous 5 years later and now have alternate approaches and whatnot. Dudes at casa de guias arent stingy with beta ( i didnt hire them or anything just swung by and asked).

def check out hatun machay (if its still open? ive read some gnarly articles about it recently) rad sport climbing at around 14k that'll get you acclimated fast

Logan Ortlieb · · Lima, PE · Joined May 2017 · Points: 25
ParkerKempf Kempf wrote: 

def check out hatun machay (if its still open? ive read some gnarly articles about it recently) rad sport climbing at around 14k that'll get you acclimated fast

Hatun Machay is still there but at the moment, there is a dispute between the caretakers and local Aholes in the area.  Someone burned down the refuge and chopped some of the bolts on some routes.  Camping is still perfect and most routes are intact anyways.  Still a great weekend get away to the mountains for a little bit of rock and relax time.

Logan Ortlieb · · Lima, PE · Joined May 2017 · Points: 25

Update:  My friend just went there and said that Hatun Machay is back up and running. But plan to stay in a tent because they are still building the refuge. They have already rebolted most of the routes.  The ones that were chopped and the ones that needed to be replaced.  Youre good to go. Hit me up if you need info for the area or Peru in general.

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 338

Just got back from Peru. Was very happy to have double boots on 6000ers both for drying out the boots at night and for pure warmth in the morning and especially on descent after dark. The temps are not that cold objectively speaking, but it felt colder than anywhere else I've climbed (winter in the Alps, Canadian Rockies, Munising), perhaps because of the effects of altitude on circulation or on our pace. The sensation in my finger tips is still a little off, and my partner has something similar also going on with his toes. We both climbed in Spantiks, although I'd say that was a bit overkill (toes not withstanding), a single boot would have been way inadequate in multiple cases. The G2 SMs would be perfect down there, and were very popular with other climbers. Scarpa 6000s might be a bit too fragile since the approaches require fairly long hikes through boulder fields and scree, and based on my experience with the phantom techs, I don't think they'd hold up to that very well.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 337

A lot of folks get by with Nepals, but if you aren’t fairly certain that you’ll be okay with them it is certainly a risk. It’s pretty hard to get any sort of good equipment out there, so if the Nepals end up being too cold you’ll probably end up renting some pretty old plastic boots. I think it’s within reason to climb most 5000m peaks with insulated singles, but 6000m peaks can get pretty cold if the wind picks up in the middle of the night.

For sleeping bags, it kind of depends on how comfortable you want to be. I use a 10F bag for sleeping to 5000M-ish but will usually sleep in a layer or two. If you have somebody to carry your stuff (no shame in that!) you can always bring a heavier 0F bag.

I’m about to head out to the CB again in a couple weeks and I’ll be bringing my G2 SM boots and Lark UL bag.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

Also just got back from Peru.  I was really happy to have my G2SM boots! Use approach shoes as high as possible, then switch once you reach crampon point.

Nash Wilson · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Just returned from climbing Urus, Ishinca, Yanapaccha, and Pisco. These all hover just below 6000m. That said, I was fine with Nepal Cubes and a 20 degree bag. All ascents were single day push from basecamp. I would've climbed Tocllaraju or Chopicalqui (both 6000m) using the same gear and climbing style. If you establish a high camp, you may want warmer gear.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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