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Good AT Boots For Approaches
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Dec 8, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: This is why...
After years of trying not to pee my pants in terror while descending from ice climbs with my ice climbing boots clipped into Silveretta 404s, I was thinking of sucking up the extra weight and pack in the ice boots while using real AT boots on the approach.

Any recommendations on what setup works particularly well for ice approaches? Funny as it might sound, no AT gear write-ups dwell on this topic!

BTW, I was convinced to go this route after reading this 2009 MP post AT Boots for Ice Climbing

While Ive seen people climb Talisman in AT gear, the logic for mere mortals to do otherwise as espoused by the above link seemed convincing. However, if anyone has thoughts contrary to my underlying assumptions here, Im all ears!
Jesse Morehouse
From CO
Joined May 18, 2006
1,681 points
Dec 9, 2012
Spantiks. Stephan Doyle
Joined Jan 5, 2012
0 points
Dec 9, 2012
You're asking what type of AT boots work for approaches right?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say whichever kind fit your feet well.

As far as wearing AT boots for climbing ice (which is what I thought you were asking about until I re-read your post), well I can't add any more to the discussion then what someone posted in that thread you mentioned:

"If the skiing is easy, use mountaineering boots on your AT setup (some bindings work, some don't). If the climbing is easy, but the skiing is hard, use your AT boots on the climbing."
Joined May 22, 2010
448 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: This is why...
Thanks guys. I guess I should clarify. Im guessing the lighter the better of course but with that pack full of climbing stuff on one's back stability would be nice. There seem to be 2, 3 buckle and 4 buckle models and I was curious which seem to strike the best balance for this use in others experience. Jesse Morehouse
From CO
Joined May 18, 2006
1,681 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: The route in it's entirety.
Check out the Scarpa Rush AT boot. 3 buckle design with a fairly wide last. Lower cuff gives you a great stride for walking, and the rockered sole mates well with automatic crampons. These are great for ski mountaineering primarily, but can also climb moderate terrain.

If you're looking specifically for approach boots I would look into something more along the lines of AT Race boots. They'll be lighter and also climb better.
Greg G
From SLC, UT
Joined Oct 3, 2008
842 points
Dec 10, 2012
I have had the Black Diamond Quadrant Randonee Boots for three years now and love them. Have taken them all over the Rockies and AK while skinning on approaches, downhilling in great powder days, climbing snow (with and without crampons) and 4th class rock scrambling. Now I must admit that I generally leave my boots and skis at the bottom of a climb but they are actually lighter than my friends tele boots and would not hesitate to take them up route if need be... and they ski like a champ. Ed Rhine
Joined Jan 18, 2006
2 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: me
These boots are the cat's balls. I have never ice climbed in them, but they tour like a tennis shoe and ski like an alpine boot.
Joined Dec 24, 2008
108 points
Dec 10, 2012
If you're just going to approach with the boots then it doesn't really matter. Get what ever fits that has the features you like. That sad I'd suggest getting a boot that you can ice climb in also.
All the companies are coming out with light weight boots theses days.

I used the Scarpa Rush all last season and think they're a great boot. After a bit of practice I feel almost as comfortable leading WI4 in these boots as any other ice boot. The lack of sideways flex takes a bit of technique adjustment. In ski mood they're not the stiffest boot, so if you're don't have the best ski technique (and practice with a pack) you'll want to shy away from pushing your personal ski limits with them. That said they're way stiffer then all the AT boots we grew up on. Just not as stiff as many of the new generation of boots that has been coming out.

The gold standard right now for AT boots that climb well is the Dynafit TLT5 series. The fact that they're compatible only with tech ski bindings means that their boot sole is a little bit shorter then other AT boot out there. The Mountain version is a little more flexible so climbs better, and the Performance version is a little stiffer so they ski really well. Plus, these boots weigh less then many double boots. The down side of these boots is they don't fit everyone, and they have a thin liner, so they aren't as warm as you're average ski boot (about as warm as a light weight double boot). Some people buy the boot a half size bigger and swap out the stock liner. This can help with fitting issues too, but gives up some of the nimbleness of the boot.
From Seattle, WA
Joined Aug 5, 2009
4 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: hi
I use the Scarpa Rush with the Dynafit TLT Speed Radical bindings on a pair of Puima Dou Trab Skis for a long or a real ski approach. It also keeps the insides of my ice boots dry. For the rest, Silveretta bindings on a pair of shorter Karhu 10th mountain skis with a crown pattern work perfect and add skins if there is uphill. jon jugenheimer
From Madison
Joined Apr 24, 2006
1,639 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Dreamweaver
If you only want AT boots for improved stability over skiing with mountaineering boots I don't think model is really going to matter. Especially if you plan to continue using Silvrettas. If I were you, I would find the cheapest boots possible.

However, if you plan to use the setup for something more than approaching/deproaching ice routes (i.e. touring for the sake of skiing) you'll probably want to invest in a better boot and a different set of bindings.

Regardless, depending on your foot size, any of these would work just fine. You can find a coupon code for an additional 25% easily.

The Scarpa Denali TT's could be had for under $200

Even better, just find a used pair. They only need to be partially comfortable after all.
Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Jul 13, 2011
21 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: No backcountry in the ADKs
There really isn't a perfect answer to this one since I don't think anyone makes an AT boot specifically for ice approaches.

Looking at your criteria though I'll put in another plug for Dynafit. TLT5 Performance and Speed Radical bindings are, as someone already mentioned, pretty much the gold standard right now. This rig isn't cheap but it is light, efficient and will never hold you back skiing-wise.

Take whatever AT boots you buy out toproping or doing roadside routes for a day or two and you'll have a pretty good idea of how far you can push things in them. I find my TLT5s climb ice well but they'll never be an ice climbing boot the same way my La Sportivas will never be a ski boot.

As a final note: I personally never do the carry boots in the pack thing, I either accept less climbing performance in my ski boots or less skiing performance in my ice boots. Putting on cold boots twice in one day just sucks.
Joined Jul 25, 2012
8 points
Dec 10, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: This is why...
Hey all, I appreciate all the different perspectives, it has given me a lot of good ideas to kick around. Definitely an area where compromise is just still the deal I guess. Man I wish those Dynafit TLT5 Mountains weren't so pricey! Maybe I could sell all my ice gear and get some...

Seriously, how about the BD AT boots? I have some of their newer tele boots and have been impressed fit and performance-wise and while they are heavier they are a few hundred bucks less expensive.

The Prime seems like a good candidate.
Jesse Morehouse
From CO
Joined May 18, 2006
1,681 points
Dec 11, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Stairway to Heaven
Even if you're only planning to use them as approach boots, Dynafit TLT5s have several advantages over more conventional AT boots such as BD Primes.
- As noted above, they're a whole lot lighter (about 30% lighter than the Primes)
- A shorter, rockered sole
- Much more fore-and-aft flexibility in walk mode
- Transition from ski mode to walk mode is about as simple as it gets

All of this adds up to a big difference on long approaches.

Yes they're more expensive than BD Primes but not outrageously so. The difference is around $200 which isn't much more than the price of three ice-screws.
Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Joined Jul 16, 2003
271 points

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