Canadian Snow Conditions/Ice Axe Protocols/Crevasses

13 Sep 2017 19:36 - 13 Sep 2017 19:41 #72126 by intrepid
Agree with the responses, decisions on footwear lie within a matrix of what you are climbing (grade/technicality and what kind of walk in it is), where you are climbing (altitude and latitude), when you are climbing (season), and what kind of climber you are (personal preferences, experience and personal physiology). Try get input from climbers who are either local or experienced in the specific area you are going to, and who are able to give advice that is suited to your level of experience and ability, rather than their own.

Climbing on snow slopes and glaciers doesn't necessitate plastic boots by definition. If you are dealing with substantially cold temperatures, or going climbing at high altitudes, or if you are on a mountain that is prone to savage storms, as examples, then plastic boots come into the picture more. In addition, your own experience might play a role too. If you are not experienced with high altitude climbing for example, your vulnerability to frost bite goes up.

Plastic boots are a common choice for Himalayan Peaks over 6000m, though I've seen people go in with lightweight boots for these where you are only spending time on snow for the actual summit day.

Most of my mountaineering is currently in coastal British Columbia and the Pacific North-West of the States. The temperatures are much milder than inland ranges like the Rockies, interestingly enough though the mountains around here have some of the highest snowfall rates in the world, much more than in the Rockies. A lot of the climbing around here is done in lightweight mountaineering boots rather than in double plastic boots. Plastic boots come into play for water ice climbing and for higher altitude mountains like Mt Rainier. For several months of the year you can't hike in to a peak anyway, you are either snowshoeing or ski-touring in, and if you are ski-touring you are already wearing double plastic boots anyway.

Keeping feet dry around here is the biggest challenge and I'm sorry to say that even the most expensive Gortex boots are no match for West Coast snow from what I've seen. In the spring time around here the snowpack is 3-7m thick but the conditions are mild enough at lower altitudes that many people simply live with cold, damp, uncomfortable feet for short periods of time (while literally sweating like crazy and getting sun burned from the reflection on the snow!). My most commonly used boots are Garmont Towers fitted with hybrid crampons. For about 6 months of the year I wear super-gaitors with these, which cover the entire boot. It is primarily to keep dry, but they are also lined with Thinsulate which also helps in the colder months.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 13 Sep 2017 19:41 by intrepid. Reason: typo
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid

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