REIs Spirit II boots (now called the Spirit III and selling for $189 at rei.com) are a fine pair of all-around hiking boots. Whether you want to strap on some crampons and take them climbing depends a lot on where you intend to go. For snow or glacier travel up to a 35-degree slope theyre fine. But for extended time on snow, or a climb such as Mount Rainier, they just dont have the heft to make you real comfortable.
But theyll certainly take crampons. Heck, trail runners can take crampons. What you want is a pair of fairly old-school strap-on crampons. Grivels G10 crampons ($130; www.grivel.com) are the perfect solution. They are easy-to-use, strap-on crampons that have a little less aggressive points and angles than more serious crampons. But Ive worn them on hard snow close to 45 degrees in slope and theyve worked well. Theyll work just fine on your Spirits.
For serious mountaineering, however, youll want a real mountaineering boot. Asolos Titan GV ($270; www.asolo.com) is an excellent light mountaineering/heavy backpacking boot, with tough synthetic uppers and a Gore-Tex liner. Theyll work great with nearly any crampon, and Id recommend a pair like the Petzl Vasak crampons ($140; www.petzl.com). La Sportivas Glacier Evo ($250; www.sportiva.com) is another good all-around mountaineering boot, with leather uppers that are a bit more traditional than those on the Titan. Match them with a set of Black Diamond Sabertooth crampons ($150; www.bdel.com).
Get more advice from the Gear Guy as he picks this seasons top gifts in Away.coms Holiday Gift Guide. Youll probably find a few things to put on your own wish list, too.