GearClimbing
Gear Guy
Q:

Can I get one boot for backpacking and ice climbing?

I'm looking for a boot that is automatic crampon compatible. Also, I'd like it to be a very well rounded boot—I need it to be able to go on extended backpacking trips and even some vertical ice climbing. What is my best choice? Dan Charlton, Massachusetts

A: I was with you until the "backpacking and vertical ice-climbing" part. That's a tough bridge to cross in one boot. So too, to some extent, is a backpacking boot that can take a true "automatic" crampon, which to me means a crampon with no straps at all, just toe and heel clips. A boot like the Montrail Moraine AT ($235) will readily take crampons, but for security I'd want a toe strap, although that's really no big deal to contend with. Overall, the Moraine is what I think of as a light mountaineering boot. I could take it across the Olympic range on a long backpacking trip or up Rainier in August.

The next step up would be a boot such as Boreal's Asan ($255). It's heavier than the Moraine, with a slightly stiffer sole. Not quite as comfortable on the trail, perhaps, but able to get you up pretty steep ice. Depends on how much ice you really expect to encounter —- if a fair amount, then the Asan or something like Tecnica's Altitude ($275) is the ticket.

For real ice climbing, though, you're looking at a stiff, heavy boot, probably plastic. And while plastic boots are much improved, they still don't approach leather for trail comfort. So I wouldn't go there. I'd take a hard look at the Asan, find some semi-rigid crampons that will work well on steep ice (Black Diamond Sabretooth, $139), and I think you'll be all set.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Climbing Gear
More Gear