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Do I really need plastic boots for a July Rainier climb?

I'm planning a late-July attempt on Mount Rainier and have received conflicting advice on the boots to use. Will the La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX boots with supergaiters be warm enough? Or should I bite the bullet and buy a pair of plastics? Andy Denver, Colorado

A: While anything is possible on Rainier at any time of the year, the weather in late July is apt to be exceedingly benign. And even if a bit of a storm is in the forecast during your climb, I’d do my best to avoid plastics. There’s nothing wrong with them; they’re simply apt to be more boot than you need. And just the thought of wearing plastics on the standard descent route (Disappointment Cleaver) down stone steps the park service has installed over the years fills my joints with intense discomfort.

La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX Boot

La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX

As for the La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX boots ($285;, well, they have perhaps the longest, most acronymic boot name ever conjured. Their design uses synthetic materials (Cordura and a synthetic leather called Lorica) for the uppers, with an inner Gore-Tex liner. Other features include a half-length steel shank for support and a hinged ankle for easy flex. And they’ll take just about any crampon you’d care to use. In short, very nice boots. Plenty for Mount Rainier.

You might also look at the Asolo Titan GVs ($270;, which have similar design features, including synthetic uppers and a Gore-Tex lining. And check out the Vasque Alpine GTX boots ($250;, which have a more traditional leather upper combined with a Gore-Tex liner. Fit will be very important, so try on several boots.

As for a gaiters, supergaiters are overkill for this trip. Outdoor Research’s Crocodiles ($59;, the now-classic Gore-Tex gaiter, are perfectly adequate.

The votes are in: Check out the winners of Outside's 2006 Gear of the Year awards, including the year's hottest light hikers.

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Filed To: Hiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI