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What boot will get me up Mount Whitney and to Everest Base Cp?

I'm in the market for a pair of boots for fast springtime ascents of Mount Whitney and Shasta in summertime. I'm thinking Makalus or Glaciers from La Sportiva, but as I'm also planning a trip to Everest Base Cp next summer, I'd like something that's versatile. Justin Marina, California

A: Yes, what you need is an all-around light mountaineering boot. The La Sportiva Makalu ($255, is a classic—an all-leather boot with hefty three-millimeter leather (most boots run between 2.4 to 2.6 millimeters) that's silicon impregnated for water-resistance; a steel shank for support; and a tough proprietary outsole with full rubber rand around the boot. The Glaciers ($225) are slightly lighter but otherwise have very similar specs. If these boots fit you well they'd be fine choices (but do allow for adequate break-in).

Asolo Titan

There are other boots that will work well. One intriguing choice is Asolo's new Titan ($265,, which replaces much of the leather with a high-tech polyamide fiber that's tough, durable, and naturally water-resistant. Also light—even though the Titans are built like miniature feet forts, they're actually a bit lighter than the Glaciers at just under two pounds per boot, versus more than two for the Glaciers (in a medium size nine). And they're full-on trekking boots that are crampon-compatible with excellent support and traction.

A third choice is Scarpa's Freney Pro ($325). Like the Titans, they're a leather/synthetic hybrid, a combination that peels ounces off the boot. They're leather-lined—a rarity these days but a feature that ensures better long-term fit—and built for use with crampons or for comfortable hiking with heavy loads. A great boot for Shasta or the trek to Everest Base Camp—and beyond.

As always, don't walk into a store determined to buy boot X or Y. Try on several makes, in several sizes, and let the fit be your guide.

More of the best hiking boots field-tested by the experts in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide .

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Filed To: Hiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI