AdventureClimbing
Q:

Are the Scarpa Summit boots the best for climbing Rainier?

I purchased a pair of Scarpa Summit GTX mountaineer boots, kind of on a whim (I'm a gear nut). I plan on climbing Rainier and some other smaller peaks in the northwest, and I'm wondering: Do people trek in these boots all the way to the top, or do they change in to larger mountaineering boots on summit day? David Seattle, WA

A:

Scarpa's Summit boots ($280) are serious footwear—waterproof leather with a Gore-Tex liner, thick rubber rand, tough midsole for support, and more.

The Summits

In short, they will go just about anywhere. They'll eat a Rainier climb for lunch—they're perhaps even overkill for a summer climb. And for just about any Pacific Northwest glaciated peak, they're more than adequate.

The down side? They're awfully heavy (4 pounds, 6 ounces for a pair), and a bit on the stiff side. So while they're an okay trail boot, they aren't great. So does that mean you should stuff them in your pack and wear something lighter? There is some sense to that. The conventional wisdom is that a pound on your foot costs you more, energy wise, than two on your back. But I wouldn't do that on Rainier. You'll be on snow not that far from the parking lot (assuming you take one of the standard routes with Paradise Lodge as a start point) and will feel silly changing out footwear.

For most other climbs—say, Glacier Peak—I'd probably lug the Summits in a pack and wear something much lighter on the trail. That's probably a good policy, in fact, for just about any peak that requires an approach hike of eight or nine miles or more.

Happy climbing this summer! You'll like the Summits. Scarpa boots are first-rate.

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: MountaineeringHiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, Scarpa
More Adventure