What’s a good approach shoe for climbing Mount Whitney?
I've been picking off the summits in Outside magazine's "Mountaineering 101" and now planning the East Face of Whitney. I have several pairs of climbing shoes and hiking boots, but none of them is a good all-around shoe for an ascent and descent via the loose rocks of the couloir of the mountaineers' route. Is there an approach shoe that you would recommend? I have a wide foot and can comfortably climb mid 5.10. Eric Los Angeles, California
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One shoe for the whole thing, or a shoe to get you to the face and then down the couloir? I think you’re after a shoe to get you there and back, with a pair of rock shoes for the core of the climb, no? If so, then Five-Ten’s Guide Tennie ($89; www.fiveten.com) is a strong candidate. It has Stealth C4 soles in a dot pattern for traction on dirt and grass with plenty of grip (even some edging ability) on rock. A rocker makes them move well when you’re hiking, and the lacing can be adjusted for best fit. You might even pull off the whole climb with a pair.
A shoe that leans a bit more toward strictly approaches but likely would be more comfortable for that purpose is Montrail’s D7 Approach ($90; www.montrail.com). It’s modeled on Montrail’s fine trail-running shoes, but has a Vibram sole for grip and a dual-density midsole that offers enough stiffness for edging. La Sportiva’s B5 ($100; www.lasportiva.com) lands between the Montrail and Five-Ten shoes; it’s shaped on a climbing shoe last, but has climbing rubber and low-profile laces that won’t snag. As you’re a 5.10 guy, you probably could climb Whitney with this shoe.
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