I'm planing on taking the Yamnuska Snow and Ice Long Weekend class in September. The final day includes a summit attempt on Mt. Athabasca (3491m). I'm looking to buy my first pair of mountaineering boots for the trip. I'm hoping for something fairly versatile, but I guess that goes without saying.

I have a tendency towards cold feet, so I'm currently looking at double boots. The La Sportiva Baruntse has come up on my list so far, but I'm worried it might be too warm. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any lower-end options for double-boots. I have hopes of doing some climbing on larger mountains than Athabasca in the future and I camp in the winter time in Maine, where temperatures can be down to -20 degrees, but tend to hang out more around 0. There's a lot of standing around flapping gums on camping trips, so warm boots are a must in this situation as well.

Anyway, I'm pretty new to gear this technical, so any information that you could provide would be much appreciated.

  • 2
    Not much of a gear-head, so I don't want to "answer" per se. So, I recommend renting or demoing a few different boots before buying. They are too pricey to just buy without some reference. A common, solid, basic boot that I've seen at collegiate rental programs is the Koflach Degree - it kept me nice and cozy in the middle of winter in the Colorado Rockies.
    – Greg.Ley
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:40
  • If you go the rental way, try calling Gear Up Sports gearupsport.com in Canmore, they don't mention it on their site but they rent mountaineering eqpt. Wish I could answer you but I don't know anything about mountaineering.
    – furtive
    Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 4:58
  • Furtive, thanks. I'll keep that in mind. By the way, they do actually have details about mountaineering equipment on the site. It's listed under the "Plus More" category: gearupsport.com/plus-more
    – bshacklett
    Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 15:26
  • Boot choice is very personal. I might love a boot and you might wear it for 10 mins and hate it. A lot will depend on your foot shape, etc. I'd recommend looking at this question and then making your own decision based on what you think will suit you.
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


It's tempting to opt for softer more flexible boots (for the comfort), but these will wear out quicker and become less waterproof.

The Scarpa "Manta" boots are a good place to start - they're extremely sturdy and I think they'll last you a good number of years. I've heard good things about the Sportiva brand too.

Mountain boots come up on eBay all the time - you can get a good deal on a pair thats only been used once or twice (by someone who changed their mind about mountaineering once they'd actually tried it!).

They're all going to be warm as long as you use them correctly. It's important to get the right size - allow for the heavy socks you'll be wearing, as well as for the inevitable foot-swelling after walking around all day. If your boots are too tight they will restrict the blood circulation in your feet, and that's when you'll start to worry about frostbite in your toes.

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