Much of our training has been focused on increasing the load we can carry in our backpacks….40 pounds, 45 pounds, then 50 pounds. By now we are all carrying 55+ pounds on our weekly after-work conditioner hikes. The weight of high altitude mountaineering boots + snowshoes or high altitude boots + crampons + overboots is substantially greater than a standard pair of lightweight mountaineering or backpacking boots.
In preparation for this additional load on each foot, my training hikes for the past month+ have been with lightweight mountaineering boots plus ankle weights. The ankle weights I’m using have iron bars that can be added 0.5 lbs at a time, so I can slowly increase my load without having to buy multiple sets of weights. Currently, I am hiking with 2.5 lbs on each foot, in addition to the weight of my boots.
At the beginning of our Denali climb we’ll be wearing boots+snowshoes. At around 11,000′ we’ll cache our snowshoes and switch to boots+crampons+gaiters or just boots+crampons. On summit day I plan to wear boots+overboots+crampons. My overboots are made of stretchy neoprene-like material – their purpose is to provide extra insulation from extreme cold. Crampons go on over the boot+overboot combination.
Here’s a breakdown of my Denali footwear (for 2 feet): Koflach Degre boots (men’s size 10.5) with Denali Intuition liners (5.15 lbs); Grivel G12 crampons with New-Matic binding and antiball plates (2.40 lbs); Forty Below Purple Haze Overboots (1.45 lbs); MSR Denali Ascent snowshoes (3.90 lbs). I will also be bringing a pair of OR Exos Gaiters, size M (0.70 lbs) which may get used a lot or very little, depending on conditions.
So What’s the Damage?
- One boot plus one snowshoe = 4.50 pounds
- One boot + one crampon + one gaiter = 4.15 pounds
- One boot + one overboot + one crampon = 4.50 pounds
My remaining training days will include long hikes with of 4.5 pounds per foot.