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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Warm feet? Do I want a Double or Single boot?

 Or maybe better asked, "How to avoid this?!"

This is the Internet.  So, the following is basically a "rinse and repeat" of earlier info posted prior.

I'll get to the boot question in a minute.  But if you have never had cold feet, feel free to skip this one.  Cold feet have been a reality for me since my very first outdoor endeavors, literally starting in the 3rd Grade!   That was a long time ago and I have learned to manage cold feet for the most part, even after some serious chemo induced neuropathy, but warm feet are still an ongoing process, decades later.

I can barely remember now, crying from the pain in my feet as a 3rd grader, and twenty years later the pain of having to walk off Mt Rainier in cold mid-winter condition in only my socks.  My feet swollen and frost bit from a bad bivy on top of Liberty Cap and unable to wear my boots once my feet unthawed.

I like technical gear and those discussions.   But let's start this conversation with some basics that have little to do with the gear you buy.   This part is free, just needs to be installed on your hard drive, located between the ears, and is worth more than any pair of boots.

Been a while since I have made a serious blog post.  But if you can make use of the search function here, in the content are some comments on staying dry to stay warm. 

It took me a long time to figure out a lot of my cold feet issues are/were caused by wet feet.  I now suspect my feet naturally perspire more than the next guy's.

VBL socks and antiperspirants can help there.   I have used both to good effect.  I have climbed a lot in some very cold conditions, (-40C and elevations up to 22,000ft ).   I've only had minor frost bite once, that winter in Mt Rainier in 1976.   

Bottom line on wet feet?  If your socks get wet from sweat your feet will eventually get cold.  You can protect the insulation in your socks with a VBL (but they tend to slide around some) or by using a good dose of rub-on antiperspirant.    I like antiperspirant and a thin sock, relying in the boot for insulation.

More on the boots shortly.

You need to know the source of the problem before you can solve it, right?   So, no wet feet!

That is a good start.  A number of reasons I can now list as to why I froze one of my feet on Rainier.  All, but one, were trivial mistakes by a rookie.    The same mistake, most make, is the culprit almost every time.


Get dehydrated and tired in cold weather and you are very likely to become a frost-bite victim.  Simple as that.  Both dehydration and physical exhaustion are pretty much a part of winter alpinism.  Do your part.  Stay hydrated, and go out physically fit.


No one wants to be a mouth breather.  And not everyone is Colin Haley.  If you can climb as fast as Colin, you might get up the Cassin, unharmed, in single boots.  If you plan of belaying all the mixed pitches and stay a couple of nights out on the Cassin, best to take a good pair of double boots and enough fuel (which means bringing a stove) to stay hydrated.  

Colin wasn't the only one on the mtn that year (2018) in singles.

"5) Better gear.
Compared to my previous attempts, my crampons, ice axes, helmet, umbilicals, and clothing were all lighter weight. Also, this time I carried single boots rather than double boots, and no stove."

Cassin Ridge Speed Solo – Skagit Alpinism (

Common sense once you figure it all out.

The black set of toes above?   Not mine thankfully.  And I wasn't on that particular climb.  But it was one of the coldest nights I have spent in the mountains sitting in a tent below them. They had an open bivy.  Temps lower than the climber and his gear were prepared for.  But I'd guess it was the dehydration and wet feet (from hard climbing all day) that were the real culprits.   It wasn't fitness or a gear issue IMO.   

Look closely at any climbing frostbite injury and very likely something similar will jump out as the cause.

Cigarettes?   Not an uncommon suggestion. Nicotine is indeed a vasodilator.  Best to do some more reading on the subject if that is the answer you prefer.   I'll stick with dry feet and a better water intake :)

"Vasodilators dilate arteries and/or veins. This results in increased blood flow and lowered blood pressure. Vasodilators are commonly used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart conditions."  

"Hello friends with terrible toe circulation, have any of you tried a full double boot and found it to be significantly warmer than a lighter tech option?" BM

Not an uncommon question.

Still, I don't think it is the right question on how to solve "cold feet".

Good hydration, dry feet, and right up there, as the "most important" basis for warm feet, is boot fit. If the boot doesn't fit well you are simply screwed from the get-go.

Almost everyone will find one brand of boot a better fit than another brand of boot. The boot you may have your heart set on (and your pocketbook) may be the worst boot for your feet. A smart buyer will use the Internet and their credit card to order in every boot that you think will do the trick and rug test them all for fit. Simply return what you know won't work and sort the rest in the comfort of your own home. The results may surprise you.

Dry feet? Check.

Manage your fluid intake? Check

Perfect boot fit? Check

The perfect boot? Ya, not so much ;)

A few have used fruit boots on Polar Circus. No need really, as the climbing isn't all that difficult. I've used double boots there several times in cold weather and really light weight tech boots there in nice weather and Spring conditions. 8hr suffer fests in the cold or 4hr romps under blue skies. Pick your poison for the boot and the conditions.

But that is what alpine and ice climbing are all about, right?

A lot of difference between "perfect" conditions and a bad day out.

Photo is from a few winters back. A bunch of us were trapped on top of the Midi in a storm. Notice what the locals are wearing for boots. I was the only one waiting for the tram the next morning, in single boots. And very glad I didn't have to spend the night in the loo again in singles.

Technical ground in double boots? Sure. But every ounce on your feet eventually adds up to pounds on your back.

If I can stay warm, I will always choose a lighter boot. The cost of the wrong choice may be steep.

"You must ask yourself, is it $1000 total, or $100 per toe?"  JJ

Last but not least.  How many pair of boots do you own?   For a long time I owned a pair of mtn boots and a pair of rock shoes.  It was all I could afford.  

These days I own 4 different pairs of mtn boots.  All sorted by weight and warmth.  Overdone?  Sure.  But having warm and dry feet, and the least amount of weight/bulk on my feet makes the $ spent per toe worth it to me.

My "old" double boots (the Scarpa 6000 I wrote about below) are still working fine. But there are a few new ones I'd love to try.   But up front, the boot needs to fit your foot and your use, not mine.  Good luck!

And finally, all viable, modern options, to extend your comfort level of your own boots.

Lenz socks

Thermrup insoles

chemical toe warmers

Saturday, November 25, 2023

FS Dynafit Blacklight boots size 29.

 FS New (unworn/unmolded/hang tags intact) Dynafit Blacklight boots, size 29, $600 shipped CON US. Venmo or Pay Pal if you pay the fees. Neat boot. Lighter and stiffer than a TLT6P Just not a good fit for my feet.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Movement's, "Alp Tracks", series of ski, plus 1

A meter of new snow!   The 2021/22 Movement 106 in its element.  

15 years ago Dave Goode, in Provo Utah, was making carbon fiber skis that still have yet to be surpassed for weight.

Ten years ago Dynafit did a run of very light weight touring ski that covered 3 different widths from  78mm to 98mm underfoot.  For what they were, all of them still skis exceptionally well for their width and weight as a touring skis.  And IMO all are still exceptional skis by any standard.

Here are some numbers for comparison:

The Nanga Parbat 80mm

171 x 80mm    Nanga Parbat 1052g

The Cho Oyu 88mm

174 x 89mm    Cho Oyu         1180g

and the Denali 98mm

176 x 98 Denali 

1299/1259 = 1279g average

1294/1305 = 1300g average 

Ten years on now, the general touring skis have gotten wider and overall lighter for the most part.  But few have match let alone surpassed that run on the earlier Dynafit skis for the weight compared to the width under foot.

Movement's skis for 2022 and 2023?  Construction?

  • wood core, ultralight paulownia
Tour width skis available in the men's specific ski?  (Thy also have women's specific skis in similar

Weights listed are actual from my own skis.

This ski has a slightly different construction.  More on it coming shortly.

Race Pro 77.
77mm  838/828g per ki
833g average on my pair (161)

2022 version
968g (161)
This is a ski I took on a local 20 mile ridge traverse.  I'd done the traverse before on 65mm x 161cm race skis.  My day sucked because of that choice in skis.  Snow was really wet and the majority of the traverse is flat or slightly uphill until the last 1000 ft drop.  My race skins failed mid trip.  Life got old fast.  I ended up walking in knee deep, wet snow, for much of that trip.  The skkis were too skinny and the skins simply sucked.   This time around I used Movement's clip attach skis, which were great even after, literally, dozens of transitions.   It was an outstanding combination for that particular trip.  Nothing I  own was going to make it any better than the Movement 85.    That traverse is a lot better with no snow, on a mtn bike :)


1030g (162)  This is a ski I don't own.   It was a tossup between the 85 and the 90 underfoot.  The "on sale" price point made that decision for me.


1108g (161cm)  Short and stubby, intentionally.

98mm (2023/24) version

1273g/1275g per ski (178cm)

1274g average for my pair, which is outstanding.

This is the ski I bought to replace my aging 176cm, Dynafit Denali.    The Denali was listed as 131-98-116, 21.5m  and weighted in at a1290g.  The 98 is listed as 126-98-124.  20.5m radius and came in at  is 1270g.   So the two skis are very close.  A little less side cut, and hopefully, a little less hooky on the Movement in bad snow.   We'll have to see if they ski good enough to justify carrying the extra 1 pound in ski weight over some of my lighter 161cm ski for Spring and Summer corn.  I once thought so and skinned on a pair of Huascaran to Camp Muir.  Huascarans were a full 2.5# heavier than either of the two LWT skis.  For a run ski down from Muir to the bridge very fun, but a really dumb idea to carry an extra 2.5# on your feet..anywhere...if you can help it!  I expect the 98i to be just as much fun as the 2023 106mm version, just in a bit less ski in overall weight.   I'd guess it to be every but the ski the original Denali was and a good bit more playful and forgiving.  Which should equate to an outstanding b/c touring ski. More to come on that choice and why.

106mm (177cm) 2022 version 1340/1335g

2023/24 version 1296/1283g

When I went looking for a new ski in Jan. of 2023 it wasn't like I needed a new pair of skis.  The ski inventory in my shop is embarrassing in its selection.  But some of them are getting a little long in tooth if not by technology, then by use.  

At the start of the pandemic, I had sent a deposit for what I had hoped would be a fun 4 or 5 days of steep skiing.  It took a couple of years a change of ownership before that deposit was finally honored.  Turned out it was the biggest ski season in decades and the snowpack to match.  I've never left home with the avi danger so high in the back country.

But that trip or at least the promise of that trip sent me looking for a new ski with at least the weight and surface area the older Dynafit Denali.  

The Denali has been my go-to ski for a while now.  It had replaced my much-loved Cho Oyu that I have spent even more time on.   The Denali was a bit more forgiving, and I liked the added 10mm under foot, both of which bettered the Cho.

I have skis going from 65mm under foot, all the way to 138mm under foot.  Usually more than one and between them a number of great skis that overlap on width.  The Denali is 98 under foot.  It was replaced by the Dhaulagiri @ 95mm underfoot.   And eventually replaced again and again with a few tweaks by the Dynafit to arrive at the Blacklight 95, which is the current, touring oriented, 95mm from Dynafit.

I bought and skied on two different sized 95 Blacklights.  Although the BL 95 is close in weight,  IMO it is no Denali when it comes to how they ski.  A decent ski sure.  But nothing to write home about either.

So the search continued throughout the winter.

Skimo Co. in SLC generally has a great selection of back country skis and, more importantly to me, reliable data.

Movement Alp Tracks 106 - 2021/22 (

What they offer IMO are very reliable descriptions of how the skis actually perform.  I would prefer more in hand reviews that a J. Peterman catalog of fantasy writing.   The best I could hope for on reliable data was what the end users were commenting on in Skimo's Q&A section.  Even then I found some of the comments totally at odds to my own from actual use.

Which in turn got me to write about my experience with a number of Movement skis here.

The 106 was my first Movement ski.  So the conversation really starts here.

There was some back and for the between SKIMO comments and perspective buyer's comments on the two versions of the 106.  Which made me favor the "more traditional style 106 from 2022.  Flat tail, a little stiffer maybe and a less "fun" ski by what I would consider "modern" standards.   I think the "less fun" comment is spot on when compared to a dbl rockered, twin tip style, modern freestyle ski.  The Praxis GPO is a classic modern, and really fun ski.  DPS 112RP is different yet but another.   Both are also a good bit more under foot @ 112/116mm and weight well over 9# for a pair.  The Movement 106 comes in 3# lighter for a pair.

So not the best comparison.  The 2022 version is not the best for shape as a comparison either.

Don't get me wrong I really like the 2022, Movement 106 version.  But it has its place.  And it is not the 2023 version.   I skied the 2022 version in all sorts of snow.  And it would be a great all around ski for me as is in soft snow conditions.

But playful it is not.  You have to work the ski.

The 2023 version with pronounced twin tips and a slightly softer flex is flat out a better soft snow ski.  And at least in the two pair I ski, the 2023 version is a bit lighter.

Everyone very likely has one run that stands out from the 2022/2023 ski season.  I have a couple of them.  Both on the 106.  And earlier winter run made me think the 2022 version was one of the best skis I have ever skied on for size and weight.  Same run, in similar conditions, 2 months later convinced me the 2023 ski was without a doubt the best lwt "mid fat" ski I have been on.   I am stuck on that conviction even now.  The 2023 version is simply an easier and more forgiving ski in soft snow than the 2022 version.

That said, I'd still carry the 2022 version to ski off Rainier, early season.

Which such a quiver of sizes to choose from it is fun to pick and choose what width and length of ski you might want for your own adventures and the time of year.

There is no doubt that the Movement ski line up really are good skis.  Isay that  even when not focused on ski weight.  Every Movement ski I own skis exceptionally well.   But the reason I bought them is their weight.  It is the weights specs that first grabbed my attention with Movement.  The weight alone has continued to hold my attention on this width of ski.

I wrote this comment on the 106 first, but I'll try to give some perspective on the other with ski widths as well before I am done.


Friday, November 10, 2023

Back country skis for sale!

Nothing on this list I don't like for their intended purpose.  Some I really like!   All are lightly used.  All have clean bases and generally clean top sheets.  Please ask about the condition of the ski if you are interested and I'll be sure to take a closer look.    Any ski that was mounted had a version of the Dynafit toe and either Dynafit or Plum LWT heel.   All but the smaller pair of Cho's were mounted for a 317bsl.   Almost all of them have been mounted only once.  

Pick them up in the Boise area for free (by appointment) or I can ship on your dime for actual USPS costs.

Dynafit Cho Oyu for sale? I have two pair, a 166x87 and a 174x88. Both drilled once for Dynafit bindings, 166 pair were skied on for only 2 days. The 177s, I have skied on 3 times (I wore my first pair out skiing and touring on in the Alps a few years back). Good enough ski I wanted another pair. They are an excellent all around, very LWT, touring ski. $250 a pair

not this pair..they were destroyed :)

Men's skimo race skis? Just what you need to really hammer the local Bogus skimo race series. Dynafit PDG, 161x 65 race skis. One mount # 317mm bsl. Little use. No dings top or bottom. Super light skis. "Each ski weighs just 1 pound 9 ounces. "Testers praised them in a variety of conditions. “On morning hardpack you can rail it like a slalom ski,” says one tester. The lwt weight, makes them ideal for long mountaineering approaches.” It’s made with carbon and wood in the core for supreme quickness and maneuverability. Neat ski if you want to drop some weight going uphill and still be able to ski down.

Dynafit Huasacaran I have two pair for sale. They are fun "fat" skis and light enough to actually tour on. 196 x116 (drilled twice) and a pair of 176x112 (drilled once). 317mm bsl using Dynafit bindings. $200 for either pair. Top skin and bases are clean and no repairs. Pick up in Meridian or Boise area. Or pay actual USPS shipping to you location in addition to the $200.

Dynafit "Speed Tour Series" skis. Equally good on the groomed slopes or in the back country. But the priority on these is how well they ski inbounds not how light they are. 3 pair. 96x176 (never mounted), 96x168 (mounted once @317mm bsl) 
"Dynafit Tour 96 126-96-110, 3kg/pair 176cm
The Tour 96 picks up where the Manaslu left off. Like the Speed line, rocker is modest and a single turn radius design keeps the ski personality predictable. It favors a modest turn radius, but a light swing weight makes it quick to respond no matter what boot you use. At 96 underfoot, it has enough width to enjoy soft snow days, but its forte is its ability to handle all-conditions from and carving corn to wind buff to powder. The Tour 96 is a quiver-of-one for a range of conditions. In other words, its a ski for reality."

$200 for any one pair. 

A pair of skis to really rail on. A custom pair Praxis SND Dice (85mm x182cm). Pick up in Meridian or shipped at your cost. Both mounted once with Dynafit bindings and a 317mm bsl. Both bases and tops are very clean, with no base dings. Very fast, solid skis.

$200 for the SND

And my favorites of the bunch? These three. And much to my surprise, as much as I have skied on the Denali, literally all over the world. I have yet to break a pair. YMMV of course.

Three more pair of very lwt backcountry skis. 2 pair of Denali, one (176x98) that has been drilled for Dynafit and a 184x98 that are still new, (never drilled).  And a pair of Blacklight 95s (172x95).
95/98 has been a sweet spot for me on Dynafit touring gear. I have yet to ski any ski more versatile than the Denali or as light for the width. The newer Black light is close. As is the current 2023/24  Movement 98 @ 1275g in a 178cm.  The 176cm Denali is 1247g per ski @ 98mm under foot. That is light! And these things ski exceptional well. My go to b/c ski since they were first available in 2015. And @ 200# I have never broken a pair even skiing them short.
The Black Light 178 weights in at the same old 2#12oz for one ski or 1247gr. in my 178cm length. Another go to ski for me recently.
"Enter the new Black Light 95.
The Black Light 178 weights in at the same old 2#12oz for one ski or 1247gr. in my 178cm length.
All these skis are/were '95 plus under foot I found the Denali and amazing all mountain ski, back country, touring, even lift skiing. Amazing on ice and hard snow. Good for the width in soft. "
$200 a pair