WildSnow Weekend — Alpine Wilderness And The Boots That Will Take You There

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 24, 2014      
High alpine trail in the Elk Mountains of Colorado.

Training for the upcoming backcountry ski season is a joy when you hike through high alpine fields full of wildflowers.

When I moved to Colorado in the 1980’s to be with Lou, the first thing he did was buy me a stout pair of hiking boots. Full leather and steel shank made them heavy but I comfortably hiked in them for 25 years. I had them resoled twice, but finally the shoemaker said they were done — melting the soles down to the leather while tending a campfire did them in.

I planned to replace the boots with a similar pair, such as La Sportiva Pamir, 24.8 oz.

La Sportiva Omega GTX was suggested as an alternative. Not as heavy but featuring the stiff sole I like. I was skeptical, knowing I’d be hiking steep terrain and didn’t want to risk a twisted ankle with a flimsy boot.

La Sportiva Omega GTX proved worthy. I’m thrilled to report that they are adequately stiff and at 18.32 oz, much lighter than my former boots. Gore-Tex lining makes them water resistant and breathable. I’ve been able to puddle jump through streams with much drier socks than before.

La Sportiva Omega hiking boots. A plastic shank saves weight and still provides a rigid sole, excellent for rock scrambling and steep terrain.

La Sportiva Omega GTX hiking boots. A plastic shank saves weight and still provides a rigid sole. That combined with an aggressive lug pattern makes this boot excellent for rock scrambling and steep terrain.

Along the trail, you may be lucky to find a patch of wild raspberries.  They're tiny but pack more flavor than a pound of the grocery store variety.

Along the trail, you may be lucky to find a patch of wild raspberries. They’re tiny but pack more flavor than a pound of the grocery store variety.

One feature I especially like are the friction lugs. They keep the laces tight without the need of exotic lace tying techniques.

I’ve hiked extensively on technical terrain in Colorado, Canada and the Pacific Northwest and the Omegas have not given me a single blister. After almost two years of punishing use, a threaded seam in an abrasion area on the side of the boot is getting rubbed away. I’ll dab some Seam Grip on the seam to prevent further wear.

MSRP $240 Available here. Highly recommended.

Recap of last week’s posts:

Jordan’s Gear Pile — SkiTheBig3, Alaska Details about gear choices for Alaska Range ski mountaineering, tips and information about skis, solar power, tents, clothing and more.

Lisa’s Review of DPS Wailer 112 vs Yvette DPS Wailer 112RP compared to Yvette, in our opinion essentially the same skis, and excellent.

Trab TR2 Backcountry Skiing Binding — Stage 2 Evaluation Mechanical evaluation of Ski Trab TR2 ski binding for touring and backcountry, appears to behave like an alpine binding, very solid.

Git Sum Stoke — Pow-ho Trailer 2014-15 Released Human powered skiing, with plenty of going down as well, all sorts of locations and adventure. Andrew McLean’s new avalanche airbag pack is revolutionary!

Backcountry Skiing Photography Tips – Michael Kennedy Photography tips for backcountry skiing in Colorado and elsewhere, Panasonic and Canon cameras used for touring and mountaineering.

Refugio Frey – The Return Sklyer Mavor, Jonathan Cooper and Louie Dawson ski wind scoured couloirs at Refugio Frey, a backcountry hut near Bariloche, Argentina.


8 Responses to “WildSnow Weekend — Alpine Wilderness And The Boots That Will Take You There”

  1. Richard August 24th, 2014 12:55 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    I’ve been hiking in a Merrell “air cushion” boot this summer. For those of us with wide feet it is the bees knees. Great vibram sole with sipes like a winter snow tire that is a 100% improvement over any boot I’ve had in the past 20 years. Decently rigid without being heavy. About the same waterproofness as GoreTex.. And best of all under $150.

  2. Scott Nelson August 24th, 2014 6:04 pm

    I’m guessing they work for logging too….

  3. Kristian August 24th, 2014 8:32 pm

    Just bought these for fourteeners and used them on Mt. Lindsey last week.

    Great light weight hiking boots that climb moderate rock well.

  4. Ralph August 25th, 2014 8:03 am

    Nothing better than a broken-in pair of heavy duty hiking boots. I swear by my Limmers, made by Peter Limmer in North Conway NH. On their 3d sole.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 August 25th, 2014 8:53 am

    Wow, how old is Peter Limmer now? Glad to hear he’s still making boots!

  6. Lizzy August 25th, 2014 11:09 am

    Like this boot too, I’ve had it for a couple of years and or looks like it will last for a few more seasons. Nice photo of your alpine. Wish I has a place like that to train!

  7. Ralph August 25th, 2014 11:19 am

    I believe the grandson is now running the shop. Still making high-quality boots the old-fashioned way!

  8. Skihel mit Vizier August 26th, 2014 9:12 am

    Great artikel!

Got something to say? Please do so.

Anti-Spam Quiz:

If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.
:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.
Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise). This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version