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Mtn rescue boots?
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By Chris Rompala
Jan 14, 2011

Hey, I've just been accepted to a Mountain Rescue org in the northwest and I'm in the process of making some gear decision. Now I'm trying to figure what boots would be best. I'm leaning towards the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX for a mountain boot and the La Sportiva FC ECO 4.0 for a general boot...any thoughts?


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By Buff Johnson
Jan 14, 2011
smiley face

What's your temperature ranges?


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By Kevin Cossel
From Boulder, CO
Jan 14, 2011

Perhaps just as critical, how cold do your feet get? Also, do Sportiva boots fit your feet well? If they don't, then try other brands. A lot of it will just be personal preference. I live in CO and I have Scarpa boots (Summit as warm boots, but the Freney or Jorasses is lighter, and the Charmox as "3-season" boots); a lot of people I know have Nepals and I've heard great things about the Batura as well. What do other members of the rescue group you are joining have? They'll know better than people from all around the world on the internet.


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By Graham Johnson
Jan 17, 2011

I was a member of a mountain rescue team in the northwest for quite a few years. What kind of footwear you wear will totally depend on the mission. I've worn runners to missions, or climbing boots. Just like going climbing, your choice of footwear will depend on the terrain you're going into. You've picked two good boots - just pretend you're going climbing and pick your footwear accordingly. Hope that helped.

Have fun. I had a great time being part of the team and helping folks in need.


A word of advice - the more low key you play it, the more subtle your mountain rescue logo in the front country, the more respect you'll get. It's the idiots that are MRA logo-ed from head to toe that tend to not do very well. The surest way to look like a noob is to strut around downtown seattle/portland/tacoma with your team t-shirt/jacket on.


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By JPVallone
Jan 17, 2011

I didn't know that there are boots specifically for Mountain rescue? Shouldn't you just have a quiver of footwear as do most mountaineers and climbers? Footwear appropriate for the venue, conditions, season, etc?

Right tool for the job!


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By Buff Johnson
Jan 17, 2011
smiley face

For the most part yes, however you do get variable climate situations. What's nice at the lower elevation crag may not be that effective up on the mountain.

Approach shoes are great and they are all I use playing in things like the Tetons & the Park. However, any chance of a ground evac, I like to have something more.

I basically use a waterproof (& insulated as appropriate) type boot that can be hiked in for miles and that also serves to protect my ankles during a patient evac, add crampons/go technical, or bivy as needed. I also add gaiters, even low warmer altitude they are great as a barrier for thorny scrubs and PI.

Also be aware some agencies have boot restrictions due to heli concerns; frankly it's nothing but mis-conceived old-school bullshit where you subject yourself to the environment far greater than the limited fire resistance you might gain for that split second when the heli splatters in the talus field. Granted, probably better than being decked out in full bunker gear attempting a technical rock rescue and carry-out from the backcountry.


Think about adding some type of lightweight knee pads, man they work great.


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