4.5 Pounds per Foot

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.

koflach_degre MSRDenaliAscent

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.

ORExosGaitersSo 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.

1 thought on “4.5 Pounds per Foot

  1. Totally out of touch with today’s practices….We wore snowshoes to 15,000. We had the inventor, Bill Prater, of the Sherpa snowshoe (first metal snowshoe?) with us. Used their smallest snowshoe to shrund above 14,000 camp. Early June.


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