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Choosing boots for winter mountaineering

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

In this blog we are going to explain the different type of boots on the market and what boots are appropriate for our winter skills courses. It is important we get our choice of boots right for winter - especially for winter walking and winter mountaineering where we need specially designed boots to kick into snow and take crampons.

The boots we are talking about in this blog are referred to as Mountaineering Boots.

Mountaineering boots are split into categories and we are here to explain the technicalities of each:

The categories are B1, B2, B3.

B1 Boots

These boots are semi-stiffened at the midsole and will ultimately be a sturdy and supportive boot overall, coming up to ankle height and above.

These boots will be waterproof, with a form of lining such as Gore-tex or similar. They will have a

rubber rand of protection that runs around the whole boot, just above the sole.

B1 boots are designed for UK summer mountain use and winter walking, but not technical mountaineering. They are often referred to as a 4 season boot.

B1 boot example - Mammut Kento High GTX (pictured)

A B1 boot will cost upwards of £200 - some models will be more affordable than others

There is an attraction to B1 boots because they can feel lightweight but beware they may not have the warmth required for winter in Scotland

These boots can only take C1 crampons - C1 crampons are flexible and have between 8-10 points. These crampons have straps on the front and back to cradle the boot and be tightened as appropriate.

B2 Boots

A B2 boot is suitable for everything that a B1 boot can do, but they can go a stage further, into winter mountaineering terrain. This means they are better on steeper ground, frozen snow & ice and can climb easy graded winter routes too.

The soles of these boots are almost fully stiffened - there is enough flex for a natural walking action and the uppers of the boots will feel supportive and be waterproof and breathable. They will offer more protection than B1 boots and have an element of insulation for greater warmth and comfort on the mountain. There is also a lip present on the heel of the boot - designed for the C2 crampons.

B2 boot example - Scarpa Manta Tech GTX (pictured)

Recommended boot for winter skills courses and general winter mountaineering - these boots will cost £200-£300 dependant on the model.

A B2 boot will be able to take a C1 & C2 crampon. A C2 crampon is stiffer and articulated in shape - it will also have heel clip bindings that are only compatible with B2 boots, due to them needing the lip on the heel of the boot to latch on to. Generally these crampons will have 10-12 points.

B3 Boots

These boots are designed for ice climbing and steep technical climbing on snow, ice and mixed terrain.

They are a fully rigid and technical to allow for front pointing techniques without a compromise in the boots rigidity, allowing stiff platforms and solid foot placements when climbing.

Although these boots would work for general mountaineering too, they are not recommend as they are generally heavier and stiffer than the other models available. They are tiring to walk in and will make our courses feel harder work than they should be!

B3 boot example - Scarpa Phantom Tech GTX (pictured)

This is a high end climbing boot and has no place on general mountaineering courses we offer at LDM

C3 crampons such as these a designed as step in crampons. They have a metal bar on the front that is only compatible with the lip on the toe box on a B3 boot.

They are also stiffer and heavier than a C2

crampon with much more aggression to the front points.

As mentioned, it is recommend to purchase a pair of B2 boots if coming onto a winter skills course with us at LDM. This blog can also be taken as a guidance for other winter skills courses with other companies, as no doubt all advice will be similar and pointing everybody in the same direction.

On an LDM course, we provide ice axes and crampons. These can be hired for your course and the set (both items) will coast £10 to be use for the duration of the course.

The boots will be your own, or you can hire them from us at LDM. We have a good selection of B2 boots and these can hired for £10 per day.

They can also be hired from reputable outdoor retailers or online from rental companies.

If hiring crampons, take your boots and make sure they are an appropriate design and style for the type of boots you have.

Check out the website: for winter skills courses and dates

Please email us and make contact with any further questions


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