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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:53 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:48 pm
Posts: 675
Location: Kodiak, AK
I ordered my Fitwell BCs back on January 5 and just got them yesterday. I wear 11.5 US street shoe (normally a 45 Euro, or 295 Mondo). For some reason this translated to 300 Mondo in the Fitwells. They seem to fit perfectly. I did a quick one-and-done yesterday up a nearby peak that involved a steep bare ground hike in, some steep traversing on boiler plate, and then a short run down on spring refreeze that was just barely starting to soften up.

No real hot spots in the boots. The hike in was good. A bit stiffer in the uppers compared to my Driver Xs, as well in the sole, though not night and day different. The better sole was appreciated. I noticed the stiffness more when skinning. The lack of ankle flex had me flipping the heel risers up and down a lot more. I ran the cuff pretty loose, but it may need more. The side hilling was improved over my old boots, but we aren't in ski boot stiffness here. There is no way these would work well as a Dynafit platform. The ride down required to to modify my style a little, but it wasn't too much of a change. I imagine they will soften up over time and ride a lot like my Driver Xs in a few months.

My Grivel Air Tech light semi autos fit on in the last extension bar hole nicely.

Todd was generally responsive, but his answers were typically brief and often left me more confused than before. He has a strange way of sending a message that leaves you saying, huh?, and needing additional info or clarification. Over and over. It worked out in the end.

Nice boots. I'm glad I ordered my street shoe size and no smaller.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:18 am
Posts: 15
I usually go with AT boots for my mountaineering trips (since I dont trust the snowboard boots), but I find the ankle flex a little too stiff to properly lean into the hill on icy uphill slogs and I don't like riding in them. So I've been considering mountaineering boots for their increased ankle flex, though I'd rather have one boot that can do both mountaineering trips and splitboarding trips.

So, I imagine the fitwells are good for skinning and steep climbs (even ice climbs apparently) and riding, but....
How do they do on long hiking approaches? French technique on ~40-50 degree slopes? How much of a compromise compared to mountaineering boots would they be for trips where I leave the splitboard at home? (I know that last question is crazy, but not all my climbing partners descend the fun way).


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am
Posts: 1538
Location: Colorado
Like all soft boots, the Fitwells do not have much in the way of rearward flex. For hiking and mountaineering, you need a boot which can flex backwards, especially anytime you have to hike or scramble down anything.
Lightweight AT boots like the Dynafit TLT6 are the standard for ski mountaineering, they climb and hike very well, and they have a walk mode which allows a huge range of cuff flex that you just cannot get in a snowboard boot.
I really do not understand why the soft boot folks cannot get a boot like the Fitwell, but have them build in some rearward flex in the cuff, after all, the binding highjack should provide all the rearward support on might need.

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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:48 pm
Posts: 675
Location: Kodiak, AK
Fitwells hike awesome. Period.

http://vimeo.com/94199647


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Jones Solution 163W
Venture Zephyr 164/260
Never Summer SL 163X
Burton Spliff 148
Voile Mojo RX 166
BD, G3, and Gecko skins
Sparks!


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am
Posts: 1515
Location: 395
Fitwell's are awesome (especially with intuition luxury liners). Not the best for hiking (I prefer softboots like the K2 T1 and I'd never want to hike in an AT boot). The reward flex gripe is bullshit. It's the stiff sole that make hiking on dry ground awkward with fitwells and AT boots. And we all know which one rides better.


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:24 pm
Posts: 272
Location: Salzburg / Austria
BGnight wrote:
...I'd never want to hike in an AT boot...

Ever tried a TLT?


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:18 am
Posts: 15
The rearward flex is not the issue for mountaineering. I find I don't get enough forward and lateral flex in the Scarpa spirit 4s I've climbed in. When I try to do french technique in crampons, I can't get all the spikes in the ice and am forced to front point. Maybe I need to adjust the forward lean or do more mods?

I still wanna know if anyone has done much cramponing in fitwells. How do they climb compared to mountaineering boots? Would you use them as your only climbing boot? For long hikes, I'll probably use approach shoes anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:50 pm 
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Location: 395
FloImSchnee wrote:
BGnight wrote:
...I'd never want to hike in an AT boot...

Ever tried a TLT?


ever tried wearing a skirt?


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:24 pm
Posts: 272
Location: Salzburg / Austria
friedmst wrote:
Would you use them as your only climbing boot?
No.
For hiking and climbing I want shoes with a flexible cuff, that allow non-strenuous walking.

However for climbing couloirs in winter with a splitboard on my back I love my Fitwells....


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:18 am
Posts: 15
Thanks FlomSchnee. I suppose I'll have to bite the bullet and get some mountaineering boots to complement my splitboard mountaineering boots.


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am
Posts: 1538
Location: Colorado
friedmst wrote:
The rearward flex is not the issue for mountaineering. I find I don't get enough forward and lateral flex in the Scarpa spirit 4s I've climbed in. When I try to do french technique in crampons, I can't get all the spikes in the ice and am forced to front point. Maybe I need to adjust the forward lean or do more mods?

I still wanna know if anyone has done much cramponing in fitwells. How do they climb compared to mountaineering boots? Would you use them as your only climbing boot? For long hikes, I'll probably use approach shoes anyway.


The Spirit 4 is very heavy and stiff boot compared to modern lightweight AT boots like the TLT6. If you have not tried on a TLT5 or 6 you do not know what they are capable of in terms of flex, they are completely different from older designs, pounds lighter, way softer, with much more cuff articulation. There are alpine and ice climbers using the TLT5/6 for climbing boots which they can ski in, because the boot works so well for both.
As far as french technique goes: no boot which is going to ride well will flex as far laterally and medially as a dedicated low cuff height mountaineering boot. That said, the TLT6 allows french technique up to about 30 degree slopes, steeper than that and I usually use pied a troisieme.

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http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:50 am 
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TLT5TLT6TLTTLTMYBALLSANDCOCKARTICULATEDMODSWITHROTATINGCUFFSZOMGITSALMOSTLIKEIMREALLYSNOWBOARDINGIFIPROPERLYMODIFYTHESESUPERDUPERPLASTICTHINGYSIM SKINNINGSOWELLEVERYONETHINKSSOATLEASTIHOPETHEYDOMYSKIERBUDDIESARESOIMPRESSED


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 Post subject: Re: Fitwell Backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 819
Location: The Belly of Ham baby!!
friedmst wrote:
I still wanna know if anyone has done much cramponing in fitwells. How do they climb compared to mountaineering boots? Would you use them as your only climbing boot? For long hikes, I'll probably use approach shoes anyway.



I've done extensive high angle ice climbing and glacier slogging in the Fitwells. Last summer, I climbed the DC route on Rainier in them, while I left my spiltboard at Camp Muir (I was tagging along with my Climbing Ranger buddies, and they aren't aloud to ski / board above 10K while on the clock). Walking in them on the glacier was just fabulous. There's actually more ankle support than a normal mountaineering boot, and I found my lower legs didn't get as beat up in them as I do in my traditional mountaineering boots.

After that trip, I did a climb and snowboard of the Edmonds Headwall on the North side of Rainier. Once on the route itself, its a sustained 3,000 feet of 45-55 degree snow / ice. Climbing it was just fantastically fun! In those boots you can still use french technique, but the ankle support allows you to avoid ankle fatigue, and when you're doing thousands of feet of hybrid French / German technique (front pointing) these boots also allow you to avoid calf burn. As I said, climbing the route was amazing.... Snowboarding back down? Well, the boots were fine, but the route itself was terrifying, as it has a near infinite degree of exposure and objective hazard.

Two weeks after that Edmonds HW climb / ride, BGnight and I with 2 buddies climbed the North Face of the NW Ridge on Mt. Adams in the Fitwells. That route is also a sustained 3-4K vertical foot line that cruxes at 55 degrees, and when we were there it was NOT in snowboard shape, rather, it was a full on ice climb. We did the route in simul-solo style, and in any other boot, there's no way in hell I would have felt comfortable. Its truly an amazing sensation being thousands of feet in the air, on a 55 degree firm snow face, UN-ROPED. There just isn't any room to make an error, and having full confidence in your crampons and tools is critical. Anyway, BG and I decided not to snowboard back down because the route was in such shit shape, but our skier buddies did scrape their way down (fucking idiots! LoooL).

Overall, my experience is that the Fitwells are an amazing general mountaineering tool. As for snowboarding, they ride "very" well. Other boots I have ride "exceptionally" well, but for the overall package, these boots are incredible.

They are a bit heavier than running one of the lightweight AT boots, but not too bad.

For more Fitwell knowledge, ask my buddy Zach Clanton (Zclanton on here). He's been living in Alaska for the past two years doing expedition after expedition, and he swears by them at this point.

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