Back from aborted Snowdonia Region 2+1 day Solo Walk!

The view from the Akto tent on Day 2!

The view from the Akto tent on Day 2!

As plans went, this one was a good one. I was pleased with the route and the level of fitness that I had attained. I had also thought that I was pleased with my kit too – in all, everything was looking very good indeed – and that included the British weather!

However, as we shall see, things didn’t go exactly to plan. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr Arc’teryx…

The kit was pretty much my standard load out, with just one exception…

The kit for the 2+1 day journey. Everything is the same, except the boots...

The kit for the 2+1 day journey. Everything is the same, except the boots…

The kit all packed and ready to go! Total weight is 15 kg.

The kit all packed and ready to go! Total weight is 15 kg.

As usual, I was getting my pre-walk excitement jitters. But despite this, I turned in for a very early night as I needed to be at the train station for 5:30 in the morning!

The only thing that was worrying me slightly were the new boots – a pair of Arc’teryx Bora 2’s. These had been worn on two of my lunch time 5 km speed-walks with a 20Kg load. After the second walk, something didn’t feel quite right with the heal of the left boot…

I was worried enough by this that I had elected to take home my training boots, a pair of Salomon Quest 4’s, despite the fact that they were falling apart. I felt I needed to have another trusted option…

Alas, when it came to the crunch, I picked the wrong pair of boots. I went with the Arc’teryx ones despite my misgivings.

The end result? One aborted walk due to shredded heals…

The damage had already been done after just 12 km. But here are the feet after 22 km....

The damage had already been done after just 12 km. But here are the feet after 22 km….

I couldn’t believe it.

No boot that I have ever used has so comprehensively shredded my feet in quite so short a distance. The terrain wasn’t even that bad on Day 1, yet the boots put me in the unenviable position of having to make a safety call with regard to entering further into the wilderness.

I could barely walk on level terrain. Uphill inclines of any kind generally resulted in a slowed and pained progress that was accompanied to the sound of grunting, growling and many shouted expletives. If there had been anybody nearby, they might have thought that I was suffering from Tourettes…

I really detest abandoning walks, but the reduced speed and the ever present pain meant that I elected to head back 12 km rather than risk heading a further 17 km into the wilderness. (The decision will be described in detail on Day 2’s posting)

The boots - a pair of Arc’teryx Bora 2's. These are not the boots you are looking for...

The boots – a pair of Arc’teryx Bora 2’s. These are really not the boots you are looking for…

I wondered why the boots were so bad.

After feeling around the heal region it became apparent that apart from the sole, there was zero padding on all three sides. The sides and rear are made of a rather solid rubber like material that rubbed at the back of my heals every-time I ascended a hill.

On reaching home I immediately compared them to my Solomans and my Scarpas. The comparisons proved to be highly enlightening. It became exceedingly obvious that there is a design flaw with the Arc’teryx Bora 2s – both of the other pairs exhibited a lot of cushioned ankle support in these areas, something woefully missing from the Arc’teryx Bora 2s.

In retrospect with the benefit of hindsight I should have acted on my gut feeling about the boots. At the time, I had even commented to my work colleagues that I wasn’t sure about them. At least, next time, I will take more notice of what my gut is telling me.

The damage to my heals are so severe, that even in the comfort of my flat I find it hard to go from a seated position to the standing – mainly due to the shooting pain as the scar tissue tries to stretch to accommodate my new posture.

As for the walked route? There isn’t actually much of it…

This is all that was completed:

The rather foreshortened route consisting of 25.2 km with 1110 mtrs of ascent and 1063 mtrs of descent. (Click for larger version)

The rather foreshortened route consisting of 25.2 km with 1110 mtrs of ascent and 1063 mtrs of descent. (Click for larger version)

When my feet heal again, I fully intend to redo this walk, as I have missed out on what promised to be many exciting sights and sounds!

Stay tuned for the detailed daily reports over the next few weeks.

Laters

RobP

 

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Multi-Day Walk, Snowdonia, Wild Camping and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Back from aborted Snowdonia Region 2+1 day Solo Walk!

  1. Robin says:

    Gosh, that’s really bad. The only time something similar happened to me was with Meindl Borneo boots. After a one hour walk in Epping Forest, I had bad blisters, so I junked the boots. I did have a minor version of your mishap on a Dartmoor walk when I had a pair of Adidas boots which gave me minor blisters because the GTX seemed not to breathe very well, but worse, they were unstable due to the heel construction and I kept falling over!

    TBH, now, I never go on any multi day walk in boots that I haven’t thoroughly tested with hours of walking. If I ever feel a hot spot, I stop and either tape it or use compeed.

    • RobP says:

      That’s good advice and a lesson learned. I won’t b so quick to include new boots on multi-day walk until they have been thoroughly tested.
      I really like the Solomons. They are exceedingly light and have never given me comfort issues even on the longest of walks. The downside is that they are not very waterproof.

      • Robin says:

        So far not had any issues with waterproofness of x ultras. Can get a bit sweaty. Obviously gtx linings have a limited life so they will fail at some stage. Salomon have a good range of footwear, so there’s quite a lot of choice.

      • RobP says:

        I might have a look at those. It’s either them or a new pair of 4ds:)

  2. JohnBoy says:

    I guess Arc’teryx hoped that the inners would add some sort of padding, but I would think the whole inner sock would move about which wouldn’t help. Did your feet get hot at all? I read a couple of reviews that said the Bora 2’s didn’t breath at all and that would just make things worse still.

    Those blisters look really painful, I can imagine you’re currently limping about quite a bit.

    • RobP says:

      No issues with heat – they were pretty waterproof too! Like Arc’teryx I thought the liner would be enough, but alas…
      Yup still limping! They are in an awkward spot too. Makes driving a literal pain and might prolong the healing process.

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