“Just the right balance of stiffness and agility,” said one tester after three days of summer mountaineering above Chamonix, France. Credit the dual-density PU midsole with a full polypropylene shank for ultra-stable frontpointing and a flexible nylon notch for unencumbered ankle movement. “On low-angled glacial terrain, I could feel the pronounced rocker propelling my strides forward, even with crampons on,” said our tester.
Mountaineering Boot Reviews
Twenty-eight ounces per pair is damn light for a 6,000-meter-ready, full-gaiter boot. But that didn’t limit its ability to stand up to harsh use in temperatures down to –20°F while scaling icefalls in Vermont, Quebec, and New York.
On steep and technical ice—or loose, sketchy ledges—precise foot placement is critical. The Lowa Weisshorn GTX ($460; lowaboots.com) made even the most unstable terrain manageable. “It fit me like a second layer of skin—never awkward or bulky,” said a Vermont tester after multi-pitch ice climbs at Lake Willoughby. The secret?
Right out of the box, the Scarpa Rebel GTX Carbon ($439; scarpa.com) was an excellent addition to our tester’s alpine boot quiver. At a scant 21 ounces per boot, it’s no surprise that speedster Ueli Steck had a hand in designing them. Our tester found them best suited for moderate alpine rock and snow climbing in environments where you need more support and warmth than an approach shoe, and may want to wear crampons.
Salewa Pro Guide - When Salewa revealed stiff-soled climbing boots that loosen up for walking with a simple adjustment, people slapped their heads and said, “Why didn’t I think of that?” But would they really work? Our main tester, a Rainier guide, used these boots on his home mountain and on steep ice in Montana, and he loved them. “The boots continue to impress with the walk/climb mode adjustment,” he reported. “I wear them on any approach in walk mode, switch over to climbing for the steep ice, and then step blissfully back into walking comfort for the hike out.”
Versatility. That’s what all the summer mountaineering boots and approach shoes in this review have in common. To find this season’s best treads, numerous testers for Climbing and Backpacker hammered more than 25 pairs of kicks for six months, from Vermont to Colorado to the Himalayas. After more than 150 cumulative days in the mountains, on rock climbs, scree fields, and step-kicking to the tops of snowy peaks, here are their favorite choices for climbers.
After months of testing on hundreds of routes, we offer up our picks for the most innovative, useful, and just damn good gear of the year. The Singing Rock Crux, Mammut Smart Alpine, Black Diamond Gridlock Screwgate, Petzl Grigri 2, Five Ten Arrowhead, Arc'Teryx Squamish Hoody, Beal Joker 9.1, North Face Verto, and Salewa Rapace GTX all won our high praises and took home the Editors' Choice Award.
Available in fall 2010, the Kayland Hyper Traction is a technical mountaineering boot with a fixed inner boot, and it shines in cold weather. The super-rigid feel here comes courtesy of an ECT Traction composite insole and Kayland Vaporlite Midsole (see below). Combined with toe and heel welts, the Hyper Traction is a perfect mate for rigid, step-in crampons, and is designed to offer high-end control.
Boreal’s new G1 Lite is a welcome featherweight (4lbs, 12oz/pair) entry in the double-boot category. The G1 Lite is exceptionally warm and durable — so, perfect for expeditions and alpine climbing in extreme cold — thanks to several techy features: triple Thinsulate layers, a Neoprene insole, water-resistant Dry-Line interior, Dynatec outer, and a tough, Cordura bootie exterior.
A year and a half ago, I noted in our leashless tool review that the designs then available were only a precursor of shapes to come.
Doubles are invaluable for frigid days or long ski approaches, and they can’t be beat if your feet are naturally cold.