/ New Generation B3 Boots (Sportiva, Scarpa etc)
I'm currently in the market for a new pair of B3s, and I'd looking to shell out on something really good, light, warm enough for Norway ice and potentially winter Alpine, but most importantly something that's going to last a long time, as I don't like the idea of forking out ~£500 for boots very regularly.
My question is, does anyone have any experience with the new generation of lightweight mountain boots? (the new LS G5s, the Trango Ice Cubes, even the Ribelles) I just can't see how, for instance, the new G5s will be as durable as the Baturas they replaced, even if they are a bit lighter and a bit nicer to rock climb in. I've heard stories of people wearing out the Ice Cubes in less than a year. Does anyone have any experience, and would anyone consider looking for a pair of Baturas over G5s?
I'm not sure about the Baturas being a more robust option...I wore out the integral gaiter on mine in one season, patched them up, wore them for a few more seasons and now there is a hole in the rand, the front bail lip barely holds a C3 crampon and the sole is down down to almost nothing. Shame, as I love climbing in them.
thats tough on me but i like the lightweight more than the limited lifespan bothered me. They'll last a while though as sole wear is the big risk and most of the time i have them on im either on snow or in crampons.
id like some ribelles but currently have x-Alps - they'll last ages
All of the new boots will prolly last a long time, provided they are used for their intended purpose...
Unfortunately Scottish approach & climbing might not be their intended use... think more in the lines of walk on snow to hard ice or mixed...
So, if robustness is what you seek, Nepal (Cube) might be the best option, or what ever Scarpa is offering.
Oh, and while I do like my Trango Ice Cubes, they are kind of narrow and also I do think they might not fair all that well, when it comes to robustness... LaASpo has already sort of looked into the issue, and the new Trango Extreme (coming next fall) looks a bit more robust (metal & fabrik hooks instead of molded plastic on the Ice Cubes).
Have you considered the Sportiva G2 SM's? They're essentially the double boot big bro of the G5. I picked up a pair on the way to Cogne and have been very impressed, to the point where I will probably get another pair for when they are eventually discontinued.
They're very comfortable and light enough for long/ very long or steep approaches. Climb/ walk very well and offer a lot of support on steep ice. The lacing system is just brilliant, especially as you can easily loosen it for the approach then click it up a few notches for climbing, takes no time at all and can be done wearing gloves (serious luxury).
I went a whole size down from my normal shoe size which was tight but not uncomfortable and eases up after some breaking in. This means I get nice precision when front-pointing and a very slightly lower profile for the boot (not that they are massive).
Durability wise, mine have survived quite well this season but as with any gaitered boot crampons and rocks are not friendly. As HeMa says, if you only plan to use them for the Alps/ Europe/ Norway then durability won't be much of an issue, here most approaches are on snow or frozen ground which is kind on gear and boots will still look new after many seasons. Scotland or wales for example will be much worse with more unforgiving terrain and will kill boots quickly. I think the impressions of the durability for lightweight boots used by European weekend ice warriors and the same boot use by someone hiking 4 hours in and out of a Corrie every weekend will vary massively!
I tried a pair of G5's at christmas and was really unimpressed. I would consider them a gaitered spring summer weight alpine boot that would pass for light mixed alpine climbing or ice cragging (ish). They really offered no support and were surprisingly bendy, with a heel area that was much too wide and gave way too much heel slip. The 'power strap' doesn't go tight enough and the boa system doesn't support the heel as well as it should. Comfortable though. But, if they fit your feet then they may be much better.
I got similar impressions when trying the new Phantom techs and the Arc'teryx boot (which was incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to get in and out of). All of these boots sit quite low by the ankle, despite having a high gaiter which means you get a great range of motion for mixed terrain but no support when you really want it. They do low angle and overhanging terrain very well, but anything moderate to dead vertical and they become tiring. Also used the Salewa Vultur Verticals and they were the most uncomfortable and odd shaped boots I have encountered. Others may have completely different opinions, but none of those boot inspired any confidence for vertical ice.
Thanks for such a detailed answer mate! Haven't considered the G2s, had resigned them to 6000m climbing etc, but will give them a look. Unfortunately I live on the south coast so get to go to Scotland about as regularly as I get to go to the Alps.
Interesting to hear that you don't rate the G5s, the Phantoms or the catwalk-style Arc'teryxs, having had issues with heel lift before this is really helpful advice.
Beware sole wear on Arcteryx acrux. Great boot, rubbish sole which can't be replaced. Mine lasted nine routes in Scotland before wearing into the plastic at the front of the boot. Probably a lot better without the walking before hitting snow but no other boots I have worn have been that bad. Its an expensive way to go climbing.
Very comfortable and precise though
Mine did that too. Arcteryx replaced them FOC, but it took some persuasion. They'd had in the region of 30 days wear.
A friend of mine got her pair resoled by Feetfirst in Chesterfield. They fitted a Vibram Tecton sole for £65 plus postage. I am going to get my replacement pair resoled for next winter.
Thanks for that info. I will be contacting feet first.
I got mine last winter. I perhaps should have been more persistent with Arcteryx who just kept telling me the sole would last the lifetime of the boot.
I’d keep being persistent with Arc’teryx. Though in my experience there customer service is pretty rubbish.
If you’ve gone through into the plastic then the boots probably won’t be resoleable.
It's marginal so I will give it a whirl. Thanks again
It's really worrying how quickly that happened. You are obviously far too nice a chap Roger to get into a fight with them, but I think I'd be like Tom, and whining on until I got a refund or replacement! I know that when we gear review the one thing you often can't really test is how well a product does over longer periods of time, but it sounds like these wore so quickly I'm surprised it didn't happen to any reviewers. I know Kev Avery reviewed them for Climbing Gear Reviews and I think he used his pair for a winter season. I'm sure Kev would have noted any big problems like that, but as you and Tom seem to have had the same issue it is clearly something not great about those boots.
Might just be I'm heavy and tend to do quite a lot of long approaches on hard ground and the boots are designed for athletes operating above the snow line.
They are very good apart from the sole wear.
It does seem to be a recurring theme amongst the latest generation of boots though: that they last very little time, whether it's sole wear, gaiters wearing through, or not being waterproof to start with... I'm not sure a £150-200 premium for a 200g loss in weight is worth it when boots last a season rather than five.
> I'm not sure a £150-200 premium for a 200g loss in weight is worth it when boots last a season rather than five.
Had to do a bit of fixing of my Trango Extremes (2006) this winter with some Seam Grip. While they were off the road, I got my Nepal Extremes down from the attic and had a great day climbing in them. Bought them in 2001!
So I'd be miffed if my boots only lasted five seasons! ;-)
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