/ Ski mountaineering boots

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
J Whittaker - on 22 Sep 2017
Looking for advice on what is a good ski/climbing boot.

I was going to get the Arcteryx procline boot but they have just had a recall and from what i can see on the web they may not even be back for this season. Salomon have a new boot out which i think is an analogue of the procline (S/LAB X-ALP) so im thinking given the problems with the procline these may not be out there either.

Im aiming to climb stuff like the Swiss Route on Les Courtes or similar. Anyone had experience climbing routes like this other boots?

Cheers!
Rigid Raider - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

I don't think there's a bad one. Why don't you visit a specialist like Mountain Feet in the Pennines and try a few on?
Frank4short - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

Start here: http://www.powder.com/gear-locker/know-buying-new-boots/?wc_mid=4036:8773&wc_rid=4036:2878902&am...

Then find a good boot fitter and apply the knowledge you've learned in the article.
J Whittaker - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:

Im planning on heading over to Backcountry UK in Ilkley at some point. I thought id just see if any of you guys had some personal experience/recommendations
HammondR on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

Agree wholeheartedly with the two posts above.

One other consideration, which will of course be addressed by a good boot fitter, is your skiing standard, and other equipment.

Compared to an alpine boot, the Procline will provide much less support. Similarly, they will require a higher level of technique to drive bigger skis, or to ski difficult terrain.

I am guessing that you already have skis with tech bindings. The Procline may be a bit shorter than your current boots, and you might want to check that you have sufficient adjustment in your bindings.

If you happen to be a bit of a ski god, please forgive my note of caution.
J Whittaker - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to HammondR:

Unfortunately not a ski god but i have been skiing for about 8 years albeit only 2/3 trips a year but i can hold my own on most terrain so long as its not narrow colouirs and properly steep faces. I think the steepest ive skiied is around 40 degrees.

Always skiied alpine bindings but having gotten into climbing late on im now interested in the touring side of things with a view to do as much touring as technical climbing. I do have a pin binding setup ready to go for this season.

Id still take out my alpine setup for pure lift accessed terrain with perhaps a bit of boot packing.
John2 - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to HammondR:

Actually modern ski touring boots come surprisingly close to the performance of downhill boots for skiing. The corollary of this, of course, is that they are far from ideal for difficult climbing.
Pinch'a'salt on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

Depends on whether you are planning to ski back down from stuff like the Swiss route (its a nice link up to the NNE face...). I climbed the Swiss route in a pair of Garmont radiums which were relatively heavy, but it is straightforward climbing... Something like the Salomon MTN LAB is the modern (lighter) equivalent of this. The X-Alp or the Procline (if they solve the problem) would be great if you want to climb more technical stuff, but will lose a bit on the skiability front in comparison...

And as per Frank4short above a good boot fitter is highly recommended.
J Whittaker - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

Where do you think the point at which not having a boot like the procline might start to hinder you climbing wise? Taking into account im unlikely to be doing any really hard climbing on mixed routes in them for a while.

If something like the Salomon MTN lab is fine for a route like the swiss route then id probably be inclined to go for something like that, then i can ski well in them too.
a crap climber - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:
What sort of fit do you need in your boots? What alpine boots do you use?

Salomon are quite low volume, as are proclines from what I've heard.

I've got atomic backcountry. They're medium volume (less than their alpone boots though). Sadly too big for me really, lots of fitting foam round the ankles. I stupidly let myself be swayed by the walk mode, seriously impressive for a boot you can still actaully ski in, almost like wearing some b3 boots. The MTN labs are good, but have a hard stop and iirc the sole is less rockered.

Scarpa (lowish volume i think?), dynafit (very low) and la sportiva (low/medium? Not sure) have a few offering worth a look

Edit:
Sorry didn't read your post properly, thought you were talking about the s- lab mtn. Just had a look at s-lab x alp, look identical to proclines- can't think why, though they are made in the same factory (proclines are made by the same company that owns salomon and atomic )

Got a mate who has the proclines. The carbon backbone thing cracked within the first couple of days use, though arcteryx at least have top notch customer service and sorted them out without any problems
Post edited at 18:43
HammondR on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to John2: fair enough point, but it would indeed be surprising if Procline boots ski anything remotely like Alpine boots. I have Vulcans and they ski similarly to Alpine boots and climb OK, but weigh 1.5 kilos each. The Procline review on Outdoor Gear Lab rated it worst out of 10 touring boots revewed, of its downhill qualities observing "Nonetheless, for tougher conditions, faster speeds, and less proficient skiers, the Procline boot will come up short." Not surprising for a circa 1kilo boot aimed more at the up.

I am prepared to wager ten English pennies that the OP purchases Dynafit tlt 7 boots, if they have a good fit, and his crampons don't need a toe welt.
Rockarch - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

Best boot is the one that fits your feet best! I'm also in the market for new boots and in looking around have been pondering these things as well, , especially if you already have a ski set up, apologies if you already know all this:

1. Boot sole length - these lighter boots are often quite a few mm shorter than any existing boots you might have so check if you have adjustment in your binding set up or you might need to remount the bindings.
2. Crampon compatibility - if I remember well, the Procline won't take step in crampons, not sure about the others.
3. Another factor which may or may not be important depending on what you want to do (and how good your circulation is!)- in the really lightweight boots you can get seriously cold feet if you're out in proper cold conditions e.g. -20c or standing around.

If you don't know the Wild SNow website, that's a place for proper gear geekery...including loads of boot info.
L nuts and bolts - on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

Scarpa maestrale (RS if you want stiffer boot or normal one for comfort) are usually considered top of the tree for ski touring but do not go to shop set on a particular boot as the most important factor is good fit to the shape of your foot (if you go climbing or skiing in ill fitting boots you will very quickly consign them to the bin or e bay).
I got mine at backcountry and they know their stuff.
I use pin bindings also for ski touring as they are so light. Not done any climbing in the maestrales yet so cannot give you a steer on that.
damowilk on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

I’m far from a ski god, but do almost all my skiing now in Dynafit TLT6s, and generally find them fine to ski, even driving bigger skis. I do also have Dynafit Vulcans, but I usually find myself taking the TLTs for the extra comfort.

As for climbing/mountaineering, I haven’t done too much technical stuff in the TLTs, but they ice climb well, and while not as good as mountaineering boots, they aren’t terrible for a day on crampons.

I have a reasonably wide mid foot and narrow heel, I usually fit Scarpa the best, but actually managed to get in the TLT6 with no alteration to the shell and they’re pretty comfortable.
TobyA on 22 Sep 2017
In reply to damowilk:

> I have a reasonably wide mid foot and narrow heel, I usually fit Scarpa the best, but actually managed to get in the TLT6 with no alteration to the shell and they’re pretty comfortable.

Similar feet, same boots!

OP, lots of good advice here but you can buy a pair of boots second hand off a bloke via the ads here on UKC, do no more fitting than mess around with socks and insoles (old trainer insoles not fancy special ones!) and go and ski up and down lots of arctic mountains in them with no blisters and big smiles. Good luck.

Pinch'a'salt on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

Tough to call where the 'hindrance' starts - I guess on anything where the climbing is a bit more technical or mixed and needs more careful foot placement than straightforward ice/snow romping (as per the Swiss Route).

Each to their own though... I personally quite like the ankle support/stiffness of a ski boot on easy ice...

As for the ski-ability debate there is no comparison between a light touring boot (say TLT6 carbon version - haven't tried the procline) and an alpine skiing boot. Worlds apart in real terms, though the gap os slowly closing, and the 1.5-2kg touring boots now offer performance not far off an alpine boot.
Rigid Raider - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

I've used touring boots for many years on my one week a year ski holiday, they are light and confortable, easy to put on and great for walking around the resort. I accept that a pair of downhill boots might make me a slightly better skier but can't justify the cost of buying for just one week a year of skiing. If I do more skiing in retirement it will be worth buying a pair.
galpinos on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

I believe there are differences between the S-Lab X Alp and the Procline, the former being more downhill/touring whilst the latter being aimed at ski mountaineering (thicker sole, toe rand etc).

Some comparison here: http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/2017-2018-salomon-s-lab-x-alp-boot

The Procline boot is the boot that most reflects the skiing I'd like to do. In reality, I need a one boot fits all and that boot is currently the Freedom SL as my skiing at the moment is mainly family ski holidays and occasional touring/off piste.

HammondR on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to Rigid Raider:
I can confirm that more skiing in retirement is the future!
J Whittaker - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to galpinos:

I had a read of the blister gear review. Sounds like the S-lab X Alp could wear out pretty quickly if youre planning to use the boot over alot of rocky terrain. I.e. just skiing in and out of routes.

Really there isnt a 1 size fits all solution for me. I want a boot that i can tour and only tour in and a boot that i can use to access climbing then climb in. I already have alpine boots so that isnt a factor in it. Its going to be a compromise.

If i ever get to a point where i can realistically climb hard winter routes id probably put on true B3's and slog my way to the start of the route.
bogpetre - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to a crap climber:
I'm in exactly the same boat as the OP, in that I'm looking for a boot specifically for climbing routes in the Chamonix area during winter and shoulder seasons, including the swiss route. I ended up picking up the atomic backlands, which I haven't tested extensively yet, so I can't comment on that decision, but along the way I also tried on various other boots and wanted to chime in to correct some apparent misconceptions regarding the fit of the dynafit TLT series, to provide some potentially useful information regarding boot insulation, and share my experiences with trying to fit the procline.

The TLT 5 is very low volume, it causes quite a bit of pain for me for instance, and I think this is where the reputation of this line of boots comes from. The TLT 6 fits me more or less well, although it's a bit less comfortable than the backland on my foot, but is clearly more spacious than the TLT 5 of the same size. The TLT 7 is much larger volume than either, too large for me in fact. I get lots of slop, even with a thicker after market liner. Another point of comparison for these boots would be the procline, which I really wanted, but didn't fit my foot. It was somewhere between the TLT 5 and TLT 6.

One thing to be aware of regarding the procline is that your boot fitter may not be able to modify it too much given all the special features built into it like the rubber toe piece and the gaiter. My boot fitter is very well regarded in the area (front range of Colorado), and is likely one of the most experienced boot fitters in the state, but he was unwilling to punch the proclines due to these extra features.

The insulation on many of these boots is pretty skimpy, so I upgraded to an intuition pro tour liner. We'll see how well this worked, but it may be helpful to know that what fit for me was a liner that was 1 size smaller than the shell, in a medium volume (in other words my shell was 27.5, and my liner was 26, MV). Intuition makes liners in low, medium and high volume. I tried all three in both the shell size and in one size smaller than the shell size, and the one size smaller medium volume pro tour is what ended up working for me with atomic backland carbons. I shell fit my boots with two fingers between the shell and back of the boot, which I believe is the standard for touring boots, so if you shell fit your touring boots normally, try intuition pro tours one size smaller in medium volume for a liner solution that will be considerably thicker than a stock touring boot liner. I had TLT 6s on hand concurrently and believe a similar scheme (size down, medium volume) would work with this boot.
Post edited at 01:49
jonnie3430 - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to J Whittaker:

> Im planning on heading over to Backcountry UK in Ilkley at some point. I thought id just see if any of you guys had some personal experience/recommendations

After two failed attempts at buying boots (I have huge calfs,) in the UK, I went to Chamonix for a couple of weeks, tried on as many as I could in as many different shops as I could and went with the boots that fitted best and the guys that I had the most confidence in getting the fit right.

I ended up with scarpa maestrale's, they are okay at skiing and fine for climbing. They weren't compatible with the crampons I took out (bd seracs,) and I only found this out half way up the Swiss route, when one broke. It dug out huge chunks from the boot as well, so be warned.

I'd have liked to have some of the lighter boots, but the fit is so bad I can't ski for long. I'd also recommend a pair off eBay or Gumtree as something to use while you search for the perfect boot.
richlan - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to jonnie3430:


> I ended up with scarpa maestrale's, they are okay at skiing and fine for climbing. They weren't compatible with the crampons I took out (bd seracs,) and I only found this out half way up the Swiss route, when one broke. It dug out huge chunks from the boot as well, so be warned.

>I'd have liked to have some of the lighter boots, but the fit is so bad I can't ski for long. I'd also recommend a pair off eBay or Gumtree as something to use while you search for the perfect boot.

Sounds like you have now had 3 failed attempts at getting the right boot, i have never heard anybody describe the Maestrales as "OK at skiing"

Also where did the Serac's fail ?

jonnie3430 - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to richlan:


> Sounds like you have now had 3 failed attempts at getting the right boot, i have never heard anybody describe the Maestrales as "OK at skiing"

My calfs are so big (mountain biking as a teenager?) that when boots are tight at the top, they are loose below, meaning I need to either have them super tight at the top or loose. I have thought about trying ladies boots as they generally don't come so high, but it's difficult getting them in a nine. (And the ones I have do okay.)

> Also where did the Serac's fail ?

The dynafit lug on the boots has a wee ridge to aid clipping, this and kicking smashed the rivet holding the front bail of the crampons on enough that the rivet failed. The other crampon would have gone soon after.

John2 - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to richlan:

' i have never heard anybody describe the Maestrales as "OK at skiing"'

I'd be surprised if you were as good a skier as the guy who reviewed them here - 'This is, by far, the best four-buckle touring boot I have ever had the pleasure of putting on my feet'.

https://www.wildsnow.com/2951/scarpa-maestrale-boot-review/
richlan - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to John2:

Sorry that’s what I meant, just not expressed very well, they are far from OK, they are awesome and a pretty much go to touring boot for a great deal as folk.
John2 - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to richlan:

OK sorry, misunderstood.
HammondR on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to John2:
Me too.
Jim 1003 - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to John2:

And that is the old boot, the new one has blue buckles and is better.

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.