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Mammut Eiger Extreme Nordwand TL Boots

© vscott
To celebrate their 150th birthday last year, Mammut introduced the top of the range Eiger Extreme Collection. Viv Scott takes the new Mammut Eiger Extreme Nordwand TL Boots out in Scottish winter to find out what they're made of, and how they compare to the competition - namely Scarpa's Phantom Guide and La Sportiva's Batura. Mammut say: "Despite a complete range of technical features, this full-gaiter boot is the lightest in its category. It is the ideal companion for high-altitude tours, ice climbing and expeditions."


Developed from high altitude expedition boots, lightweight synthetic winter climbing boots with an integral gaiter are now firm favourites of many climbers (myself included) for Scottish winter, icefall and alpine climbing. These boots offer a simple all in one package (no additional gaiters required), are generally lighter than equivalent more traditional leather boots, require no breaking in, and are precise and nimble to climb in.

Having merged with Swiss boot maker Raichle a few years back, Mammut are the latest to join the party in the form of the Eiger Extreme Nordwand (yes we get the picture) boots. These follow the same general design as other manufacturers' models: a non-removable synthetic, insulated inner boot, kept away from the elements by a waterproof fitted zip-up gaiter.

Toasty toes on belay (Photo Benjamin Courant)  © vscott
Toasty toes on belay (Photo Benjamin Courant)
© vscott

So, other than a different colour scheme, what does the Nordwand offer in comparison to the other models out there - namely Scarpa's Phantom Guide and La Sportiva's Batura? Basic fit-wise, all feet are different, all I can comment is that the Nordwand and Phantom fit pretty similarly, while the Batura feels a bit narrower so I personally find them a bit less comfortable. Weight-wise, there's little between them, with all coming in at around the 1800g mark for size UK8. Price-wise, the Nordwand (at £450 RRP) tops the pile by £50 more, but you do get a bit more for your money...

"Other than a different colour scheme, what does the Nordwand offer in comparison to Scarpa's Phantom Guide and La Sportiva's Batura?"

First, while the Nordwand remain very neat and compact, and don't feel at all chunky, they are a good bit warmer. I'm not sure I'd wish to spend much time at the Mammut rated -35° C, but they certainly feel warm enough for winter alpine days, sitting somewhere in warmth between the Phantom/Batura, and chunkier double boots like the Phantom 6000 or Sportiva Spantik.

Nordwand boots drying out showing the laces and Velcro inner boot system.  © vscott
Nordwand boots drying out showing the laces and Velcro inner boot system.
© vscott

Second, the inner boot fastening design is much much better than its rivals. Instead of relying solely on skinny laces, which even with lace locks, shift, slip and loosen throughout the day, the Nordwand uses laces around the foot, and a ski-boot-esque Velcro strap around the ankle. Protected by the gaiter this doesn't clog with snow, and doesn't loosen with motion so the fit you set is the fit you keep for the day. This is particularly noticeable when front-pointing, where the Nordwand gives much more solid support, while still remaining very flexible and nimble on mixed routes. The tongue and heel of the inner boot also feature well sized grab loops making pulling the boots on with cold hands a doddle. Top marks all round!

"The Nordwand remain very neat and compact, and don't feel at all chunky, but are a good bit warmer..."

Moving onto the gaiter, the material is suitably tough, showing no damage from granite boulder field tussles, and is well protected on the inner foot - generally where the most punishment is taken - by a high rubber rand. The YKK drysuit zip has worked perfectly, sliding easily and keeping moisture out. I do have a couple of niggles about the gaiter, however. First, the stitched on 'Mammut' logo has the slight downside of putting a few thousand holes in the waterproof gaiter, allowing a bit of water ingress when fully immersed in Scottish bog, though this can easily be rectified with a hefty application of seam sealer. Second, for reasons that escape me, the top of the gaiter does not feature a drawcord to cinch it tight. There is an elastic hem, but this is too slack unless you have Chris Hoy sized calves. This isn't a massive problem if the boots are worn under trousers, but is a bit irritating when approaching in leggings and doesn't enable the Boswell TM youth on fire tucked in trouser method.

"The stitched 'Mammut' logo has the slight downside of putting a few thousand holes in the waterproof gaiter..."

Anything else?

The sole is relatively straight, so all the crampons (G20, Dart, Terminator, G14) I tried fitted very securely unlike on some of the more asymmetric soles on other boots. The carbon midsole makes them very rigid so there are no problems using full clip on crampons. The tread on the sole is suitably deep for decent grip, but there is less rubber depth (a compromise on weight) than on some other boots so they might not last as many seasons of rocky walk-ins. That said, the sole design is of the type that is very simple to replace if required. From brief scrambling experience, they rock climb very well - as with most rigid boots, they edge brilliantly, and the low profile (than the more rounded Scarpa and Sportiva) rubber reinforced toe gives lots of grip in cracks.

Summary:

Excellent lightweight winter climbing boots. A notch warmer than similar models and with a superb lace system and Velcro strap inner boot fastening system giving a very secure hold of the foot. The lack of a drawcord around the gaiter is a bit of an oversight, but all in all an impressive and capable package.

Mammut Eiger Extreme Nordwand TL Boots

Features:

  • Base Fit Technology
  • Easy Entry System
  • Speed Lace System
  • PowerStrap
  • Watertight zipper
  • Carbon shank
  • High cut rubber edge
  • Crampon compatible
  • Flex Index: B3
  • Last Index: Mountaineering Tech
  • Fabric: Synthetic Leather
  • Inner Fabric: Textile
  • Lining: Thinsulate 200B 100% PES
  • Weight: 1888g Size UK 8.5
  • Insulation value: -35 °C (EN ISO 20344)

More info on the Mammut website.

Video:

Mammut Eiger Extreme Range Stockists:

The Climbers Shop: Ambelside: 015394 32297 www.climbers-shop.com
George Fisher Keswick: 017687 72178 www.georgefisher.co.uk
Kountry Kit: Tavistock: 01822 613089 www.kountrykit.com
Outside/The Square: Hathersage: 01433 651 936 www.outside.co.uk
V12 Outdoor: Llanberis 01286 871534 www.v12outdoor.com
Tiso Aberdeen: 01224 634934 www.tiso.com
Tiso Rose St, Edinburgh:
Tiso Glasgow Outdoor Experience: 0141 559 5450 www.tiso.com
Tiso Perth Outdoor Experience: 01738 634464 www.tiso.com
Ellis Brigham: Covent Garden: 020 7240 9577 www.ellis-brigham.com
Ellis Brigham: Manchester:0161 211 6200 www.ellis-brigham.com
Ellis Brigham: Aviemore: 01479 810175 www.ellis-brigham.com
Ellis Brigham: Fort William:01397 706220 www.ellis-brigham.com
Snow+Rock: Covent Garden:0207 420 1444 www.snowandrock.com
Snow+Rock: Kensington:0207 9370872 www.snowandrock.com
Snow+Rock: Chertsey:01932 566886 www.snowandrock.com



Viv Scott  © Viv Scott Collection

About Viv Scott

I've been climbing for a bit over ten years, and am currently based in Edinburgh having escaped from the southern flatlands. Climbing highs include Scottish winter climbing, a couple of trips to the Alaska Range, classic alpine routes, sunny ski touring, cragging in the UK and abroad, and beers and craic in the pub afterwards. Lows include Scottish winter climbing, alpine bivies, base camp blues, midges and the UK weather... I guess I'd like to be a jack of all trades and I'm definitely a master of none, but most enjoy the great variety of climbing and look forward to trips back to old favourites and hopefully many new and different places.

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20 Feb, 2012
Any idea how they compare in fit & warmth to the La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo? I have bad circulation and get very cold feet even with thick merino socks. I love the fit of the Trango boots, but I'm tempted to get something warmer!
20 Feb, 2012
A good chunk warmer than trangos - slightly more bulky but not clunky feeling.
20 Feb, 2012
The fit Yes, all feet are different. For me personally (my foot isnt your foot!!) the best thing about these is the secure heel and variety of fitting options/acing method to cater for personal preference. I find the Mammut's to be more akin to the La sportiva nepal evo than anything else in the sportiva range...they are a totally different boot to the trango evo light being wider with a deeper heel cup and a fair amount warmer. I take a 42.5 in the Mammut, 42.5 in the trango evo, 43 in the nepal evo. I find the heel cup to be slightly wider but around the same depth as the batura (2nd gen). I also find them much less asymetric in fit than the old scarpa Freney XT's, but just as precise with plenty of power to the big toe. The scarpa guide seem like a great boot. The main advantage i've found of the Mammut's over the scarpa guide's when trying them on in the shop (I accept not in use on the hill) is the options for fitting and support. My comments on the Mammut TL are:- The insole is (albeit still not brilliant) much better quality than your usual in the box rubbish form most manufacturers. The overall build quality is good, certainly on par with any of the other leading brands. The lacing has a little plastic locking clip, i've found that if you move it down by one lace (eg. one eyelet) you can lock off the laces on the top of the foot and give a different tension over the ankle. You can then thread the ankle and tighten it up as much or as little as you like, keeping the heel secure at the back of the boot and your toes free to wiggle about. The detail and small touches. Lots of thought has gone into this boot. For example, there's even a little velco square on the back of the heel to keep the velcro ankle strap out of the way when lacing up, big pull loops for putting the boots on/off and a chunky zipper easily adjusted whilst wearing gloves.The lace lock can be velcro'd into place onto the front of the tongue to stop it slipping down and the ski boot sytle power strap is great. The sole is close the ground giving a good feeling of dexterity, but doesnt sacrifice warmth due to carbon honeycomb shank which retains heat and a silver heat reflective foil on the insole. The boot feels light and nimble. A couple downsides as Viv has already said are the wide top of the gaiter, but this hasnt been a particular problem for me (chunky trousers, not legs like Chris Hoy). And I'll be using the suggested seam sealer idea! I've also found that one of the boots squeaks, not a big deal but i'll be trying to soften up the leather in the offending area with some Vaseline or something. And the laces when cranked right up really tight can bite the ankle a little, the laces can be changed if you wanted but that might be just my feet. Hope this helps those thinking about getting these boots. Dan
21 Feb, 2012
Extra info greatly appreciated. Have you any more info on the heel size? Scarpas are generally to wide and as far as I can remember Sportiva aren't great either. Currently wearing kaylands. Think I've a 'normal' forefoot and a narrow heel. Hence the emphasis on bel fit. Thanks
21 Feb, 2012
Afraid I Haven't used Mammooks so can't comment directly, seemed to have a pretty snug (good) heel fit on me with enough space for quite wide forefoot. From memory I've found Kayland heels a little tight when I've tried them on (never used a pair in anger).
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