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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double boots


I have probably spent more time in plastic double boots that any other style of mountain boots.  Two decades to be exact.  I was climbing in leather single boots before that for the most part with the occasional foray into leather double boots.  But the older and better double leather boots were heavy.  Really heavy even compared to a good single boot and a Super Gator.

So what I ended up with was a very good pair of leather single boots (Haderer) and a custom pair of Carmen/Chouinard Super Gaters that were modified by adding more insulation (synthetic pile) and a zipper down the front that was backed with flaps and Velcro.

Once I got into a pair of Kolfach Ultras (shown above) I never looked back.  Even if that did require a few layers of mole skin every week during the first winter season climbing and guiding in them.

So 30 years later you might ask how did those original plastic boots compare to what we have now?   A recent conversation on a Internet forum made me ask the same question myself.  But this time I wanted a more complete answer.  Some times we get caught up in the newest, lighter, better, warmer and eventually more expensive product and loose sight at what we once had.  It is called institutional memory.  This blog is one way I have tried to keep our climbing history and its institutional memory alive.

Sometimes it is not better to reinvent the wheel every few years.  It might actually be better to build a better tire for that wheel and take advantage of the best technology first.

If you look at the original idea behind double boots the biggest advantage is to keep your boots (inner boot at least)  unfrozen and if required dry on multi day outings.  You can put the inner boot in your sleeping bag and dry it out over night or at least keep it from freezing if needed.

The disadvantage of double boots is that they add volume to your feet.  Volume means extra warmth everything else being equal.  But as we all know nothing is ever "equal".

So if we have a huge volume boot you have warm feet.  A Sorel or other double layer cold weather boots are a good example.




Warm but severely lacking on most technical ground.

So what is really required is a certain level of warmth but at the same time the real key is to keep the over all volume of the boot as compact as possible so it is easier to climb technical ground in.

Make sense?  

Big volume for warmth. 

 Small and sensitive to climb technical ground in
So some where in between we should be able to come up with a double boot that is both warm and sensitive.  But it isn't as easy as you might first expect.

A multitude of materials to make a boot from these days.  Plastics, fabrics and the old stand by, leather.  And all have advantages and disadvantages.

So first I think to have the best boot you need to look at the last.  The last describes how the boot interior is shaped.  Currently we have literally bath tube shaped lasts (some plastics)  and very ergonomic shaped lasts that match the foot almost perfectly (again some plastics).  And boot lasts that are every where in between.

In the old days a cobbler or boot maker would have literally hundreds of hand carved lasts.  Once measured and your foot matched to a specific last the boot fit could well be phenomenal.  With the ability of good leather to mold to your feet the fit just got better with use.

With a boot built to your foot the amount of insulation added to the best double boots simply made the warmer.  With a generic boot last the boot just got heavier than required and may or may not have gotten warmer for your foot.

The answer for that was "give them a bath tub" and let the inner boot take up the slop.  That would give you a warm boot if the inner boot and bath tub last actually fit your foot.  But it was also heavier than required if the last had been done correctly to fit your foot.

It is not happen stance that the best lasts on good leather double boots like a Haderer double or a plastic boot like the Dynafit TLT look like your foot.


This is the best example I can easily show you of what I am trying to convey on boot lasts.  The Koflach Arctis is over size and bath tub shaped.  The TLT 5 is very anatomical lasted.  Even with just a ski boot sole the TLT5 is easier to climb in for feel. 

I have heard a great many comments on how cold the TLT Series of boots is compared to other down hill ski boots.  I'll challenge those comments.  You really need to look at the amount of insulation before  you start to make comparisons for warmth.

How do you make a boot warmer the easy way?  Add volume.  This is the answer from Kolfach with two different boots, both the same marked shoe size.  In this case a 11.5 US.




So let me back up a bit here.

I have summited Denali a couple of times in Koflach Ultras with foam inner boots and simple nylon knee high gaiters.  I have also turned around at 17K on Denali in really cold temps with the same boots and had really cold feet.  But the issue wasn't that I didn't have warm enough boots.  I did.  The reality was the temps were too cold for me to be climbing. (no one else summited that week either btw)  My feet getting cold were just the first sign of that cold.  That and a thermometer that bottomed out during the night at 17K.

So when it comes to double boots I think there is a distinct disconnect between what the manufactures make us and what we really need.

La Sportiva Spantiks seem to be the most common boot for winter climbing in Chamonix by a huge margin.
Some type of double boot and generally a insulated over boot seems to be required (or at least suggested) for Denali.   More likely a Olympus Mons can be used above 14K on Denali in early spring and over kill later in the season.  And a Spantik won't be enough boot for Everest or K2 or winter climbing in the Himalaya.  There are and should be options for volume and sensitivity.


Current Koflach "Guardian"
But actually the last gen Ultra shell, which was/is an excellent boot.


If a 30 year old Kolflach Ultra will get you to the top of any Alaskan peak, and keep your foot warm and dry how much more warmth do you need?  My answer would be none.   If  I need a warmer boot I can use a Spantik or a Scarpa 6000 which both have a bigger volume.  The Spantik slightly larger than the 6000 by what I can tell.   And just a tiny bit warmer as well form my experience.  But when you start getting cold feet in either of these boots isn't going to be a boot issue but your hydration and food intake is my guess.  The Olympus Mons and its close mates made by other brands are the next and final step up for cold feet btu the boots are huge!

So what I think is missing is a totally different boot.

One with the volume or something similar to a old Koflach Ultra or better yet the newest TLT 5s.

Modern material, fabrics, plastic, leathers,open and closed cell foam all make great materials to work with.  San Marco made a single boot in the '80s that had a plastic lower and a leather upper.  It would be easy enough to come up with something similar now.  Think of a Nepal Evo with an anatomically cut plastic lower and leather upper and a thin, easily heat formable foam inner boot?

It is a boot that would easily replace the Spantik everywhere but Denali and the greater ranges.  But perfect in the rest of Alaska or Mt Blanc most of the year.    I suspect it would be the boot of choice for everyone from the Canadian Rockies to Chamonix if done right.  Basically a boot that we all really need but that no one has even thought about making.  Might be because simply no one asked until now. 

These days I don't care how good the outer boot is or how good the anatomical shape of the last is.  If your inner boot isn't easily heat moldable you are behind the curve.  The liner needs to be air permeable as well.  We can do better than a VBL.  But the inner can not retain any moisture.  It is possible.  But it is frustrating to see all this technology out there and no one taking advantage of it.  I think it is too easy for the boot designers and manufactures to get tunnel vision.  instead of going back to the basics and requirements at the drawing board level

A short design list for the new double boot I want made:

Less over all volume, more akin to a high quality technical single boot.
Double boot so you can dry the inner or keep the inner from freezing
simple inner boot lace system for fit
Lace system for the outer shell so it is one handed and most importantly reliable (no Velcro it wears out)
Anatomical last on both inner and outer so you use what insulation you do have to best effect
Plastics and synthetics for the lower boot for water resistance.
Upper of fabric or leather for a close and flexible ankle fit
Split the insulation between the inner and outer boot so the fit can be optimised in the inner but the outer offers good insulation above and below the sole 
Use the smallest sole lugs and stickiest rubber technical climbing soles possible.
Honey comb carbon mid sole for rigidity long term and most importantly warmth through the sole


As much as I really like the "super gater" boots they are a design dead end.  All of them.  Simple reason.  The newest pant fabrics allow the pants to be easily used as a breathable gaiter now.  Adding a gaiter, no matter the material, slows the moisture coming out of the boot and slows the evaporation.  So the attached gaiter is not a help in design as you might first think,



Our climbing clothing, from boots to hats are really now more than ever a system.  Attached hoods on the base layer, help us eliminate one additional layer.  Mid layers with attached hoods allow us to use a lighter mid layer for warmth.

Boots and the gaiters we use are a part of that system as well.  As are gloves and the gauntlets on the gloves and seals on the jacket sleeves.

Gaiters on the boots aren't required and in fact lower the performance of the boots.  Remember the basics..."you must stay warm to stay dry".  Adding a feature that keeps you from staying dry or that slows the drying is a feature you don't need.


double click this one to see them all


Any of the current boot makers have all the technology to make the boot I describe and market it for $700 or less than the current price tag requires on some of the boots today. 


These are the two lightest true mountaineering boots available that I know of.

La Sportiva Trango Evo Extreme GTX 2#3oz  992g
Scarpa Phantom Ultra new 2010 model 2#3.5oz 1006g

1000g or less in a size 45 four season mtn boot is a magic number.

Here is the list and pictures of the current double boots that I can lay my hand on easily.
And a few odd ball combinations that I have used.  Check out the over all weights and the inner boot weights.

I know it is possible to build a light weight technical double boot in my size (12 US/45/5 Euro) that would come in under 1000g per boot.  And be the warmest and best climbing technical boot currently available.  But I am shocked no one is doing it yet.



Euro size 45.5
La Sportiva Spantik  1370g
liner 252g

La Sportiva Spantik with a Baruntse liner 1290g
liner 172g




La Sportiva Baruntse 3#2.5oz / 1503g
liner 172g




Euro size 46
Scarpa Phantom 6000 new model  1230g
liner 234g
Scarpa Phantom 6000  Baruntse liner 1200g
liner 172g




US size 11.5
Scarpa Omega  1110
liner 140g




Scarpa Inverno  1450
liner 318g




Koflach Arctis Exp 1440
liner 462





Koflach Degre 1160
liner 184g




Koflach Ultra (1980 vintage, white) 2# 10oz or 1190g total
Kastinger foam liner 234g




29.5 Mono
Dynafit TLT 5 Performance size 45.3-29.5 mono, (no tongue) 1210g
TF liner 232g

TLT 5 Mountain TF  1200g (no tongue)
TF liner 232g

All the current double boots are within ounces of each other.  1110 being the lightest..the Scarpa Omega.  And the Kolfach Arctis the heaviest and likely the biggest boot by volume @ 1440g.  Volume wise the Arctis compares to the Spantik.  And is bigger imo than the 6000. I am still impressed by the original Ultra now called the "Guardian" by Koflach.  Sadly it seems to be sold over sized with the Arctis' liner.  That shell, properly sized, with an Intuition liner would still be one of the best climbing boots available and around the 1100g or less instead of the 1258g Koflach lists.

More here on the Kolflachs:

http://www.koflach.com/en/parsepage.php?tpl=tpl_index

More on Scarpa's plastic boots here:

http://www.scarpa.co.uk/Products/Mountain/high/

Bottom line here?  Some really good cold weather boots available today and all of them climb well on ice.  The price point of the plastic boots make them a reasonable alternative if the $700+ is a little hard to swallow on the most popular models.

I have been turned around with cold feet but I have never been turned around on technical ground because of wearing plastic boots.  The temps that did stop me would still do so in a Spantik or a 6000 today.    I found it easier to climb 5.10 rock in a pair of the old Ultras than I do in the bigger volume Spantiks.  The reason is simple..less volume means a better climbing and easier to climb in boot.  Plastic boots make sense on hard technical rock or vertical ice in cold conditions if you can get a decent fit in them.    If I could get my hands on a pair of the current production Koflach Guardian's easily, I'd be climbing in them this winter instead of my 6000s or Spantiks.

That doesn't say a lot for the current state of the art in double boots imo when a 30 year old boot technology  and 1/2 the retail price of the upper end "state of the art models" available is the better option most days out today.

I'm lucky enough to have almost any double boot available to me.  But if I had to choose just one pair of mtn boots for every condition, any season and mtn range...it would be a rather old school pair of white plastics from the current  Koflach production run.


If the idea of a ultra modern, super light weight and low volume double boot interests you,  make sure to add your own comment to this blog post.  More on the idea here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=475986

   

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good bit Dane. I've wondered that myself. Why not a light weight double boot of single boot weight and performace? Brilliant idea for the Alps and Scottish winters.

Anonymous said...

Dane,

You're killing me with this stuff, it took me months to convince myself that I need the Phantom Guides and now "the super gaiter is a lie". What boot from Scarpa range should get a mountain hiker that wants to climb Mont Blanc and learn the basics of ice climbing ? I do have pants that work as gaiters but the laces are still exposed and the snow collected there melts from my abnormal heat output.

Alex

Dane said...

Alex, don't take it all too seriously :) The Phantom Series and Batura are all great boots. And covering the laces is a much needed feature. You'll be happy with the Guides. You will likely wear a pair out before anyone makes a huge improvement on the boots offered now with a gaiter attached.

Bruno Schull said...

Hi Dane. Great post. As much as I like the new integrated gaitor boots, I do have to kinbd of stretch to see the purpose. Sure, they make the boots somewhat simple, clean, and weather-resistant, but I always ask myself, what to do with the pants? (inside, outside, and so on...). This is probably a Euro thing, and the best pants to wear with integrated gaits boots are in fact tights, or, worse, knickers!!!

In any case, you bring up good points about anatomical lasts. What is your view of the current asymetric sole shapes, like the Scarpa Freney for example...a curved sole that with many crampons makes the use of a curved center bar usefull or necessary? Do these soles tent to climb better? Worse? Fir better? Worse? Colder? Less comfortable? Of course, it has to do with foot shape too, and, since I have bathtub feet, I try to stick with bathtub boots.

Kai said...

On your wishlist, you state:

"Lace system for the outer shell so it is one handed and most importantly reliable (no Velcro it wears out)"

I'd much rather do away with laces altogether and just use buckles. Buckles these days are light (magnesium, as used on AT boots). Buckles are easy to adjust with mittens on, and they don't stretch or loosen as the day progresses. Koflach made a buckled boot, as did Lowa. The technology for making buckled boots has come a long way since then. If Scarpa just made the Omega with buckles, it would be very close to the boot you want.

Dane said...

Bruno..I think asymetrical soles are a problem we didn't need solved. Pain to fit crampons to as well. The later versions are better than the early one imo becase they are so extreme.

Buckles? I don't want a climbing boot...any climbing boot... with buckles. Messener liked buckles on his Kastingers. I didn't. Not a huge fan of the TLT buckles and they are pretty good for a ski boot.

The Spantik lace system is a good example of what can be done without buckles. Easy enough to improve on that idea and make it easier to use and more reliable.

The Omega has a few good things happening imo. Adding buckles to it wouldn't be an improvement for me.

I used Velcro, Fastex buckles and laces on my last pair of Ultras and it was better than most anything else available at the time.

Given the chance I might duplicate the Fastex buckle system and a Spantik style lace system for the outer boot and a really simple Baruntse inner boot lace system for the boot I envision.

Brian said...

I'm really surprised how you sized your TLT5's. I have a US size 11 foot with a narrow heel and wide toes. Any tightness across the top of my foot leads to quick numbness. I have size 46 Scarpa Phantoms that are extraordinarily comfortable. But my Dynafit ZZeus boots are size 27.5. I also have size 28 BD Primes that I use for backcountry skiing that are very, very comfortable on me with no shell molding (I know your experience was not the same). Though I haven't tried them on, if I got TLT's, I imagine I'd wear 28's or maybe 28.5 max. 29.5 just seems pretty big to me. Did you size them primarily for climbing? Do you have much foot movement within the boot?

NotMessner said...

In this age of computers, will it be long before a laser scans your feet, makes a digital model, sends that to an automated last-making machine, makes a last to EXACTLY match your feet, then an automated boot-making machine makes a boot based on that last?

morgan said...

Aerogel would handle the insulation/weight requirements quite handily. Of course as a pure material it is quite expensive, but use small pellets of it in a primaloft/eva matrix...and you've got some pretty unreal insulative properties.

Along the same lines, put aerogel in the spaces of that honeycomb carbon sole and you've got a sole that won't let any cold seep through.

Pretty cool stuff.

Ian said...

I don't own a pair of Spantic boots but there is a ton of negative reviews about its laces (eyelets actually). I don't know why but I kind of like the thin coated cables with rotating tightener found on snowboard boots.

Other than that my only negative to the boots in general is cost but it seams all technical oriented sports are expensive these days. I just don't have the disposable cash to buy four or five pairs of boots like I'd like.

marcello said...

believe it or not but the first time a climbed in my scarpa omegas I broke through to a running stream and filled a boot up with 33degree water, went ice cimbing and hiked back...WARM! I trust my boot like no other

Dane said...

Hi Brian,

I wear a 45 Phantom Guide but I punch out the toe box a bit. The 46Phantom 6000 is good to go. The 45 Ultra is a perfect fit. As are most 45 or 45.5 La Sportiva boots. My 28.5 BD Prime's liners were way, way too small. Shells were a perfect fit. And I like really tight ski boots. But the Primes were just too tight even with a lot of work on the liner.

I sized the TLTs to ski, not climb, although I can climb in them if required.

They are 29.5s. But I could have gone 29s easy enough as the are the same shell. I ski in both the Per. and the Mtn. versions but only own and use the Palau/Dynafit TF foam liners. Although I am going to try the Intuition Pro Tour this season and see what I think. I'd suspect a more ski specific fit and more support from that liner as it has more foam.

And I suspect I could wear the 28 shell...as the 28/28.5 are the same shell again if I was just going to ski them. But I was pretty careful to not get a bad fitting boot again after the BD fiasco. I wanted a fit that I could use on week long hut tours with a decent sock. But they MUST still ski and the TLTs do!

FWIW I just tried on the new Dynafit Titan Ultralight in a 29.5 and it was a full size if not more too big. Likely a 28 there but didn't bother to follow through with the sizing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dane,
Sales numbers will always dictate what is done...
But I want what you are asking for plus a climbing boot that would fit tele or AT bindings.
-low profile
-removable liner
-super warm
-ski binding compatible
In this day of everyone crossing over sports there has to be an answer.
Great post.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane,

I just got my Scrapa Vega today (a total bargain) and started crampon fitting. My BD Serac and Cyborg work just fine with a long centerbar but my old Grivel Rambo 2 (maybe 3) are just to small to fit my UK 12.5 Vegas. As a fellow "bigfoot" how did you deal with stuff like that. Old Grivel kit (if still selling), handy work or should I just forget the Scrapa/Vega combo?

Thanks and keep the blog up. Gear geeks hang on your every word.
Frank

Dane said...

Hi Frank, honestly if I can get one and even better two pair of crampons of any brand to fit the boot I am using at the moment...I am thrilled.

Boot first, then find a crampon...as almost any crampon will do these days if it fits.
Good luck!

NotMessner said...

Dane, you said: “Double boot so you can dry the inner or keep the inner from freezing…. Split the insulation between the inner and outer boot so the fit can be optimized in the inner but the outer offers good insulation above and below the sole.”
That’s possible right here, right now, with existing products by putting a pair of inner-boots inside a pair of over-sized single boots. For example, if one bought a pair of Silver Bullets in the largest size easily obtainable, then inserted thermo-formable inner boots, would you have the lightest double boot known to Man? Or to Woman? I could call them “NotMessner Boots.”
Another option might be to borrow the inner boots from a pair of Oly Mons and use them inside the La Sportiva Trango Extreme EVO Light GTX Boots.
OLYMPUS MONS removable inner boot:
- Polyamide external layer.
- PE closed-cell foam padding, with ventilation holes. You said, “The liner needs to be air permeable as well. We can do better than a VBL. But the inner can not retain any moisture. It is possible.” Does the Oly inner meet this?
- Tri-dimensional structured polyester lining.
- Removable footbed: Insulating

Dane said...

Messner...ya great idea but terrible follow through. The Silver Bullet Trango takes literally days to dry indoors when fully wet. You would need to strip the internal insulation to start that project and then rebuild the ankle support and ditch the tongue design.

There are better off the shelf dbl boots already on the market if you have to start with e "largest" shell.

The Oly mons inner and the Spantik inner are one and the same. Again...you really want better technology there and a better fit. Easier to start over than use soemthing that wasn't designed for the intended purposee or that has better technology avaialable now for the end use.

No matter what you do with current technology today you are only adding a inner boot to a single boot and adding weight with your suggestions. The entire idea/end use needs to be rethought from the beginning and build a boot specifically for the intended prupose. Instead of a hack job of the parts currently available.

Anonymous said...

Howdy Dane, have had good luck with Scarpa doubles but my 2 cents was the old alphas were pretty sweet and I would like to see shells that match the quality and good custom fit of todays liners (which are pretty sweet).

Like my Omegas very much.

Cheers,

Coldfinger

Frontier Post and Beam said...

I use gaiters to keep the snow out of my boots because my pants don't make a seal around the top of the boot (Scarpa Inverno's and Asolo Evoluziones)
I also wear knee/shin pads, so I have a gaiter covering boot to knee, with pants over it. Impossible for snow to penetrate, but MY FEET PERSPIRE!
Are you saying try to eliminate the gaiter in all situations?

Dane said...

Yes, I advocate eliminating gaiters if it is possible for you. I use soft shell pants that stretch some and place grommets in the cuff (that I do myself) and elastic cord under the boot. No gaiter required and a decent seal even in deep snow. The biggest advantage I think is allowing your boots to breath better up and out your pant leg and keeping your feet drier because of it. I suspect it also keeps your feet and legs warmer than cutting off the air flow. Gaiters will do both at the knee and by being a water proof material in the leg.

The lower leg is the same place the condensation from your boots should be escaping if you want your feet to stay dry.

Frontier Post and Beam said...

brilliant!....I never thought to just modify the pant. Adding a length of webbing or a hook to keep them in place instead of adding an unnecessary layer of clothing.
now I must find a confident seamstress!...all pants should connect to the boots?!

marcello said...

Dane, I have the scarpa omegs and they r warm and precise and all that but I have constant and VERY terrible pain on the top of my foot and on my shin kills! Do u have any recommendations, or do i need different boots?

Dane said...

New boots ;(

cindy said...

Dane,

I bought the Spantiks for Denali this year and returned them because of an ill fit. I bought the Baruntse. It still needs work because I get a pain that almost feels like a cramp on the widest part of my feet. Is there any way to widen the boot. I read up on "punching out" the boots but have no idea who would do the work.

Otis

Dane said...

Otis...most any ski shop with a decent boot fitter can stretch and punch out the Baruntse or Spantik if they are careful.

Anonymous said...

Dane,

I followed your advice in your other article about heat molding a pair of Baruntse boots, and everything worked like you said. My only concern is that with a 2-sock toe cap my inner boot almost feels too big as my foot can slide around some in the forefoot area (heal fits perfect). How much space do you want in the forefoot area to allow for circulation, and how much space is too much that will lead to blisters?

Dane said...

Sorry Anon..no definative answers for you. But you or your shop can use a heat gun on specific parts of the inner boot to expand the foam and get a tighter fit.

Just don't heat up the heel again and work on the forfront of the inner boot short of your toe box.

Jenny said...

Dane,

I was in a shop in London today looking for double layer mountaineering boots for an attack on Mustagata in China (+7500m). I wasn't having much luck, being female and all. Not many shops had the double layer boots and none had female sizes. Ok, it was London, I'll give you that, but this is where I live and am trying to get my kit locally. I will be in Seattle before I go on the expedition so I figure I might have better luck then. My feet are susceptible to the cold so I am keen to find some double layer boots. Can you recommend some for women that can be found in Seattle? You're my last hope obi-wan! Jenny

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane,

Great blog, and great to hear that you recommend Koflach Guardian, seeing as I recently bought a pair for my trip to Aconcagua in Jan next year. However, seeing as it is my first encounter with plastic boots, I tested them out in Wales for two days on various ascents, and my ankles, feet and especially shins were in absolute agony for days after. Is this normal for plastic boots, and should I be doing something special to wear them in? I've definitely bought them big enough, as I was recommended buying a size bigger than normal - maybe this is the problem?

Thanks,
Kirsten (Denmark)

Dane said...

Too big of boot can be a problem. But try some mole skin first. Plastic boots take some time to get your feet, ankles and shins accustomed to the rough treatment.

If you can wear them in comfort they make a perfect boot for Aconcaqua imo. If all else fails try a Palau inner boot heat molded to your yeet.

Armadillo said...

Holly Toledoooo ...

Great article Dane.

Cheers !

Riccio said...

Good review of the sad situation,I am an ex-pat living in Italy and have climbed everything available in Europe.
My crampons are old (1984)Grivel, bolted, rigid, automatic clamping, welded and re-welded and re-tempered. I have tried almost every brand and have tossed everything but the old heavy Grivels. A local machine shop has made me a new pair of tempered (one piece, rigid) crampons -basically a copy of the Grivels, with more aggressive front points and turned rear teeth to hold better in hard snow.
I have spent a fortune in boots, my old Koflak also 1984 (about 99% guardian)are still my favorite for tough going. The new Swiss, no longer Austrian, Koflak will NOT provide spare parts, so I have replaced the upper cuffs with 3mm teflon. I had a custom boot maker here in Italy make new inner boots, 1mm teflon sole,a combination of leather, foam and heavy silk inner lining, plus a velcro rim to prevent the socks from sliding down.
Good point on the gaiters, I have also modified two pair of gaiters, maintaining the gortex fronts with a fine mesh rear and an outside zipper instead of the rear zipper. Another combination I like for steep, deep snow is a pair of Descent ski pants with both top and bottom zippers with the top open and a gaiter strap between the boot and crampons holding the pants down to form a good seal.
Koflak boots are great for small volume and small footprint for my 45's, and my new liners have held up well on Mont Blanc and Eiger in all weather. I have re-soled the Koflak,s 4 times, but I have a problem buying new boots from a company that will not sell spare parts.
Integrated gaiters, this is something invented by someone who may have climbed but has never "lived" climbing. Dry is warm, damp is dead.
I am still living the idea of layers, and spare dry under shirts, socks, hat, gloves etc. Gloves, hat etc for climbing can be lighter than the same equipment for overnight or descent. I have changed undershirts in bad weather on Mont Blanc, warmed up quick and slept fine.

Roberto said...

Hi, Dane.
Really exelents reviews here. Thanks!
Do you know if the sizing is the same for all the new koflachs boots? You say that you can wear a pair of Guardians or Artics with the Intuiton linner and it will fit OK anyway?
Greetings from Argentina!

Dane said...

Kolflach sizes run true to American sizes and the UK sizes marked...out of the country no clue, sorry. Hello Argentina!! Las
Lenas this summer ? :-)