The current 6000 EVO RD above
Spoiler warning!....this EVO is SWEET. Light, warm and looks to rival my favorite hybrid Palau/Scarpa 6000 combination in its factory form!
A few of the popular double boot weights in a 45:
Scarpa Phantom 6000 2# 10oz / 1190g
Lowa 6000 RD 2# 14oz / 1304g
La Sportiva Spantik 3# .05oz / 1362g
La Sportiva Baruntse 3# 2.5oz / 1503g
Zamberlan Denali 3# 6oz
My first exposure in recent history to Lowa was through a good buddy I have known since our 20s.
One of the current, Field Ambassadors for Lowa, Carlos Buhler.
Here ya go, meet Carlos Buhler:
Climber, Photographer, Corporate Team Builder Extraordinaire
With major ascents on five continents, including the first (and only) ascent of Mt. Everest via the east Kangshung Face from Tibet, Carlos is considered one of the most accomplished mountain climbers in the world. Join him in 2011 on his next World Expedition to Tibet...
Carlos can also be found here:
Prior to that Jim Whittaker climbed Everest in a pair of Lowa Toni Hiebler named/designed, Triplet, triple boots. The third lwt layer thin felt sock. Heavy bastards they were but generally no cold feet in those babies either for the effort of hauling them around! They were pretty neat boots but one boot I never wanted. I figured out early on that by comparison I didn't want to climb with that kind of weight on my feet or in conditions that bloody cold! But seems like I have likely owned damn near any decent mountain boot made since!
The first pair of Lowas that caught my attention, Big Jim Whittaker's Lowas.
I wander around the OR shows looking for new gear that might interest me. Generally stuff most suited for winter technical climbing. With all the current technology and most of the boot makers very, very conservative you never know what will pop out of one of those little valleys between, Italy, France and Switzerland. All of these countries have made at one time or another the best alpine climbing boots in the world. So the gene pool was there. Still there imo.
Mammut/Raichle and Zamberlan are good examples. I mean really, this is some serious history, "he both shared and supported the revolutionary ideas of Vitale Bramani, founder of Vibram" in the world of boot making.
photo courtesy of Arc’teryx and Ian Parnell
Ines Papert on mixed
I hadn't paid much attention to Lowa recently. I saw Papert in the climbing comps and winning them as well as climbing on her own. But face it Ines Papert could likely out climb me in socking feet! So I'm happy she has the Lowa sponsorship. But past that I wasn't swayed much.
Carlos on the other hand I know. He's always been strong. Hard to besmirch his resume over the years. A couple of years ago he was knocking off one big Canadian modern mixed rig after another. While I was still scratching my way up easy ice he and I had done 30 years previous. Carlos has never been a gear junkie in all the time I have known him. His years on distant peaks in far away places and hard routes generally sent him scrambling for gear. But is was always disposable gear to him. He certainly went through a lot of it though, by simply wearing it out!
photo courtesy of Tato Esquirol
Carlos on the last 30 meters of the Suffer Machine, Stanley Headwall, using the now Euro only, Lowa Vertical GTX.
Lowa Vertical GTX
When I asked Carlos about the Lowas he was climbing vertical ice and M8s in he was positive. But no sales pitch or waxing on poetically. They were good boots that fit him well. Pretty much end of story. I asked him if he would be willing to write a review as we chatted about the influence Cold Thistle can have on a brand. He was uncomfortable as a sponsored climber writing what would virtually be a infomercial. He didn't think the comments would be taken seriously. I disagree but fair enough.
I hope by the introduction that you now know the Lowa line can indeed climb anything humanly possible at this point.
Back to the Outdoor retailer show? I saw two boot models in the Lowa booth that instantly piqued my interest. No surprise why. More here:
I know the Scarpa 6000 well so it is an easy comparison.
If the Scarpa 6000 has any faults that I could "improve" one would be the gaiter. I'd like it taller. The Lowa 6000 EVO is a full 3" taller.
Same durable and reliable Ti Zip on the gaiter of both boots. The Lowa has a better finish on the zipper closure I think. Gotta say whoa! It is all in the details right?
Before I go on to more detail some thoughts on design work. I have no doubt that who ever was involved in the design of the newest Lowa boots has looked at what else is available in the market place. No secrets there as everyone almost immediately copies the best of each other's design work. How well they understand that design work and technology and most importantly how the product is actually used defines how good the end product will really be.
An example is a leashless tool designed by people that don't climb leashless. And you have to ask yourself..."is that dumb or what?" Or asking climbers what is needed in a ski boot? Or skiers what is needed in a climbing boot. How TF would they know? Seems obvious enough.
You see the DNA from Mammut, La Sportiva and Scarpa in this newest Lowas. Good on them! They get it and have made small improvements in one way or another across the board, IMO. And retail sales then move on. It is a very good thing for us as consumers.
Several different types of Insulation and Shoeller fabric in and out on the inner boot with a simple but effective lace system to offer more support
The Inner boot? If you have followed C-T for long you know I have seen and climbed in a lot of boots in just the last 5 years. And most of the popular double boots. The Lowa reminds me more of my wife's BWM leather than it does some of my favorite boots I currently choose to climb in. Everything about the Lowa spells luxury to me. The inner is thick and well padded in all the right places. The insulated insole is as good as anything I have yet seen in this style of boot. Closed cell foam and aluminum layer combined much like the best from La Sportiva the Spantik and Oly Mons.
Alu-Coated mid layer and foam insulated insole
Lowa's 2014 Catalog sez:
Footbed? Alu-Coated w/fleece. More like Schoeller material I'd bet.
Upper? Cordura with a ful length TIZip
Linning? Aveolite, Duratherm, Alu-coated PE (insole as well if I were to guess) Foam, 400g Primaloft and Gore-Tex
Outsole is the Vibram Teton
shank is 6mm of Nylon
Factories list the weight of a Scarpa 6000 27.5 is 1000g per boot and the Lowa 6000 27.5 is 1300g per boot and the La Sportiva Spantik 27.5 at 1261g per boot.` Like all these boots easy enough to drop weight by changing out the inner boot to a Palau.
Lace system? Both the outer shell (the most important system IMO) and the inner boot laces are simple and effective. The more I look at lacing and boot fit the more convinced I ma that simple is better for everyone involved.
The outer shell has the same system the Scarpa 6000, but the Lowa uses a wider Velcro strap (a good thing I think) and a pull tab added. Also a good thing I think.
The outer shell? Lot of the details are different on the outer shell. Gaiter is the first you notice. But the ankle support is higher and a little more rigid than the Scarpa. It is also cut down in the Achilles so you have some added flexibility going down hill. The two 6000s are close in this area but different for sure. I suspect most will prefer one over the other.
Achilles cut out bigger
tongue comparisons between 6000s and a look at the difference in the ankle strap size.
The Tongue? The Scarpa version has several pulls placed all around the boot shell. The Lowa version there is one and tie points to add more. The tongue cut out is the main feature to help the boot off and on. In a tiny bivy tent in frigid tempos getting dressed in the morning is a serious PIA. Nice to have gear that makes it all just a tiny bit easier.
BIG rocker on the Lowa by comparison and a good toe welf to enhance crampon fit. Me like!
Sole and rocker? Lowa decided to use a normal thickness lugged sole. Scarpas is thinner and more appropriate for a boot tat will have crampons on hit the majority of time. But thankfully didn't go to the extreme toe profile that makes using every crampon more difficult. The Lowa toe sole profile looks to be one of the best currently available. And it has more rocker than most boots soles. Which makes walking easier in a stiff soled boot.
toe profile toe on the two versions of the 6000
Solid crampon support for auto crampons on both boots..it is important. Other models can collapse here given enough pressure from the crampon heel lever. Also worth noting the heel rand that gives the excellent heel hold down on both boots.
Bottom line? More double boots? You bet! If I wasn't climbing in the Scarpa 6000 I'd be using the Lowa 6000. Likely change out to a heat molded Palau liner to best fit my feet as I do in any dbl boot. Past that I really like the higher gaiter and added support of the wider Velcro ankle strap. More sole rocker is a good touch as is the low profile toe that still easily fits most automatic crampons toes . Well worth a long look once these start showing up at your local dealers. If they don't carry Lowas now, ask them to thin about it or at least see if they will order a pair in for you to try. If not there is always the Internet. The new Lowa Latok XT single boot might even be better.
The Latok XT and a boot I want to demo myself!
Word is Lowa will have demo boots available at Bozeman, North Conway and Ouray. Just not sure what models. It isn't likely going to be the 6000. But sizing should be very similar. Give Carlos a shout out if you are there. Better yet sign up for one of his seminars..sponsored by Lowa of course!