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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lowa 6000 EVO RD double boot?

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

The previous Lowa 6000 version above.  As you can see some significant changes on the newest Evo,

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

and another

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
More on Carlo's story can also be found here:

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 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!


Steve said...

Will the rocker sole on the Lowa make crampon fit more difficult like the Spantik?

Anonymous said...

Can you describe the fit difference between the two 6000s? Is the lowa wider, narrower? I was looking at getting the scarpa but may wait and try the lowa if it fits wider.

Dane said...

My impression is a better fit than the Spantik...heel is more solid so easier to crank the crampon down. But the crampon fit isn't going to be a lot better than a Spantik. I found crampon choice more important many times compared to boot sole.

My love vest thread showing the poor fit of a BD and Spantik was a good example. Great boot, poor fit the alrgest % of a crampon issue, not boot design IMO.

Width and fit? So much of a double boot fit is defined by the inner boot. With a multi layer insulated inner it is hard to tell for the little time i have had this boot. But early on I'd say very comparable to the 6000. But ya gotta realise I use a custom inner boot in all my doubles now. So I'd say worth checking them out but make sure they fit YOU. The Scarpa 6000 inner boot fit me poorly and I LOVE that boot wihtthe Palau liners!

Sorry as I realised after the fact I did not address fit as I typically would in any boot view. Knowing full well I can now get almost any double boot shell to work for me.

Adam Watts said...

Great Review Dane! Awesome Scottish climbing video, got me stoked!

Erik Kolb said...

Can't wait to get my hands on these!

I have a pair of Lowa Vertical's that are great and fit my super narrow 12A feet very well. Toe box is small though. I tried a pair of Lowa 6000 RDs in the past, and these fit well (read narrow, low vol), but were HEAVY. Baturas were a better compromise then.

Having a light(ish) double that fit well would be awesome!

Nicholas Maslen said...

Wow, in reading your reviews about the Phantom 6000 and the La Sportiva Baruntse, this seems like the boot to get! I've searched everywhere on the internet, is there any word to when this new model will hit shelves/online vendors?

Dane said...

Late Spring or early Summer 2014 I've best. I have another dbl boot review coming up shortly that is available now that is also worth a look if the Scarpa 6000 doesn't do it for you and your are in a hurry.

Nicholas Maslen said...

Thanks for the quick response! That's too bad, as I'm in for a Denali trip this coming May/June and would obviously have my boots worn a little bit by then ;).

That other review I take it is on the Zamberlan Denali? Looks like a very decent boot, I may order that from Prolite and wear it around the house for a bit before I make a decision.

I (and am sure others) really appreciate your in depth reviews. Reading a very thorough breakdown of these more technical boots is almost as good as wearing them!

Dane said...

Yes it is the Zamberlan Denali. Basically tossed between the Oly Mons and a Baruntse. Bit heavy but I suspect it would be very very warm and a great techncial boot. I'd do a Scarpa 6000 on the west butt and if I was a little slower (over 2 or 3 days on anything on the South Face the Zam Denali might be a good option. Early May time frame the Denali is a very good option IMO. Nice high gaiter and lots of insulation. Kinda a Oly Mons "light" although it is 4 oz heavier per boot in my 45s than the Oly Mons and $100 per pair cheaper..

Nicholas Maslen said...

Good to know, thanks for the insight.

Do you know how the durability between the Phantom and the Denali will compare? I've noted that your impression on the Phantom was that it wasn't as durable because of it's lighter weight.

Dane said...

Not sure it is just weight. And seen some well worn 6000s still looking like new. But no question the Denali 's zipper system will out last the 6000's and I'd suspect the Denali will be warmer. Big trip? Both things make it an easier decision for me if I could only have one..

Nicholas Maslen said...

I'd suspect the trip will take about 15-17 days, but I'm thinking long term regarding replacement. I really like the Zamberlan's design, however I haven't found it cheaper than $900, while the 6000 I've found for around 550-$600. If I fit both well, it'll be tough deciding between the two with such a stark price difference. Maybe I'll just be patient ;).

Thanks a lot for your help! Looking forward to your upcoming review!

Dane said...

what size are you?

Nicholas Maslen said...

I annoyingly fall between 42 and 42.5, primarily in La Sportiva. My Trango's seem to fit well as a 42.5 with liner/wool sock combo. And I have a narrower foot.

Anonymous said...

Being lucky and visiting Lowa´s factory in Jetzendorf, Germany yesterday. The knowledge and the craftsmanship of the employes is awesome. Zen-like focus on sewing,choosing right Leather, cutting, glueing, putting laces on- that is done manually and it was real Kung-Fu (1500pairs in a day!). No junk in Lowa´s, only best material around, fabric,hide, foam, zip.. This will be the same in Zamberlan, Sportiva, Scarpa..etc i guess.
After the tour, i was trying on the 6000RD and Latok, both fits me 42/8UK. Latok seem to had more room in toe area than 6000s, and 6000s had a bit stiffer heel. Im normally 42.5/8.5UK in Sportivas and Scarpa, so for me is seem to be bit bigger than these (42 Lowa/42.5 Spantik), but thats my foot). Inner boot in
6000 is sock like soft, easy to put on foot and also into outer shell. Well thought and well made, maybe not as durable as Palau.
Price is high, but for all that work and material- its fair enough.


Andrew Loader said...

Hi Dane,

I'm looking at either the Phantom 6000s or the Lowa 6000 EVOs.

From what you wrote it looks like the Lowa are the way to go.

Any thoughts on the weight and also which way you would lean?



Dane said...

Both are good boots. I'd try them both on first and then decide. Likely the Scarpa is lighter. Warth a flip ofthe coin. It is all about fit for me everything else being equal.

Andrew Loader said...

Thanks for your response.

Do you think the Lowa is warmer than the Scarpa 6000s?

Dane said...

My guess is they are very close in warmth. The best fit will also likely give you the most warmth.