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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, April 9, 2010

La Sportiva Baruntse

As you mature there are times you just have to over look the stark beauty and amazing good looks of the crazy party girl that is really a raving mad, succubus just waiting to seduce you and then eat your liver while you watch and are still alive. It is bleak.....

The choice you learn to appreciate is the sweet young thing that knows how to be nice. treat you with respect and make your life better not just more exciting. And most importantly leave you wanting more after every rendezvous.

Weird way to start a boot review, hu? There aren't many things in climbing that can bring about such an emotional response from me....but boots....preferably good boots..will do that. Bad boots on the other hand my make a Succubus look good at the end of a long day out...liver or no liver.

Baruntse, the mountain, is best known as a "easier" 7000m trekking peak close to Everett in Nepal.

The La Sportiva Baruntse how ever, is an exceptional technical climbing, and very warm, double boot. You have to wonder just how many climbers are going to miss out on the Baruntse thinking is is the "little brother" not up to the same tasks as the more expensive Spantik simply because of foolish name branding and marketing?

From La Sportiva Italy:
"A thermal boot with removable bootie, ideal for winter mountaineering or working outdoors in cold conditions."

That sound like a technical climbing boot to you? Of course not!

Here is what La Sportiva USA has to say on the Baruntse:

"A sturdy, durable double boot for high altitude mountaineering

When the conditions are cold and high the Baruntse offers a hospitable climate to keep your feet warm and dry. Ideal for use on 6-7000 meter peaks or in harsh winter conditions where you don’t want to think about your feet. The thermo-formable inner boot sports the patented speed lacing system and couples with the highly insulated multi-layered PE outerboot for dependable warmth and a PU coating to keep moisture and cold outside and heat inside the boot.

WEIGHT: 44.7 oz/ 1267 g LAST: Nuptse CONSTRUCTION: Inner Boot: Slip Lasted Outer Boot: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Transparent PU Tech anti-abrasion film with high insulation expandied PE/ High density expanded PE insulating netting/ Synthetic mico-fiber/ High abrasion resistant Cordura®/ Giugiaro lacing hardware INNER BOOT: Anti-abrasion Cordura®/ Thermo-moldable 7mm high density insulating EVA INSOLE: 6 mm isulating Ibi-Thermo + PE insulating barrier and aluminum insulation MIDSOLE: 8-9 mm TPU/SBR Air Cushion SOLE: Vibram® Montagna"

But let me back up a bit. If you don't know of the La Sportiva Nepal Top or the newer Nepal Evo Extreme you should. I'll tell you why in a minute. What I really should be doing is adding all sorts of cool climbing photos to this blog post to make my point on how good the Baruntse really is. But I can't. Why not you ask? If these boots are so cool? Well to be honest I was having way too much fun actually climbing in them to bother with taking pictures this winter. And I used them a shit... that is a true story.

Back to the Nepals for a minute. If you like the Nepals you'll love this warmer version of them...and how they climb. Damn near every Chamonix Guide climbs in the Nepal Evo or Top.....hard to argue with success. The Nepal climbs exceptionally well , fits most feet even better and is durable enough you'll be forced to keep them around for a resole or two.

The Baruntse is just a warmer Nepal with all its advantages......that alone should get you to try this boot on. End of story.

Well not quite 'cuz this is a boot I really love. First time out in them I soled a 600' WI3.
Not all that hard for me back in the day. But hadn't been out in a while and had never been on the climb before and knew nothing about it. I was just along for the "ride". Did I mention i was taking pictures? I was taking pictures. But never noticed the boots....ever.

Which says a lot for the boot. My next outing in the same boot was a 100m WI5+. With a rope this time and a long pillar, Again never noticed the boot. I could pass some of that off as me being preoccupied on both climbs...scared shitless maybe, but I wasn't...preoccupied that is...may be scared a bit. But I would have noticed the boots that didn't perform at least as well as expected. The Baruntse climbed so well in both cases that I was able to take advantage, and notice, the extra support in the rigid sole, the even flex on the ankle cuff both forward, front pointing and side ways in French technique and even the extra warmth. What I didn't notice is the extra bulk or weight of a decent double boot.

It is no wonder, as the Baruntse is only 4oz heavier than a pair of Spantiks in my 45 size.

I can easily lace the outer shell as tight as required to support my narrow ankles/heels. Tight enough that I get ZERO heel left. Which is simply amazing and almost unheard of for me outside a custom boot. I like the really simple inner boot, that it was heat formable with printed directions that actually worked. And that it fits! And it does really fit well. Best of all I like that that the rigid soled and mid soles were very easy to fit every pair of crampons I own to the Baruntse...perfectly. Really...perfectly....every pair I own! They have a more normal width heel and less rocker front and back than the Spantik both of which makes a huge difference on the positive side when fitting crampons.

It is the one boot I own...or have for some time... that I don't want something drastically changed or improved on. Sure I would like them lighter and smaller...but they are warm enough and light enough and not too big in volume. All of which is saying a lot about this boot. I'd take these back to Denali in a second with no over boots and expect to summit even on a cold day in May with warm feet. I know they will make miles of hard Alaskan , 60 degree ice, easier. I know I can climb any grade of technical ice I can get up with the Baruntses on my feet. And enjoy it.

So screw the advertising and the usual questions of "why didn't you buy the Spantik" ....

If you are up to it, the Baruntse will take you BIG before going home. And that will be done with the least amount of effort. Which is all that is required.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dane,

First, thanks for this blog! I really appreciate the historical perspective. It's great how looking back leads you to the future...

Regarding boots, I too love doubles. My feet are so big and wide (48/49) that the only winter boots that will really give me the comfort I need are doubles with intuition liners. Sometimes a little too warm, and I wish they were more flexible, but at the end of the day comfort and are the most important factors for me. And with the intuition liners they are really pretty light!

I would love to hear your comments about modern ice tools. For example, old Nomic and Quark vs. new Nomic and Quark (I'm sure you've seen the pictures). Also, are you the guy adding custom hammers to Nomics, and other various improved bits for ice tools? How are the picks coming along? Any updates?

Keep up the great history/future mix!


Dane said...

Hi Bruno,
Glad you are enjoying the blog! Yes, I am building hammers/adzes and doing other mods commercially to the Nomic and new picks for the Black Diamond tools. Our Cold website is about to go live with a pay pal shopping cart for all of the spare bits, tool and screw sharpening and other things we'll be offering. But Nomic Hammers and picks for the BD tools are available now and in stock.

I have seen and played with the newest Petzl tools and climbed quite a bit on some early prototype Quarks with Nomic style heads. Petzl has promiosed me a set of all three of the newest tools as soon as they are available so I will be writing them up as soon as I can get out on them.

But no big changes on the Nomic as far as how they climb. It is still a debate as to what will fit and what won't fit on the new Nomic and old. Petzl says nothing will fit. After seeing the new tools and taking them apart I suspect much of the new stuff will fit the old Nomic. The New Quarks are obviously a major redo, as are the Ergos.

I am so biased, I'd hate to write up the Nomics. I'll sound like an info commerial for Petzl.

Inner boots? I like my Intuitions as well...but really worth checking out the after market Palau inners. They will allow your boots to flex a bit better than the double cuffed Intuitions and from the fit I got on my Baruntse might offer you a more comfortable boot over all. I've priced them some where around $150 but haven't ordered yet. I was hoping I could just buy a spare pair from La Sportiva first...since I can't the Palau inners are on my next shopping list.

Thanks for the feed back!


Abi Fitzgerald said...

Thanks for your helpful reviews! The gear challenge....well, more specifically, the boot challenge, has my head spinning. Would you recommend these for Denali? Would they need a different liner? And I am assuming an overboot too..? I ordered the Spantiks, they arrived, and I am not sure that I like them. This is my next choice. I have sort of wide feet (for a girl) and bad circulation! I am looking for a boot that I can use climbing in the Sierra, Shasta, Ranier, maybe south america, basically anywhere and that will keep my feet warm when the weather comes in and hopefully on Denali next season. Even if it's overkill for the Sierra, I would do it for warm what do you think? Is this the boot for me?

Secondly, I go back and forth over the crampon set up. I go the Sabretooth pro and am now think that it lacks versatility. Are the clips just fine for general mountaineering? Don't think I'll be doing anything to technical.

Thanks for your help, I can totally appreciate your boot obsession!


Dane said...

Glad you are enjoying the blog. But that is a tough one Abi. It really has to be fit first. I have strange feet and the Baruntse fits me very well, thankfully.

I have a hard time lacing the Spantik and the fit could be a lot better. My suggestion is if you still have questions on the two boots and can can swing it is buy a pair of Baruntse while you have he Spantik in hand. But buy from someone like Zappos with a good return policy and don't take them out doors!

The Baruntse is pleanty warm for any mountain on the planet just as it comes. So no need for a diffeerent inner boot. And the inner can be easily formed by a good ski boot fitter for you.

If you have a problem with cold feet any of these boots will generally require a over boot above 17K on Denali. So best to plan for that with 'pons that fit the over boots.

I only use clips on all my crampons and like it better than the other systems but lots of others who climb more than I use either/or with no complaints. If I was using over boots I would not use a fully clipped crampon.

If you aren't in a hurry I'd also look at Scarpa's newest Phantom 6000 dbl coming in early fall.

Hard to get a boot that is going to be comfortable everywhere. But if you need the extra warmth and are willing to put up with the weight of the dbl boots, the Baruntse really is a great boot.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane,

Great blog, I've enjoyed reading your reviews and your insight. I have a question about a boot comparison.

I have read and heard (but never experienced) that the Koflach arctis expe is a super warm plastic double boot. All else being equal, would the LS Baruntse be of comparable warmth to the arctis expe, say down to air temps of -50ยบF?


Dane said...

Hi Eric,
I still have a pair of Koflachs A/Es with the Aveolite liners. No question the Baruntse is warmer. Add a Intuition liner and it is even warmer yet.

The Scarpa 6000, the Baruntse and the Spantik are all a good deal warmer than any Koflach shell and liner combo. All but the 6000 weight more as well and are bigger boots physically.

I think just as import as getting more warmth is the newer boots will generally be more comfortable and easier on your feet and knees that the older plastics. The newest materials are warmer and more comfortable.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your post for a few months now, and have read all of your boot reviews as I am in the market at the moment. I live in Anchorage Alaska and it gets downright cold up in the mountains at times. My current boot is the Nepal Evo which I absolutely love. I have taken it all over Alaska and did a trip in the Wrangells with it last spring however I sometimes suffer from really cold toes. I looked at the Spantiks about a year ago and thought the lace system was much too fragile for the abuse I put my boots through. Recently I went to Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking and tried on the new Baruntses and they fit amazingly and it seems like the boot I need. However I have also seen a lot of hype about the new Phantom 6000. I am gearing up for an accent of Ham and Eggs on Mooses Tooth hopefully followed by Shaken not Stirred. I will also be flying back out to the Wrangells this spring to work on a project. Would you recommend that I go with my gut and get the Baruntse or should I look around a bit more? Im mostly doing technical ice/mixed climbing during the winter and then try to get out on mountains come spring so agility is pretty high on the list when it comes to a boot for me. Thanks for the help and keep climbing hard!


Dane said...

Hi John,
I still think the Baruntse is the best technical dbl boot out there.
Great fit, excellent on the hardest ice and mixed and super warm. Also the easiest boot to get a good fit in once you heat mold the liners.

You'll give away little in weight and gain a good deal of support.

Spantik and 6000 both need the Baruntse liner to be a "good" boot imo. Baruntse I could buy, have fit and climb any thing in them. Sounds a lot like the Nepal doesn't it?

I was climbing in the Spantik last week and while they were decent I thought about how much better the Baruntse was on my feet....that tells me a lot.

You'll need a gaiter or your pants for the Baruntse but it will likely last a lot longer than the 6000. And no question I like the extra support of the Baruntse on long bits of alpine ice better.

None of the three are what I would consider agile...but they'll climb well enough and better than you might suspect.


Daniel Rudmin said...

Hey, can you explain how the lacing on the Baruntse liners is supposed to work. Is it really just a piece of cord with a knot at the end? Am I supposed to pull the cord through the velcro tab to tighten it? Or should I be moving the velcro tab around to tighten it? Should the knot at the end of the chord be tied to a specific length for my fit?

Dane said...

Yes, you adjust the knot in the end of the cord to place the velcro tab where the best fit is for your calf size. Easy once you get it figured out. Adjusted correctly you will likely never have to change it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane, I'm a big fan of your blog. I'm looking at getting the Baruntse's for a 3 week trip to one of the 'stans. I currently climb in some older La Sportiva K4S which have served me well through winters in the Canadian Rockies and even over 6000m in South America. My feet do start to get cold around around -20C (without gaiters or overboots) but the main reason I'm looking at the Baruntse is to have a double boot so I can dry the inner. I've never really had a problem with my K4S getting wet but I've never climbed even a week straight in them - few days max.

I guess my concern is the weight - especially after reading your blog on weight on your feet vs your back. I'm pretty light weight - 140# so I often need to carry a higher percentage of my body weight when group gear is being passed around. As such I'm pretty conscious about keeping all my gear as light as possible.

I don't really want (or can afford) a quiver of boots so I want some boots that will take me through the ice season here in Canada (since I'll sell my K4S to buy new boots) but will also be suitable for some bigger trips in the 6000m range in South America or maybe even to Denali. Fit aside (the most important factor) how would you rank the trade offs between the lighter Phantom 6000s and the Baruntse taking into account the weight, durability, climbing ability, versatility etc.?

Thanks a lot,

Dane said...

Hi Alan, If you ae looking for the most durable boot of the three easily available the Baruntse would be my choice. Better liner and generally a better fit. Only a few ounces (can't remember the exact numbers but they are in the weights post). I think the 6000 is a better boot on some highly technical ground but at the expense of less support for moderate ice. No question it is lighter. The one pair of 6000s that I know have seen a lot of use this last season are Will Sim's. And they looked pretty good a month ago. Good enough for Alaska this spring I suspect.

But if i was tight on coin with your agenda I'd find and buy the Baruntse on sale ;) Good luck!

Brad said...


I too was concerned about whether the Baruntse was warm enough for Denali in mid May so I emailed La Sportiva and asked about the Baruntse and Spantik. Here is their reply:

"Either boot, in the right system, would be fine for Denali. The Spantik is a touch warmer due to slightly thicker foam in the sole. The Baruntse is a bit more technical in that the lacing system allows you to get the fit a bit more dialed in for technical climbing. Both liners are technically heat moldable but we do not recommend using an oven to heat them, and, if they fit you decently, I would not recommend molding them as your body heat will do it. Hopefully that info helps you out. Have fun and stay safe!"

I assume "the right system" includes a good fit with warm socks and an overboot. In any case, for the previous poster and any future info seekers, La Sportiva thinks this is a good boot for Denali, but take an overboot just in case.

Dane said...

I find the Baruntse is actually a warmer boot than the Spantik because of the better inner boot.
Now I switch Baruntse liners between Spantik and Baruntse shells. La Sportiva Italy gives you directions on how to mold the Palua liners in the Barantse. Silly to only use a preasure fit. Totally wastes the fit of a exceptional inner boot.

Which is why I too kt hte time to poste the info on how to mold both inner boots here on the blog a year ago.

From the get go the Spantik has been to the summit of Denali many times with no over boots on people who know what they are doing. Along with many other 6/7Km peaks. The Baruntse will match that performance easily.

La Sportiva first marketed the Baruntse as a big step down from the Spantik for cold weather and technical climbing. Calling it a winter work boot of all things. Only takes climbing in a pair to quickly realise it is a better technical boot and every bit the equal for warmth.

Amanda said...

Hi Dane,

So awesome to find this blog. I bought a pair of Baruntse after much deliberation between them and Spantik. I am so chuffed with my choice.

Two weeks ago we climbed Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. My tootsies were toasty, they were comfortable all day and even with the extra weight of the crampon I never found them too heavy. The bootie was an extra bonus inside the refugio.

I had to hire crampons in Ecuador, I would appreciate any advice on which to buy for the future.

Looking forward to future info on the Baruntse.


Dane said...

Hi Amanda, hope the blog helps. The Baruntse is an awesome boot and finally just beginning to get the credit it deserves. If the Baruntse had been done first I think the Spantik would be hard pressed to catch up.

Crampons? What kind of climbing are you planning to do in the future?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dane,

I read a Jon Griffith review of the Spantik that mentioned compatibility in Fritschi bindings and how easy/nice they are to ski in...
Are either of these true with the Baruntse, or do you need silvrettas? Definitely a plus with a Spantik in that regard, imo.

Dane said...

You mean this?

"Apart from climbing in the Spantiks.... This winter I decided to really teach myself how to do it and spent a fair portion of it whizzing about the Alps in my Spantiks and 130cm skis. At first it’s a bit weird but the support offered by the Spantiks was just right and by the end it was more fun than skiing in my proper set up. Some boots don’t quite offer enough support on the shins which makes skiing very hard and allows for a high ankle snapping potential but the Flex OverLap system on the Spantkis really helps support the front of the boot onto your shins. The boot also fits fine in Fritschi touring bindings without having to do any modifications to the sole."

I know Jon and Will a bit. Fitting them to Fritschis isn't as easy as it sounds. PIA from their comments as you modify the binding. Local Cham trick, glueing on a toe spacer. More importantly most will find 130cm ski too short for most things in NA. Resonable for the Alps where you have to ski in the winter to get to and from the lifts and piste to climb. But it is transportation only, not skiing imo.

Will Sim rips on his 130s and a pair of Scaroa 6000s. So most any boot will ski if the skier is up to the task. I used my Spantiks on a pair of 178cm BD Aspects and can say without question they sucked with that combo for what what I used them for in the Alps. Short, skinny skis like their Hagen 130s would have made a difference. Colin Haley has done soem good skiing with the Spantik and short skinny skis using a knee strap to get the support required.

More recently I see Colin is now using the TLT P as I and many others are. Skiing, actual skiing in mn boots, sucks for the most part.

My only suggestion is make sure you get the right combo of gear.

"easy/nice they are to ski in..."

With all respect, thankfully Jon DID NOT say that, as it is simply a fantasy and untrue.

In that regard yes the Spantik makes a better ski boot than the Baruntse. But neither is a ski boot and better is a relative term as both suck as ski boots in reality. That aside the Baruntse does make a better climbing boot with plenty of support for endurance ice because it has more ankle flexibility.

Finally it helps to look back to see where Jon came from to get to his opinion on boots. Prior to his Spantiks, Jon's previous winter climbing and ski boots were plastic AT boots. It is no wonder he likes the stiff cuff of a Spantik.

take a look:

Me said...

hi Dane -

Been reading your blog now for a few months and love it! Great review on the Baruntse - so difficult to find "real world" commentary on gear so appreciate the interesting/informative posts you put up..

So, I just got the Baruntse and it fit my right foot perfectly with the sock I typically wear (smart wool heavy mountaineering sock with a thin liner). My left foot is wider than my right and feels just a little squeezed. Question is can I expect them to loosen up a bit as they break in? I've played around with liner/sock combos (helped a little) and even removed the foot bed in the left boot - which helped alot but not sure that is optimal. Love the boots but don't want to risk a squeezed foot on a long day. Any ideas? I'm at a 44 so that is about a half size up from what I would typically wear in a shoe or hiking boot. Afraid the 44.5 might be too big in the right boot if I size up a little.

Again - great blog..and thank you!!


Dane said...

Hey Kyle...thanks and hope you enjoy the boot. Luckily the Baruntse has one of the best liners, if not the best liner, available.

But you need to get them fitted by a professional boot fitter in a reliable ski shop to take advantage of that fact.

The Baruntse doesn't break in. Anyone that told you that it does is an idiot. The Baruntse needs to be heat formed for the best fit. You aren't the only one who has asked about the same thing. Not heat forming them is a waste of one of the very best double boots available.

more here:

Mr. H said...


I've decided that the Barunste might be a great option to keep my feet warm this winter when ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies! A few questions, if I may...

1) Have you used different insoles (ie. the green Superfeet) when you've worn these boots or just left it as is?

2) When you heat-form them, it sounds like one wears a thin sock. Do you still wear a thin sock when actually out climbing?

3) Would you suggest getting them heat molded at a ski-shop, for instance?

Thanks for the reviews! Look forward to your thoughts,


Dane said...

Hey H,
1) Have you used different insoles (ie. the green Superfeet) when you've worn these boots or just left it as is?

I have used them both ways. My suggestion is fit them with the best insole possile for your feet.

2) When you heat-form them, it sounds like one wears a thin sock. Do you still wear a thin sock when actually out climbing?

yes, you fit them with the sock you want to wear. I use no more than a med weiuht hiking sock or less. Two pair of lwt liners is a good combo instead.

3) Would you suggest getting them heat molded at a ski-shop, for instance?

Yes make sure to get them molded. And the work done by the best ski boot fitter you can find that understands climbing boots as well.

good luck! Great boots!

Mr. H said...


No dice on the Baruntse. I ordered in 4 different sizes and couldn't get a solid fit. Maybe the heat-forming would have helped but I couldn't commit $700 to a boot that didn't feel right.

I got an awesome fit on the LS Nepal Evo, sz 43 though. Two questions on this one:

1) Do you leave in the extra tongue liner?
2) Do you wear burly wool-like socks in this boot or do you wearing a midweight sock?

Dane said...

Same as every other boot, a mid weight sock and a thin liner.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to double boots so hope this doesnt sound stupid, but if I were to use a aftermarket insole, such as Superfeet. I imagine that it would go inside the liner not in the boot and under the liner right??

Dane said...

Yes, insoles go inot the inner boot, not the boot itself. Good question.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dane,
Have been shopping for some double boots for a trip to Alaska.
Was looking at the Arctis Expe and after reading your blog the Baruntse's. I finally got my hands on a pair of each. The Expe liners seem to have much more to them than the Baruntse, you feel the Sportivas are a warmer boot? Ultimately I will go with fit but warmth is a big concern to me as well. Thanks for the blog with all the great info!!


Dane said...

Hi Dave, I have used both boots a bunch. No question the Baruntse is warmer by a good bit. Enough that over boots aren't required on most peaks below 6500M including Denali. You'll also get a better fit once you heat mold the inner on the Bartuntse. It is easy as the Kolflach is 30+ year old technology and fit. Seriously 30+ years...!!!! It was the best boot available then...not even in the same ball game imo now. Unless of courese you cna get them under $150 :-)

John H said...

Ok, this is probably going to sound really stupid, but I've always been just a hiker, not a climber. But I need honesty, not someone pussy footing around a real answer. I'm going to be going up Rainier in July. I've got size 15 feet and have tried on the Baruntse in a 50 and it felt GREAT. Problem is they seemed like they'd potentially be overkill for Rainier and definitely not be great for the hike to Camp Muir. Then again, I don't get many choices with my size feet. Thoughts?
Thanks, John.

Dane said...

Not the worst boot for Rainier. If they fit well and you have the need for a good double later you'll be happy I suspect. If not I would look for a lighter boot that fits really well. It is more about fit than over kill though. I've used heavier boots on Rainier many times and never been unhappy about the decision.

John said...

Hey Dane, been reading your blog for a while. Really enjoy it. Perhaps you've commented on this issue before but I applaud Mountain Hardwear for developing Uli Steck's kit and it weighing in around 10lbs, well what about his boots? His freaking tent weighs less than his boots, seriously? What do you think about the future of boots, are we doing everything all wrong?

Dane said...

Decent high Mtn tents run between 2# and 4# these days for a two person. Boots??...Ueli's Scarpa 6000s are the lightest doubles.

Technology is there already to make really light (or lighter anyway) boots. Problem is getting the consumer to pay for them using that technology...because they won't last long in use.

Rob said...

Hi Dane,
(I'm not sure if my first post got through - the "prove you're not a robot" characters are hard to read! - Maybe I'm less human than I thought...)

Great blog. I use it often along with Andy Kirkpatrick's site for the best gear advice around.

You've convinced me that the Baruntse is what I want for a 6800m peak in eastern Nepal next year. Unfortunately, I live in NZ. None of the stores here stock the Baruntse, and most US or Euro sites won't ship here. Those that do charge a bunch for shipping, and they're likely to get an import tax slapped on them at arrival.

I'll get them sent to a friend in the states, who'll forward them to me, but this means I can really only order ONE size.

The 43.5 Nepal Evo fits me quite well. The 44 would also pass; the 43 would be too small. I note the lasts are different between these two models - do you think the sizing is similar? I'd love for the 43.5 Baruntse to work - if it's the right size, it would feel more secure on the hill. But I really don't want to be squashed...

Your thoughts?
Many thanks,
Rob Frost
Christchurch, NZ

Dane said...

Hey Rob, "The Baruntse liner will shrink up a full size after being heated so you might want to order it one full size up if you are going to use a Baruntse liner in a Spantik. There are no true half sizes in the Baruntse liner. A 44.5 and the 45 are the same. 43.5 and 44 are the same size.

Better to have this inner too big than too small to start off with if my experience shows anything.
". More here:

Charles Rutstein said...

Dane -

Love the blog. Great, great stuff.

After reading your reviews, I just bought a pair of Baruntses. Now on to heat molding. But the sportiva instructions seem to be quite poorly translated from the Italian. Verbatim:

"1) Turn on the oven and set to the ideal temperature of 130 degrees C.

2) Put the La Sportiva liner in the oven and leave to warm up for 10/12 minutes.

3) Make sure the external boot shell is completely open and that it is kept at room temperature.

4) Insert the foot bed into the liner to determine the "top-cap" height within the boot. Use a sock to help the foot slide easily into position.

5) Remove the liner from the oven and insert your foot. Make sure that the underfoot seams present are not deformed. Proceed as quickly as possible so that the lining does not cool down thus losing its properties.

6) Fasten the liner tightly.

7) Allow the foot to slip within the liner and the liner shell, keeping the gaiter open. Be careful not to damage the liner in any way.

8) Make sure the heel is well positioned towards the back of the liner.

9) Buckle the external shell with just sufficient adjustment in tension and set the boot aside until completely dry (about 10 minute)"

Not to be stupid, but I don't want to screw it up. Do I heat the inners with the foot bed in it, or not? Then put it in the outer boot - but what's this in step 7 about allowing the foot to slip?

Any help appreciated!

All the best,


Dane said...

I've molded 100s of pairs of ski boots in shops over the years. But screwed my own Baruntses up by trying to do it at home. My suggestion is DON'T! As in DO NOT do this at home.

lyen said...

Hi Dane,

This review is from a few years ago so I was wondering if you'd still recommend this as a great boot for cold weather ice climbing in the Canadian rockies. Everytime i make it out it seems to be -18C. I'm looking at these, the phantom guides and the new batura 2.0 (if i can ever get my hands on a pair). Currently using a pair of nepals.

Thanks for great blog.


Dane said...

Just got back from a chilly week on the Parkway. And I still think the Baruntse is a perfect boot for the Rockies. I used the Baruntse liner the entire week there in my own "custom" doubles.

Unknown said...

Hi Dane,

Great blog, thank your for taking the time to post this information.

I have been doing general mountaineering (spring/fall on Mt. Shasta, European Alps, etc.) with LaSportiva Makalus.
I just moved to Washington state and tried Mt. Hood in late December and got frostbite.
Needless to say, I now question the usability of my existing boots for winter ascents.
I plan to go back to Mt. Hood in April then Mt. Rainier in May (hopefully Mt. Baker in March).
My question is, what boot would your recommend for some winter ascents but predominately fall/spring ascents in Washington and BC?

Will I notice a big difference between the Makalus and the Nepal Evos?
Would the Baruntse be better or is it overkill?
Are the sizing between the three models similar?

Thank you for your time and advise.

Dane said...

Once bitten your feet will be sensitve. Nepal won't be any warmer than the Makalu.

Over kill? Not rerally. Most folks use dbls on Rainier in winter. Hood not so much but it is common enough. For what you are planning I would use dbls myself. Sizing will be similar.

Unknown said...

Hi Dane,

One more question, what about Scarpa Phantom Guide?
Would they be warm enough?

Thank you again for your time and advice.

Dane said...

You need to read the info here on CT as to why we use double boots. The biggest benefit is not the warmth but the warmth and dry boots offered on over night trips.

Go fast enough and never spend a night out and almost any single boot will work most places, even the cold ones. Slow down or get wet boots and you would be screwed....again.

Okke said...

Hi Dane,

Frist of all compliments for your blog and the great amount of useful information.

I would like your personal opinion: I am looking for an allround not too technical boot for peaks up to 7000m. I was thinking of the Baruntse. But I have had some problems with cold feet. Even in double boots. Do you think the Spantik is warmer than The Baruntse? Are there other alternatives except the Olympus Mons or Everest?

Dane said...

Not a lot of options for us in NA. More so in Europe on boots. Spantik, Baruntse and 6000 are al lsimilar in warmth. Not too technical and cold feet? Oly Mons and a Baruntse likely the best you can do.

Unknown said...

Would the 6000 be a better option than Baruntse for the Cascades (all seasons but mostly spring, Adams, hood, rainier, baker,etc)? The Baruntse are very heavy and very high volume:(
Do you still love the 6000?
Do you still fell that the Baruntse doesn't feel heavy?

Dane said...

The 6000 is a better option for weight, equally warm but not as durable as the Baruntse.

SiriusB said...

Hey you gear freaks out there, thanks for the great blog! I just wanted to drop some experiences with the baruntse. Iam totally d'accord with the claim, that its one o the best dbl out there. Fit/price-great!
It fits me also much better than the spantik. The Liner is great and, if helpful to others, a 44/45 liner will fit perfectly in an older( red/black) model of the scarpa phantom 8000 in size 45. Iam usualy wearing a 45 in scarpas and now a 45 in the baruntse. The liner will shrink a bit when molded.
Thanks again guys for the great blog/infos!
BTW Auxvieuxcamper has them for sale at the moment, for unbelivable 245 Euros....

Anonymous said...

Hello all :)
Im an avid hiker transitionning into climbing and very excited about all the gear! Im looking for a warm boot for Nepal and for the Canadian Rockies next year and have been reading as many blogs/reviews as possible. So far..the Baruntse is looking very appealing to me. Ive been reading that heat bolding shrinks the liner much larger should I buy the boot. If Im a 44.5, should I be going up a whole size? Afraid to purchase, heat mold and then they are too small. Thanks

Dane said...

They don't shirk if you mold them correctly. Just buy your normal boot size.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane.

Fine blog. Thanks for putting in the effort to share what you've found out.

Sorry to post on this thread after it has been quiet such a long time, but it seems to be the most relevant one...

You mentioned aftermarket liners (for Baruntse or Spantik) from Intuition and Palau.

I've had a look at the Intuition website ( and they seem to do quite a few. Which one(s) would you think best as a replacement for the Baruntse or Spantik?

While I'm on, having looked at the Palau range, there only seems to be one that's a likely option as a replacement liner for a mountaineering boot:,us,3,14.cfm Is that the one you were referring to?



Dane said...

The Denali is the Intuition I have used and thee Baruntse liner is made by Palua. It is one of the best available. So I just buy the Baruntse line from La Sportiva.

Adam S. said...

Hey thank you for all the great info that you have been posting. I've been a long time follower of all your posts. I am considering a pair of the Baruntse for colder weather climbs. I think I have a similar size foot as you. I typically wear either an 11.5 or 12 in running shoes, depending on the company. Most other shoes I wear a 12. Have you been happy with the 45 in these? Do you think that would fit my size, after heat molding of course? I am unable to try these on due to where I live. I am torn between a 45, and 45.5. My current climbing boots are Scarpa Cumbres, which are a 46. I wear a thicker sock and have a custom insole which probably eats up a tad more space than the stock one. Thanks for your help!

Dane said...

Hi Adam. 45 should work fine. It won't fit till you mold it however.

Dylan Carey said...

Thanks for the blog, it's pretty cool your baruntse discussion is still going after 5 years! I have a baruntse question, one on the other side of everyone else's questions. By the way, to the person who was asking about Baruntse's on Rainier, I used mine on a July climb on Rainier and loved it! Back to the question. What is your opinion on the other end of the temperature spectrum? When is it too hot not to wear Baruntse's? Say I'm climbing a Utah peak in spring, snow approach, snow and possible ice in couliour, and maybe some 5.4 rock climbing. Baruntse appropriate? Or a Forbidden West ridge trip in August, snow approach and glacier, snow coliour to a 1000' 5.6 ridge. Baruntse on approach with rock shoes, or Baruntse overkill all together?

Also, you mentioned somewhere in a post about modifying the Baruntese's and/or shed weight. Have you done this; or have any recommendations for someone who may never take them to a 7000m peak or Denali, but use them on the situations above (ie cold Rainier ascent, winter CO, Summer glacier...etc). Change out the insole or the vibram bottoms....etc? Thanks so much!


Dane said...

What is too warm? I once used a pair of Koflach Ultras to make a quick ascent of the complete N Ridge of Stuart in July :) Used runners in and out on the trail. Plastics doubles up and down. Trying on the rock cruxes but I loved them anyway. Did have some wrinkled feet when I was done. But never had cold feet!

The Baruntse has been used without over boots many times now to summit Denali including at least one, one day ascents of the South Face that I know of.

Light weight Baruntse?

cpaul said...

Hi Dane,
Let me first say that your blog has been a huge help to me. Planning a trip up Aconcagua in January and getting around to buying boots.
Like others have posted I'm scared about heat molding the liners before I know the fit is perfect. How did you go about sizing your Baruntse's?
I've read to try on the outer (without the liner) with the socks you plan on wearing and you should be able to get two finger widths behind your heel when your toes are touching the front? How should the liner fit before heat molding (lengthwise)? The usual one finger width of toe length with your usual socks? Does the heat molding affect the length of the liner?


Dane said...

Hi Chris. Simple really, just use your normal La Sportiva boot size. If not that, use your typical Euro boot sizing. +/- Finger stuff seems like nonsense to me.

Done right the liners will just make the boots fit better....a lot better. For most the "right size" before molding will be a little tight but not too short.

Unknown said...


I was wondering if these would be too hot for weekend ice climbing trips? I am getting into mountaineering and would like to do high altitude climbs eventually, but currently will be ice climbing in NE US the most. Will these be too hot for 0 to 20 F day trips?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Dane,

after verifying on your blog I just got a pair of Baruntse. They seem great.
But, unfortunately, don't fit my Black Diamond Stinger crampons.
On the right side of the picture: (left side of the boot) the toe bail is almost not holding. The crampon can fall off. Thus, I am going to get a new toe bail from Black Diamong, but they have them in three sizes: narrow, regular and wide ( I was wondering if you have any idea which ones fit? On your blog you wrote that Baruntse fit the crampons very well, perhaps you know what size of the bail (or equivalent to BD sizes) are you using?
From the picture I uploaded one could conclude that I need a narrower bail. But people write on the BD webpage, that the narrow version fits perfectly La Sportiva Nepal, which I also own and which fit my Stingers very well. So, it is hard to conclude from that. I asked BD for technical specification already, don't know it yet.

Many thanks in advance,