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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

La Sportiva Baruntse revisted

With the volcano in Iceland nixing my plans to climb in Chamonix earlier this spring I had some time and money on my hands and no place I really wanted to go. That is a dangerous combination!

Daniel Harro's email last month and pictures of the work done on his Spantiks got me thinking.

The Baruntse gives my foot a great fit and offers a full length, rigid, nylon midsole so it front points very well. I like the support, lacing and cuff better for my foot than the Spantik. The over all warmth of both boots I suspect is very comparable with similar upper design and materials.

The obvious advantages of the Spantik is it has a foam midsole for extra warmth on top of a carbon fiber midsole used to cut weight and add rigidity. The other thing Sportiva used in the Spantik design is a very thin Vibram sole to also lower the weight.

After seeing what cobbler Dave Page of Seattle did to Daniel's Spantiks by adding a Nepal midsole and big block Vibram sole it got me thinking. Wrong direction for Daniel's Spantik imo by adding the weight of a Nepal sole/mid sole and duplicating the Baruntse combination, but how about going the other way and dropping a few ounces?

I took my Baruntses down to Dave Page's one afternoon and described what I wanted. Dave pulled out a couple of different Vibram sole options. I had brought along a accurate electronic scale to see if the weights "added up". And sure enough, it looked like a resole with the "proper" La Sportiva Vibram would drop 4oz per boot and add more insulation under foot while doing it. ( I didn't think the added insulation was needed but..if it goes with a weight drop why not?)

I ended up with a Baruntse that weights in at 2# 15.5oz compared to the factory Spantik at 3#.05oz. A total of 1.5 oz difference. Spantik has a 26mm mid sole at the ball of the foot and my lwt Baruntse has a 25mm midsole thickness in the same place.

Original La Sportiva factory, size 45, weights:

Spantik 3# .o5oz
Baruntse 3# 2.50oz

semi custom boot weights:

Spantik with a Baruntse liner 2# 13.5oz
Baruntse w/inner and lwt sole 2# 15.5oz

I ended up dropping only 3oz per boot but I did gain some sole insulation as well. The new lug pattern has a sold toe areas and will be better for pure rock climbing. Certainly more cushion in the boot now, both in the sole sole and heel. Down side? The Vibram soles are thinner so they won't last as long on hard surfaces. Same durability issue on a Spantik as well. But the Baruntse has more surface area being used on the newer sole.


Factory Baruntse and a Trangpo Extreme GTX in size 45

I like climbing technical ground in the Baruntse better than in the Spantik so it is a win/win for me. And even with the resole I am still almost $200 under the Spantik retail. Would I do it again? Cost was $78.00 for the resole. No real reason to do it other than curiosity on my part to see what kind of weight loss I would come up with. But if I wanted to take the Baruntse on a cold, technical Denali route, I would do it again in a heart beat. No question it is less weight and a warmer boot now. Warm enough to leave the over boots at home above 17K.....may be :)

This is an modification that would cost La Sportiva nothing in production and it would offer us one more option for dbl boots.

Factory sole..

Baruntse with a lwt, La Sportiva factory resole added.


Dane said...

Clyde sez:
"Tried to post a comment but seems to dissappear.

You'd likely see a more significant weight savings by switching to an Intuition liner. The Palau is okay but you don't really need the inner lacing. I agree the Baruntse is a better boot than the Spantik. That silly ass lacing system is almost as dumb as Petzl Sidelock crampons. But I think the Scarpa Phantom 6000 will be my new cold weather boots."

Hi Clyde,

Hilarious observation on the side lock....and I'd have to agree :)

Comments are on, but they don't appear right away. They get dumped into the blog and I have to approve them before publishing. Please take the time to add your comments. It is great feed back for everyone..

Intuition liner is heavier @ 156g (5.4oz)than the Palua @ 142g (5.1oz). I find the little lacing that is on the Baruntse inner adds to a better fit for me.

My issue on the Intuition is the over lapping cuff (dbl layer) makes them too bulky to lace the upper shell properly and then too stiff (without a proper tongue to flex) in the ankle flex for most climbing. Makes them good on 60 degree alpine concrete though. I have used them in my Spantiks and they make the Spantik a great ski boot but then less than what they should be as a climbing boot. They work, but they suck. Might be a good liner for the older plastics but haven't bother to try them there.

Easy comparison for me is the Intuition linner is more like a custom fit foam cast, the Palua liners more line a custom shoe fit.

Up side is the Intuition inner's foam is slightly thicker than the factory Baruntse Palua inner's foam.

Baruntse linner with the Spantik outer is the lightest setup I have that actually fits my foot well. Although I agree the new Scarpa 6000 should be better than either La Sportiva offering.

If the Phantom Guide is any indication the 6000 won't be any lighter than either factory La Sportibva Dbl but both the fit and lacing system should be better. Having a reliable outer gaiter is an improvement for where we generally use these boots.

Daniel Harro said...

What kind of Lasportiva sole did you put on your Barnutses? And would they fit on the spantik boot? I went with the Nepal sole on my spantik boot only because I thought that it was the only sole that fit. I have has zero issuses with the nepal sole and they seem to be working out great!

Daniel Harro

Dane said...

Hi Daniel,

The sole I used is the sole off the Trango S Evo GTX. Don't know the specific name but Dave will remember. But ask Dave what else he has available. The Trango Extreme sole is what I wanted but they didn't have anything in stock big enough for my 45s.

You'll save a bit of weight but more importantly get back some of the insulation in the sole of your Spantiks. Just caution Dave to not grind too much off the front or back crampon toe clip points.

Dane said...

FWIW I just noticed this morning that the sole I used for the retread on the Baruntse is also the same sole that Scarpa chose to use on the super light Phantom 6000.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane,

I've been reading your blog about the Baruntse in an attempt to find the perfect winter boot. Usually I'm a Scarpa guy but the 6000's are not available in Canada, I can only find the Guides and I think it's time for a double boot for myself.

I'm having a problem with identical pressure points on the outside of my feet. If I insert my foot into the boot without the liner it fits perfectly, no problems. But when my I put the liner on and then lace it up, after a few minutes I notice the pain. No amount of lacing changes seem to help this. I have not molded the liner yet at all - does that seem like something that might fix my problem?


Dane said...

Best thing you can do is have a professional boot fitter mold your liners correctly to you feet. I will make a hugh difference and problem solved.

Anonymous said...

What other Vibram soles did you consider for this mod? Certainly the Lavaredo soles you originally wanted (Trango Alp/Extreme/Prime boot models) are lighter than the La Sportiva/Vibram IBS (on Nepal Extreme Evos). Did you include the weight of the cushioning mid-sole layers in your decision?

The sole on the Trango S Evo and Scarpa 6000s is the Mulaz.

You have recently stated the Mulaz soles "are likely the best available for rock climbing in boots". In your opinion, are they better than the Lavaredo soles in terms of stickiness and weight? (They appear to have a similar lug pattern, but the Mulaz appears to be thinner between the lugs.)

Do you have any experience with the Teton soles?