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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, November 26, 2010

La Sportiva Trango Prime, Trango Extreme Evo GTX and the Nepal Evo

This blog entry is a cut and paste from posts I made on a fall of '08 thread at about all three boots in the title. I have edited to update any new info I have acquired since '08.

The entire post can be seen here:

So what is the real difference between the Prime and the Extreme?

The Prime is suppose to be a bit warmer with more insulation and a higher cuff should offer a bit more support. Although Sportiva writes it up like the Prime will climb hard mixed better. Which makes no sense since as the higher cuff should offer more support and less flex ability.

The reality is the cuff on both boots are the same height with the Extreme offering marginally more support. But boy is that cutting things close to even suggest they are any different. They are but it isn't much. I doubt you'd notice the difference on the smaller sizes. ( I wear a 45)

If the Prime is a warmer boot and a bit lighter than the Extreme and dry faster than the Batura it will be a big hit. (It is lighter but not warmer and dries just as slow if not slower because of the attached gaiter)

Soft uppers and rigid soles? The "Ice" and "Batura" were/are classic examples. Cool designs, rigid soles and unless you get a perfect fit no way to really lace in your heel or support your ankle. Makes a rigid boot with a extremely soft ankle and generally some heel lift.

The Trango and Trango Extreme avoided the lacing problem but still offer little support in the ankle for me. I'm hoping the Prime will solve that problem.
(it did not...and is a very soft boot in the ankle)

Prime doesn't have the dbl rocker sole or sticky rubber of the Trango Extreme or earlier Ice Evo....which is too bad. But the Prime is suppose to have a liner (Not Goretex or OutDry..likely Event? Does any one actually know?), better/more insulation and more tongue padding ( the Extreme Evo has the best padded tongue) and a more user friendly lacing system.

The Prime really is an updated Trango Ice Evo with simpler lacing system, a little more warmth and a little less weight. I would hope they are good boots for most everything but really cold weather. (they weren't)

The Nepal Evo is not a boot to easily compare to the Trango line. Nepal is much, much more boot with just a little more weight. Stiffer, thicker mid sole for one thing. (at least for a 45 ) No matter what the boot is, short of plastic, the bigger/longer the boot the more flex in the sole. Starts making a difference in 11s and up I think.

How stiff a boot is in the ankle is a totally different story from stiffness in the sole. No question the Nepal wins "stiff ankle" hands down. They are a pretty stiff boot (ankle, flex and sole) by almost any standard. We are comparing a leather upper in the Nepal to a fabric upper on the Trango series. Also when you talk "Trango Extreme"...there have been 5 different versions of the "extreme" Trango not including the Extreme Ice series. The early ones were all leather, the later ones, all fabric, including 3 versions in yellow. To date the Silver Extreme Evo Gortex LWT is the stiffest ankle imo and still all fabric so not that stiff when comparing to a leather boot like the Nepals. The newest yellow Trango, Prime, is much softer than even the other fabric boots in the ankle with a totally different and less rigid sole imo and a big rocker built in.

I'll add the Nepal Evo weight in a 45 when I get time. But I left it out of the discussion because it really isn't a super LWT mtn boot like the Trango series.

Nepal Evo is a great boot and I love mine but it is more along the lines and durability of a traditional leather technical mtn boot. Which as a mtn boot for any condition or terrain they are truly great boot if they fit you

FWIW the Batura is a all fabric boot, with a rigid sole, and again, with a very soft ankle. No where near the precise fit of the Nepal Top although adding a Nepal Evo inner tongue helps a bit for fit on mine.

Nepal Evo in a size 45 (one boot) is 2lb 10.5oz. So just bit more than the others and closer to the Batura than I would have thought. The difference between the lightest to heaviest Sportive "technical sport boots" in a PAIR of 45s is
12.8oz. or 6.4 oz per boot.

Depending on your size foot, the heavier Nepals may be well worth the extra 12.8 oz on hard ice. They are for me. For other climbs I use the Batura for extra warmth and long walks and the Trango Extreme GTX for longer walks in milder conditions.

A good gaiter on the Nepal Evo will make it almost as warm as the Batura imo. And the Nepal Evo seems to dry out easier.

The older Trango series have a super sticky and not very durable rubber sole. I like how sticky it it however and think it worth the trade. No fabric boot is very durable.

The Prime has the same outer sole at the Batura which is less sticky and more durable than the Trango Ex Evo.


I have yet to find any of the fabric boots "comfortable" in comparison to the Nepal Evo..which is mostly a leather boot.

I had both the Trango Extreme and the Prime and returned the Prime. One of the reasons was I liked the sticky sole which the Prime does not have. And it fit differently, wider than the Trango Extreme. Wider than my Nepals in the toe and heel. Also the Prime is harder to get in and out of by most everyone's accounts. I have a pair of the Ice that were converted to laces eyelets and they have the same problem. Easy to rip the gaiter out of the boot when getting them on in the morning. Not worth the hassle imo. Wish it were a different answer.

Some type of liner in the Prime but no Goretex...which is THE reason most have decided against it imo. Would help if La Sportiva would actually tell us what liner they did use. If you have used any of the other Trango is obvious they would be a much better boot if they were water proof. Goretex seemed to be the best of the liners for waterproofness, warmth and durability. Looks like the new Out Dry is am improvement on the Goretex.

20 hrs of hard use should be easy enough to get from any Sportiva I've had no complains. But Any run down 4000' of Canadian scree is going to show up on a fabric boot I suspect.

Bottom line: Nov. 25 2010.

The Trango Extreme GTX Evo is an extremely light, warm and with the GTX liner least water resistant, moderately cold weather climbing boot. And I love the sticky soles. Only big down side is they are hard to dry impossible. But I climb in this boot a lot. More than any other I own. It is cheap in comparison to some others and most importantly it fits me well. I'll buy a 2nd pair of these and likely wear them out as well.

The Nepal Evo is imo the best all around mtn boot on the market. (the same could be said of its clone the Scarpa Mt Blanc GTX) It will do everything and do so in some pretty cold temps. Drys faster than the Trango Extreme. If I had to have just one pair of boots to climb in..this would be the boot. Best fit for me in the entire La Sportiva line. It also offers more support on the sole and in the cuff than any fabric boot. This is the boot La Sportive should up grade with OutDry, a lwt sticky Vibram sole and put a integral gaiter on.


Bruno Schull said...

Hi Dane,

Apart from the marketing about each boot style, I was wondering if you could clarify what you think are the best uses for the following kinds of boots:

1) Very stiff sole and very stiff uppers, for example, double plastic boots, like a Scarpa Inverno/Vega, perhaps with replacement liners to keep the weight down.

2) Very stiff sole and flexible uppers, like the Trango Prime or Extreme, Scarpa Freney, and so on.

3) Moderately stiff sole and uppers, like the Nepal Evo.

I would me tempted to say 1) for expedition use, 2) for mixed, and 3) for all around, but I am curious about your thoughts.

This, of course, leaves out boots that sort of defy this classification, like the Spatniks, or the new boots with integrated gaitors.

All the best,


pcooke said...

So Dane,
With all the research in it seems, now we all need the full rundown of the Scarpa line vs the Sportiva Line!
(Nepal, Batura, Trango vs. Guide, Ultra, Jorasses?)

Dane said...

Oh this is gonna be fun...some what in jest.

#1..plastics..ditch them :)
Newer boots like the Spantik and the Baruntse since few other manufactures are playing here. Long endurance, alpine ice.

#2..hard mixed/technical ice and or long walks and short alpine ice climbs.

#3..any climb in the world.

Big overlap these days on #2 and #3 I think.

I am surprised just how easily compared say the Scarpa Ultra is with the Nepal Evo...both in the #3catagory for me and totally differnent boots for flex and stiffness.

Dane said...

"With all the research in it seems, now we all need the full rundown of the Scarpa line vs the Sportiva Line! (Nepal, Batura, Trango vs. Guide, Ultra, Jorasses?)

Hi Patrick,
Here is my sumation :) Don't pay a lot of attention to me. Figure out the kind of boot you think you need then go find the pair in that style that fits you the best.


The only reason I have tested and owned so many boots on this blog is I am still looking for the perfect boot for my own climbing. I use to own just one pair of mtn boots at a time. If they fit I wore them out and got a new pair. If they didn't fit I sold them asap. Climbing has changed and now we have a lot of different styles of boots. I never thought I would use the soft boots I do now on technical water ice. But I have found I actually enjoy it.

Do I want a soft boot on hard Alaskian alpine ice or on the big ice faces in the alps...nope.

Only boots that are unique that I have tried are the Scarpa Ultra and 6000 and La Sportiva Trango Extreme and Spantik. All four unique boots imo. But I suspect another manufacture may have something similar I have not yet tired.

I suspect every other boot in the world has duplicatred in one form or another. Find what fits you first..then let us know what you think here :)

Ian said...

Dane, have you tried the Trango Alp GTX? How stiff is it? Is it just a Trango Evo S with traditional laces and a little leather?

Dane said...

"just a Trango Evo S with traditional laces and a little leather"

Yes, exactly. Both make a good hiking boot.

Unknown said...

Hey Dane,

I really enioy the blog man! my question is...
Do you wear a 45 or a 45.5 in the Nepal Evo GTX? I wear a 11.5 in new balance runners, 11.5 tight fit in nike's and a 29 in mondo sizing. what would you recommend? kinda hard to find a place that stocks these puppies...

Dane said...

No guarantee but try the 45s. Zappos does easy returns as does Back Country. I'd order both sizes and send the one that does not fit back.

Siggy said...

Hi Dane,

Superbly interesting blog you have.
Down here in Australia the alpine community is smaller than a grain of sand, and you have been such an invaluable resource for me and a few others down here! :)

I just had a question about boots.
Im looking for something lightweight that can be used on long approaches and ice/mixed conditions in the summer climbing season in NZ. The Trango Extreme is a perfect candidate...although....I have heard that it is very narrow.
I have flipper feet wide enough to shovel coal.
Would you know of any similar type boots with a wider fit?

Thanks so much mate,
Have an awesome day!


Dane said...

Hi Siggy, Thanks and hope ithe Blog does do some good. So I appreciate you saying so. Scarpa (Mt Blanc?) is a good choice if you need a little more room but some of the other brands are even wider. Boreal and Asolo are good examples I think. But I'd get a second or third opinion as I know gear is hard to come by where you are at. I have really narrow feet so I can't give you much good advice really on that one. best, Dane

Ky Aizawa said...

Hi Dane,

I own a set of the Trango Extreme Evo GTX and am finding durability a major issue - pretty much gone through the toe (all the way to the toebail plastic) and heel (down to the foam), and is no longer waterproof by any stretch of the imagination, after only mild use over two winter seasons and some additional scrambling.

You mention you were (when you wrote the article) on your second pair, so I was wondering how long they lasted for you?? Is this just a design fault with the boot, because if so, I'm not sure I'll get another pair (despite how awesome they are, how comfy and how well they fit)!!

Many thanks,


Dane said...

Mild use? I think we may have a different definition of "mild use" :) I would expect a pair to last two seasons of hard use.

Reto Baumann said...

I wonder if La Sportiva is ever going to re-launch an updated version of Nepal Evo GTX? It would rock when updated with the "right" features...

Unknown said...

Hi Dane! Thank you for your useful reviews. I am planning to go trek on Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) this August by the "via normale italiana". The shop near my home has a pair of Trango extreme and a pair of Nepal evo Cube, in your opinion should I get the first or the second one? Are the Cube warmer than the extreme? Or you think the extreme are warmer enough for that altitude?

Dane said...

Hi Marco. In August the Trango should be plenty warm enough. Both are nice boots but I would use the Trango in August if it fits well.