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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, April 20, 2012

The La Sportiva Batura 2.0

To my amazement the most often read blog entry on Cold Thistle is the Phantom Guide/Batura boot comparison.  The page reads on that one post more than double the next most popular blog.   The comparison was first posted in April of 2010.  Almost two full years later and the same blog entry still gets the highest number of reads month after month.

First generation Batura on M6

While I have always had great hopes for the "super gaiter" style single boots I had no idea just how popular they obviously have become.   I still think the technology could be bettered with a light weight and low profile double boot.   The boot manufactures and the buying public seem to disagree with my theory.

Ok, so call me cynical.

I wasn't impressed with the Batura 2.0's name.  I mean how different could the "2.0" be from the previous 2 or 3 variations or generations of the Batura?  Or for that matter from the Phantom Guide or one of my favorites the Phantom Ultra?

I understand keeping the name " Batura" attached to this model.  The "2.0" was kinda a joke to me on first impression.  How different could the boot really be?  In this case a lot different.  It isn't the same boot really, or even a variation of the old Batura, if you look closely.  If you are like me, I first coughed and muttered BS under my breath when I first heard the rumors of "a much better boot".  But I have changed my opinion on that, it is in fact a much better boot..

That was easy to figure out once the newest 2.0 showed up on FED EX.

Just pulling the boots from the box was a wake up call.

For any one who has climbed in a double boot...any double boot and also climbed in a super light Fruit boot you have to wonder why the two technologies haven't merged over the last decade with better effect.

My idea of a  mountain boot these days is the weight and technical ability of a fruit boot like the incredible Boreal Ice Mutant.  More realistically a Scarpa Ultra with some additional warmth and lighter yet in weight?  The support on ice and warmth of a Spantik or Baruntse would be a bonus.  And the over all profile of the Trango series.    The Scarpa 6000 comes pretty close to that idea but lacks the support on endurance ice in comparison to the La Sportiva models.  And its volume is getting up there in comparison to the Ultra for instance.  After all it generally takes more volume in a boot to offer more warmth, right?

But  if I make that call on the Phantom 6000 then the Batura comes up lacking on endurance ice as well.  A real fruit boot on similar terrain?  Pity the fool!   But a really light weight boot given the right support is such a pleasure to move in on most terrain.

Like the choices made in steel for ice tools, every decision you make in design and materials limits the over all use of any product.  So you first define the product.

Obviously the Batura is no fruit boot but neither is it a double boot.

La Sportiva NA president, Jonathon Lantz calls is a true "1.5 boot".  Half way between the best single boot and the best double boot for warmth.

The Batura has just been defined for warmth.

For difficult technical cold weather ice, mixed and alpine climbing we all know you need a few things incorporated in the design.  Low profile and small volume over all.  Think fruit boot here to be take every advantage of the terrain.  The flip side for technical ground is an awkward and big in volume, ski boot.  Which I assume we all want to avoid.  Make the sole rigid but no so rigid you can't walk in them.  Make that midsole durable so the boots never change in flex.   It is a climbing boot so you want a flexible ankle with enough support for endurance ice when required but enough flexibility for hard technical ground with and without crampons.

It is quite a wish list when you write it all down.

If this were easy we wouldn't have dozens of pairs of boots from many different manufactures trying to attain the same goal with varying levels of success.

The Batura has been successful as a "1.5".  Nothing new here as the basic design has gotten better every year since 2007 from my personal perspective.  There is so much potential yet in this boot style.   The same basic technology can be easily traced back to the early 1970s and Peter Carmen's Super Gator.  And it has worked well in the field ever since.   I am thrilled La Sportiva and now Gore has continue to evolve this style of boot.

So what exactly is different from the Batura Evo?
To continue the evolution of the Batura,  a second Gore-Tex membrane was added .  Now both the outer gaiter and in the inner boot have a Gore-tex layer for more complete protection.

The plastic zipper has also been scrapped in favour of a simple zipper with a Velcro hook and loop closure on the gaiter.  I only which they had added another inch or two to the gaiter.

Otherwise, construction appears to be the same as last year’s model, and the boot continues to be built on a Nepal last (i.e. if Nepal EVOs fit you, these should have the same fit).  The 2.0s feel seriously light. I mean three-season alpine boot light!

Actual weight on my scale?

1130g one 43 Batura Evo 2011
890g one 43 Batura 2.0 2012

Best thing I can do is make a side by side comparison,  Batura Evo to Batura 2.0.

Height of gaiter - same

materials used - lighter in weight for the 2.0

dbl layer Goretex - new to the 2.0

lower profile boot/toe - new to the 2.0

Left to right, new 2.0, last year's Evo and a Ultra

Below, carbon mid sole - new to the 2.0 on the right....earlier Evo version on the left.  Thinner for better feel but also warmer.

Above, the additional sole rocker and carbon fiber midsole of the 2.0 is shown on the right.
On the left is the previous generation Batura EVO.

foot closer to the rock/ice - by design in the 2.0

zipper and Velcro closer on gaiter - new to the 2.0

lace lock
ankle padding and stiffness
tongue bellows
fit and lacing
lighter in weight

Below, 30mm toe rocker on the Ultra,  38mm toe rocker Batura 2.  Making the Batura 2 easier to walk in.  Much like the rocker profile on the Spanik.

Note the differences in sole thickness with La Sportiva on the left and Scarpa on the right, where you attach the front crampon bail.  The Batura sole profile is a much easier fit to any current crampons

The first thing I noticed is the boot's weight. That you notice right out of the box. In a size 43 the 2.0 is a full 240g lighter per boot than the previous Batura Evo.

240 grams = 8.5 ounces per boot

That is a savings of 17oz per pair in a size 43 over the current boot.. You'll save more weight as the boots get bigger.   Lack of the boot's tongue and the new carbon fiber mid sole will show there.

Interesting that they new Baturas are so light. A good bit of the weight savings was done by using a super thin, honey comb, carbon fiber mid sole. Carbon is being used in the Olympus Mons, the Spantik and the Mega ice, oh and the Stratos AT boot. My take is the Batura has been bumped into a totally difference class of boot by La Sportva simply because of the manufacturing techniques and costs associated with the new Batura 2.0 design and manufacturing effort.
The new mid sole is now lighter, warmer because of the added air spaces in the honey comb and more consistent in flex.  Jonathon Lantz says, "this mid sole is slightly softer in flex but will never get softer,  as the previous 9mm Ibi-Thermo mid sole material did in use".    You couldn't tell that by my samples. The sole is rigid on these!

The thickness of the insulation has changed. For the moment at least Mr. Lantz wasn't offering anything very specific on the insulation. "Lighter and warmer" was the definition :)

No surprise I like a rigid soled boots and a stiff cuff. Generally I like my boots more rigid than most fabric ankle boots are capable of. Good news here. You have to look close to feel it but the actual boot that supports your foot is now made of a slightly stiffer Cordura fabric. Point is the added stiffness in the ankle was intentional and a good addition imo. Make no mistake though, it isn't a fabric version of the Nepal Evo by any means. And I would still be hard pressed to say the 2.0 is any stiffer than a pair of Trango Extreme Evos. Plenty of support but not so much as it limits your technical climbing ability. The Batura 2.0 still incorporates, "The 3D Flex™ ankle hinge allows side to side movement for better footwork while still providing longitudinal lockout when front pointing."

It doesn't appear the stiffer Cordura material will change the fit. But the super streamlined new bellows tongue design, new insulation material and two layers of Goretx will. That is complete coverage by one 3 layer Gortex on the exterior gaiter and another complete sock liner of 2 layer Goretx on the inside. of the boot.

"To stay warm you must stay dry."

If you have followed the previous blog posts on winter clothing you already know staying dry is the key to staying warm in a cold climate. One of the distractions for me in the older Baturas is they held moisture. You had to be very careful on how you manages the sweat from your feet and if out over night how you kept you boot dry internally long term. I have used both Seal Skinz socks and Mitchums antiperspirant to lower the moisture coming from my feet in an effort to keep the insulation in the Baturas working at its best.

Boot soles?  Lighter weight?  One word, traction.
The Vibram Mulaz sole climbs better on technical rock.  But the LaSportiva / Vibram claim the Impact Brake System sole is better for long approaches and big days in the mountains.

I'd rather see an additional drop in weight and the Vibram Mulaz sole used on the new 2.0.

Each boot takes 34 days to put together, most of that glue-drying time, and they continue to be handmade in Italy which makes me feel a bit better about the suggested $650 price tag.

We seldom get a view behind the curtain when it comes to research and development from any European manufacture. (Or the U.S. for that matter)   But in this case I did get a glimpse of the testing that La Sportiva and surprisingly Gore in Italy did on the newest Batura.

Last year to develop the new technology for the 2.0 version, Gore Italy and La Sportiva did some innovative  testing that I have never heard of being done for a mountain boot prototype.  Over several weeks in the Slovenian Alps, Gore scientists and La Sportiva boot makers collected the data from heat and moisture sensors and the personal feedback from 40 pairs of tester's boots and the testers themselves.  That data was down loaded twice a day for weeks.  I am impressed!

So when you ask yourself why La Sportiva uses a Gore product in their boots it should be obvious. Both Gore and La Sportiva  have developed a mutual trust and both are willing to go to the extra effort to  push the technologies available for our benefit.

These are comments from others already using the Batura 2.0:

"the new version with GoreTex Gaiter and GoreTex boot"

"They give a snug fit while letting the toes enough spare place to move which I really like for avoiding
cold feet and kicking hard ice."

"Although if wet, for example if you sweat in them too much while
an approach in warm temperatures they are still hard to dry."

"In general I think the made a good trade of concerning the insulation.
The are thin enough, so that you can wear them in the alps in the summer
time without excessively sweating in them, further more they are warm
enough for ice climbing on cold winter days. But I have to admit that it
can get a bit chilly in them on really cold belay days.

I've had cold feet in them while ice climbing on a day with -17°C."

"The Baturas have indeed changed a lot, the ankle is a lot more forgiving than the old version and I think I could live with them I that respect. The last however has changed unless I’m mistaken. They used to feel like a (slightly) roomier Nepal Evo. Now they feel like a Trango. I get a slight toe crush as I do with my Trango Evo which is not good for a warm boot. The heel has also gone the way of the Trangos, I now get considerable lift which I never got before.  I would also add that we're stiffer
than pretty much any other fabric boot I've seen."

■A six layer fully synthetic boot specifically designed for winter mountaineering.
■Board lasted construction.
- Exceptionally resilient nylon.
- Insulated anti-dragging felt.
- Insulated polyethylene (PE).
- Insulating aluminum layer.
- Elastic Cordura® provides waterproof protection, while allowing ventilation for a comfortable environment.
- Schoeller® - Dynamic™ with water repellent membrane.
- Vibram® rubber rand.
- Elastic nylon with impermeable insulating layer.
- Asymmetrical, waterproof zipper for easy, on the go access.
- Polyamide Thermic layer for extra warmth.
- Durable mesh layer extends wear and ensures moisture is transferred away from the skin.
Insulating Ibi-Thermo 9mm.
- 8-9mm TPU.
- PU Inserts.
- SBR Aircushion.
- 8-9mm TPU.
- PU Inserts.

Previous Evo version with a plastic mid sole and simple gaiter zipper

The newest Batura 2.0 with carbon fiber mid sole and a Velcro closed zipper on the gaiter.

new Batura 2.0 and the new Salewa Pro Gaiter both in a Euro size 42


NotMessner said...

You mentioned that you have used sealskinz socks in Baturas. Have you tried fully waterproof VBL socks, or the RBH Designs socks? Your opinions? “Our waterproof socks and gloves use patented technology, ensuring the ultimate in waterproof and breathable [my emphasis] protection for the feet and hands. Great in the cold and wet, the waterproof technology keeps you warm and dry. Even when it’s warm, sweat is pulled away from the body and leaves through the highly breathable membrane. SealSkinz exceptional technology uses a unique seamless three layer construction – an outer, a waterproof, highly breathable membrane and an inner lining.” “Integral Designs Vapor Barrier Socks: These comfortable and simple waterproof socks are designed as a layer to be worn between inner and outer socks to trap the moisture from sweaty feet. This will ensure that socks and boot liners stay dry, keeping the feet warmer and reduce the possibility of chafing and blisters. VB Socks are made from a soft 70 denier taffeta nylon with .5oz urethane coating and are seam taped. They are also elasticized at ankle level for a snug fit. The tops are designed to extend beyond boot tops to calf level, and are secured with shock cord and a cord lock.” “With VaprThrm®, your sweat cannot get through the sock to jeopardize your insulation or your feet. While the seams are not sealed, these advanced vapor barrier socks will keep most [my emphasis] of the moisture next to your skin and out of your boots. The dry insulation then works efficiently to keep your feet “toasty”.

Dersu said...

What about crampon fit on the new baturas? Is this some kind of preliminary review, 'cause it's a bit short :).

Dane said...

Messner? I have used VBLs. If it is that cold I prefer a good double boot. Sealskinz seem a good alternative.

Dersu, as you suspected it is the first part of a two part series. My actual size in these boots has just now become available. So there will be a follow up and more opinions with more use. But crampon fit, like most of the La Sportivas, was easy with the pair I did have. My own crampons from Petzl, BD and Grivel were easy enough to fit. Much easier than the Phantom Series as an example.

John said...

The rivets on the lace latch on the original EVO dug into my skin. The Phantom fits my foot better. Did the fit or the rivets change on the 2.0?

Dane said...

The 2nd version did on me as well John. The original did not. The 2.0 which is the 3rd version I've seen doesn't on me, thankfully.

Aveman said...

Are they actually 240g lighter per boot? 1130 - 890 = 240. Hate to be nitpicky about your math, but it's quite siginificant. 100g per foot is a lot...

"1130g one 43 Batura Evo 2011
890g one 43 Batura 2.0 2012"

"140 grams = 4.93835467 ounces per boot

That is a savings of 10oz per pair in a size 43 over the current boot.. "

Dane said...

Aveman, I have been able to recheck the boot weights. The 240g savings per boot is correct for a size 43. I have corrected the content to reflex that. Thanks for the catch! And you are right a full pound is a huge difference for a pair of boots.

lisa said...

Any bright ideas about a system to protect the boot on a rubbish approach or egress?

Dane said...

Buy an all leather boot?

These guys (style of boots) are made for snow and ice not unending Canadian limestone scree and talus slopes.

Gear:30 said...

In your picture it looks like the toe welt profile might be a little smaller than the Batura Evo. Is this true or is it the angle of the picture/my eyes? If so, has that and/or the the additional rocker caused any crampon fit problems? I know you mentioned that they fit crampons better than the Phantom Guide/Ultra, but most any boot does.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering how the fit is compared to the Batura EVO? Any difference between the two? Also, any advice on which crampons fit the best? I have a pair of Grivel G14's and a pair of BD Cyborgs.

Dane said...

For me the 2.0 is a better fit around the ankle than the Evo. Most any clip on crampon works well on the La Sportiva boots.

Ian said...

How do you like these compared to the P-Guides?

Dane said...

Both are good boots. I would decide by how they each fit your foot which is different. Performance wise they a so similar as to be called equals. Old Batura and the Phantom guide comparison might be an interesting read for you.

mountsun said...

Hello Dane, I want to buy my first Baturas. But I have no possibility to try them anywhere in my place. My feet are about 268mm. What size of Evos or 2.0 would You recommend?
I have quite narrow feet.
(I had Nepal Evo GTX 42 and they were slightly too small (one half or one size too small.)
- Which Batura model would be better for a narrow feeter EVOS or 2.0?

Dane said...

Either Batura boot should fit a narrow foot well. But I have no idea what size to suggest for you. What ever Nepal fits you should be the same size as your Baturas I would think. Godo luck.

Ryan said...

Ran into major durability issue with the toe bail on mine. Quite disappointed. Talking to La Sportiva now. Expected them to last more than 45 days of Canadian Rockies ice and mixed.

Unknown said...

Dane, first - thank you for the great information and insight. Your analysis of gear and other mountaineering topics is a welcome voice of reason in Internet land of extreme opinions.

I'm trying to outfit myself for a climb of a 5700 m peak in Peru. I'm hoping to solicit your thoughts on two topics related to these boots.

1. If temperatures are supposed to bottom out at 0˚F, is a double boot like the Spantik a must? In general, what temperature range warrants a double vs. a super-gaiter or single?

2. I'm a size 12.5. I got the Spantiks in 46.5, which is supposed to be the right conversion. But they definitely feel tight right now. This is in contrast to the Batura 2.0's that I got in size 46 (smaller) that feel more roomy. Is this expected with a double boot? Are you supposed to size up accordingly, or is the inner going to "give in" through heat molding and/or normal break-in?

Basically, I'm on the fence about these Spantiks vs. the Batura 2.0's, in terms of outfitting myself for the PD+ Peru climb, as well as strategically planning for Shasta, Rainier, Denali and Aconcogua.

Thank you very much for any thoughts you may offer.

-Alexander Borodin

Dane said...

Hi Alexander,

If you can really trust the temps to be no lower than 1-10/15C a Batura (or other lwts) should be pleanty of boot. I used a Rebel Ultra this spring in Cham on a very cold and windy day. No reason to pack more than you need. Boot lasts are different between boots. Batura has more toe room which shoiuld make it a warmer boot as well for most of us. The Spantik doesn't mold a lot. Baruntse molds better and offers a better fit, more room when done right IMO. Denali and Acon I'd want a double however. Eventually you'll need both dbls and good cold weather singles if you want to climb and protect your feet so you can continue to do so.

Unknown said...

Fighting through waist high snow, would you recommend using an extra pair of "real" gaiters in addition to the built-in ones? Or can you stuff your pants into the integrated gaiters?

Dane said...

Hi Simon,
I've done it both ways. Found having the pants over the boots actually warmer. Most modern pants allow for some kind of tie down. Not perfect usually so rig a string to the pant that will go under the boot making for a pretty solid pant gaiter. Down side is pants are easy to shred with crampons. But worth the risk for the extra warmth for me.

Unknown said...

Dane, would the Batura's be too warm for the NW Cascade Volcano's and such during the winter and shoulder seasons (and possibly summer).
Also, adding to the gaiter question above- is there a pace to hook the lace hook on gaiters or do you just cinch them down with the under arch strap? And have you found a descent cord to use for pants that doesn't ball up?

Dane said...

Batura is a good boot for the warmth you require on those hills and the time frames you mention IMO. Can't remember if there is a lace loop on the Batura. But I don't use one any way. Simple bungie cord under my boots hold the pants down and make a worth while gaiter even in the worst conditions. Replace as need. I generally get one good season out of a single piece of cord.

Unknown said...

Hey great review! I am planning to stop renting boots anymore and get my first pair of mountaineering boots.
The La Sportiva cube GTX was my choice at first until I found out that it will not be warm enough for Denali. Thus, either La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX or G2 Sm that is coming soon.

How do you think the La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX would fair on long climb such as Mount Elbrus to Denali?

Dane said...

You'll need a good double boot. Batura won't do it.

Unknown said...

Hi guys, Im considering buying the boots but i have no experience or possibility to try any of the La Sportivas. In one of the articles it was mentioned that guy of size 45, comfortably wears Batura 2.0 size 46 due to a wider feet and space in the boot.
Any feedback please? Do they run small or large for you?

Dane said...

2.0 should be normal sizing. I would not size up. If your feet are that wide I'd find a different boot.

Unknown said...

I'm wearing Salomon size 11. As a person of experience, would you suggest size 46 baturas?

Dane said...

I wear a US 11.5, have narrow feet and use a 45 Batura.