Pageviews past week

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Sunday, September 30, 2012

La Sportiva Olympus Mons, dbl boots part 4

The last of the blogs on currently easy to acquire (at least in North America) dbl boots.

But if you are here best to take a look at the other 3 contenders as well.  Also worth typing "double boots" or your specific model of interest (like "Spantik" or "Baruntse" or "Scarpa 6000") into the search engine on the blog.  There is more on every boot and some inner boot and fitting tips for all of them.

OK, the details?  First you will want to know that the SHELL of the "Oly Mon" is 90g or 3.17 oz @ 1230g heavier than the  Spantik SHELL @  1230g in my size 45s.  The fit of both boots is similar but not exactly the same.  The Oly Mans is a loose fit in the front of the boot.  It is not a snug technical fit.  But it will still climb anything most will want to use this boot on and much more imo.  If you have wide feet it just might be a good answer for really cold weather boots.  The Spantik on the other hand is a ratehr tight and technical fit on my size 12 and very narrow feet.  I find the Oly Mon actually more comfortable and easier to walk in.  Your foot also sets closer to the ground in the Oly Mons compared to the Spantik which is part of that.  I weighed only the shells here because I will use a Baruntse Palau liner in both boots for the best fit, more durable and easiest to use inner boot.

Even with the very thin lug soles on the Oly Mons sole (the reason you are closer to the ground) I have to wonder what that does for the warmth of the boot?

The lace system on the Oly Man is at least as easy to use than the Spantik.  Which is great for the conditions you would want to use this boot.  No flies there on either boot.  The Oly Mons is a VERY warm boot and has the volume to convince you of that fact.  The Oly Mons is 6.5" around the instep where my Spantik measures 5" in the same place.  Another 1.5" of insulation.   Sole length is virtually the same @ 13.25" on my 45s though so they aren't longer just more volume on the top of the boot to keep your feet insulated and warm.

Hard to visualize but the Oly Mans is likely 25% bigger or more by volume (which is what will keep you warm everything else being equal) over the Spantik.

Hard to believe the Spantik is a "little' boot when compared to the Oly Mons.   But it really is.

In his excellent article on Alaska climbing and gear my Brit friend Jon Griffith suggested, "If you want to climb technical routes then, for me, it's really it's just a choice between the Scarpa 6000 and La Sportiva Spantik. If you are going to be moving a bit slower then you'll really want to look into the big selection of high altitude boots available."

One of the few things Jon and I might disagree on.   No surprise as others might disagree with me  as well.   At least for alpine climbing on routes of moderate difficulty by today's standards like the Cassin and other routes in Alaska where is really is as "cold as it gets" nothing wrong with having the warmest boot you can fine.  If you aren't paying a huge weigh penalty to use them. With the Oly Mons there is little or no weight penalty compared to what you are getting.  I have not played with the others in the "big selection of high altitude boots available".  But by any account the Olympus Mons Evo  (Oly Mon) is one of the high altitude boots Jon is writing about above.

Easiest boot for me to compare the Oly Mon to is the Spantik.  The lacing in the Oly Mon is easier for me than even the Spantik (simple Velcro tab) to and get a great fit.  You don't have to really crank it down all that hard.  Which I do on the Spantik to get as good of fit.  But you can snug the Oly Mons down when required.  The foam and fabric "outer" boot seems to form around the inner easier (either inner) and give very good support for technical climbing for a boot this size.  And I still have good toe room which will equate to extra warm.   The gaiter is a little funky. (and nothing should be "funky" on a $1000 boot for crimney sake)   To actually use mine any where the warmth would be required would also mean a trip to the cobbler to have the gaiter taken in first on the the lower leg in for a more snug and tapered fit.  If for no other reason than to keep the snow out.  Easy, but really?  Why do I NEED to do this on a $1000 boot?

The gaiter's zipper and Velcro closure is good.  The top closure not so good and not adjustable.  Even when I had a couple of more inches in my calves prior to chemo the elastic top was only snug with something akin to a down suit on.  But the the gaiter is slim enough for even a klutz like me to generally keep my crampons out of the gaiter.  The gaiter's  closure needs some work and I'd rather have an even more tapered gaiter or something that I could adjust the gaiter width with.

The gaiter will also had an immense amount of warmth to these boots if you have to break trail or just wallow in the cold Alaskan powder behind your partner.  But no over boot to fuss with and nothing to add.  It is a simple system really.  This boot is also one I would look at using a basket front attachment for crampons.  Much easier to use in really cold conditions and very secure.  Not required but worth thinking about.

Make no mistake the Oly Mon is a very specialized boot.  Perfectly suited for Everest or Denali's Cassin or West Butt in April and May.    Some compromises have been made to up the warmth and keep the weight down.   The sole rubber is made of very soft and a very sticky rubber toe cap.  This boot is made to use on snow and with crampons.  Use them on a gravel trail or a rubble field and you'll quickly wear them out.

But if you need to do some reasonably technical mixed and you know the sticky rubber and good feel will be there if required.  

Good review of what this boot will do on technical ground that mortals can make comparisons to here:

I really like this boot.  I don't like the price tag (*$990 retail) but then Porsches and Cervelos are in a similar market niche.  The best you can get and not for everyone or every use.  For most I think it is a better boot than the other three listed previous for any climb on Denali or above 6000m in the coldest  ranges.  Others will disagree.  I've never used a boot even remotely this warm or this light in 8 trips to the Alaska range.  But I would like to once I get the gaiter sorted out.

I always found you could go pretty light up high if your feet are going to stay warm.

To be honest if I could only afford one pair of dbl boots the price point and my budget would likely  decide for me which boot I would use on Denali the next time.  For the harder technical lines if I were quick I'd take the Spantik or 6000.  For a 3 or 4 or day climb of the Cassin or a casual trip up the West But?  The Oly Mons would be my boot of choice above 10K.   If I were going to Denali and had room on the credit card I'd likely order all four of the boots mentioned in the dbl reviews from Backcountry or Zappos (someone with easy returns) and try them all on and THEN decide.  Once you have made your own choice send the rest back for the credit.

The La Sportiva company line?

This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter.
We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain.
IDEAL TERRIAN: High altitude 8000 meter peaks

WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g
LAST: Olympus Mons
OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand
INNER BOOT: Water repellant breathable upper with polyamide external layer/ Dual-density PE thermal insulating micro-perforated ventilated foam/ Tri-dimensional structured polyester lining combined with pile
GAITER: Breathable Cordura®/ Kevlar anti-perforation fabric/ Riri Storm® zipper (UV resistant & waterproof)
INSOLE: 5mm Carbon Fiber + 2.5mm PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam topped with a thermo-reflective aluminum layer reinforced with perforated hydrophobic non-woven facing
SOLE: Insulating Vibram® PE w/ rubber toe inserts
COLOR: Yellow/Black
SIZES: 39 - 47 (half sizes)

Owner's handbook and  MUST READ about this boot.

(same inner as the Spantik BTW)

Heat Moldable Liner Important Instructions:
La Sportiva recommends that you read the following instructions carefully before proceeding to heat mold your boot. The company does not accept any responsibility for damage caused to third parties due to incorrect use of product. La Sportiva recommends that heat molding is carried our at a specialist shop.
Steps to follow for the correct adaptation of the shoe to your foot:
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)
After Care:
  • Remove the liner after every outing
  • Allow the boot to dry naturally, never by a heat source
  • Avoid over heating the liners. Store in a cool dry place during the summer months
  • The liners can be hand washed in cold water


    Lost Coast River Guide said...

    Dane do you have an opinion about the scarpa phantom 8000? In the same league as the oly mons and millet? Thanks!

    Dane said...

    The newest Scarpa 8000 is a very good boot. Steck was involved in the update. But make sure you are looking at the newest version. The last model was sold off at big discounts. Old model isn't "bad" but for the retail prices of all these boots make sure you know what you are getting.

    Lost Coast River Guide said...

    That's exactly what I'm looking at - the older model, specifically because the price is $250. Brand new, just a few years old. I'm looking to use them on Aconcagua, via the Normal route. As always, you have a very good site - advice we should be paying for. Thanks!

    Roberto said...

    Where can the old model be found at discounted prices ?


    Unknown said...

    would you mind telling me what's your opinion on the intuition Denali liner , if you have tried it? Do you think it will go with Spantik and be warmer?


    Dane said...

    Bond, you are new here. Take a few minutes and read all the dbl boot posts. I have used the Intuition liners. I think the Palau is a better liner for any number of reasons. Frosbite is generally (almost always) an issue with dehydration not the quality or warmth of the of the boot.

    pjsincalab said...

    Dane: Do you have any feel for the comparative fit of the Oly Mons vs the Baruntse? I have a pair of Baruntses now and was contemplating the same size Olympic Mons for Denali. There is no dealer in my region to try them on and ensure a good fit. I have to order them online.

    Dane said...

    I use the same size in all the La Sportiva doubles..Oly Mons included. Nice choice btw :)

    Maurice said...

    Thank you for all the extremely useful advice on your blog.
    To give something back, for anybody, who passes by for informations:

    I ususally wear a UK size 12 (US 13, EU 47 in Scarpa 6000 (old, just orange), Nike Free 5.0 and Lowa Renegades) and have a foot length of 300/305 mm. The Scarpas (6000) would be a little better in EU 47,5 for me (but they have no half sizes).

    I tried on the new Scarpa Phantom 8000 (blue spiral), they fitted very well with thick socks in EU 49.
    I tried on the new Everest Millet Everest Summit GTX (red and yellow), they fitted very well with thick socks in EU 48 2/3 (UK 13).
    The Scarpas 49 were tighter than the Millets 48 2/3. I had no swolen feet, but I felt that there was room for swelling.

    But now I bought a new pair of Millet Everest Summit GTX boots (red and yellow) in EU 49 (UK 13,5) on ebay because they were only 300 GBP (ca. 386$). They fit very well with two medium socks (and a little bit of swolen feet after a long workday).

    Some additional infos (weight):
    Scarpa Phantom 6000 EU 47 (orange only): 2515g (1250g +1265g)

    Millet Everest Summit GTX EU 49 (red and yellow): 3198g (left: 355g + 1242g, right: 353g + 1248g)

    Crampons (CAVE!: Yes, I read "Your Crampon fit?" BUT beware I am an absolute beginner!)
    I have the newest pair of Black Diamond Sabretooth Pro and they fit perfectly with the Scarpa 6000 EU 47. No need for a the long bar extensions (Hole 6 of 7, there are half hole sizes). No air, no wobbling.
    For the Millet in 49 I will need the long bar. Don't have them yet, so no comment on fit.

    Theese are some informations I was looking all over the internet and couldn't really find answers. So hopefully they will help somebody else.

    Greetings from Germany

    PS: Feel free to share in forums.

    Key words: Scarpa Phantom 6000, Scarpa Phatom 8000, Millet Everest Summit GTX, weight, size, sizing, fit, crampons, long bar, extension