Two of the best names in the business make a great pair of boots ;)
I written about so many boots here that I have lost count.
I had so many different pairs of boots over the last 10 years I've lost count.
I've always known I had feet that were difficult to fit. Have since middle school and earlier. Literally as long as I can remember. Long and narrow feet with a really narrow heel. I've seen skinnier feet just not many. Poor bastards, even skinnier feet have REAL problems fitting rock shoes and mountain boots.
I've also know a couple of guys that might as well have a pair of duck's feet. Super wide forefeet so they have to buy shoes a couple of sizes too long just to accommodate the width of their feet. Now there is a problem I really, really wouldn't want. Nothing helpful for the end user there.
As my feet have aged they have needed a wider last. Bunions from years in too tight of rock shoes and too tight of ski boots. The small bunions on my little toe and even worse on my big toe have slowly developed and grown larger almost every year. So no more super tight rock shoes or ski boots but nothing a bit of boot stretching or a wider boot hasn't helped so far.
In the past I have really liked/enjoyed a very few pairs of boots. The first a pair of leather and wood, hand pegged Haderer single boots. Those I picked up 2nd hand. Loved those boots and climbed hard in the mountains with them. They required a Super Gaiter to keep my feet warm enough though. The Haderers were pretty much an over built Galibier Super Guide as a reference. But oh my, did those boots ever fit my feet well. A rigid sole and plenty of support. Perfect!
Next up was my first and only pair of plastics. the Kolflach Ultras. Size 12. Those are still sitting in my gear room, literally rotting away. But I'll likely never get rid of them. First climbing boot I had to use moleskin with on a regular basis. That was only just OK for fit, but they were always warm and climbed exceptionally well. After that it has been a blur going down hill. The first Batura stands out. The Phantom Guide did not. May be I should have given the Phantom Guide a better opportunity to impress me. The Spantik is a great boot. Once I found a pair that wouldn't break. The Baruntse is good. But both have obvious flaws.
So what do I really like? The Phantom Ultra is still in my life. Hard to replace though here in North America. Huge bummer. Sadly the newest Batura...an amazing boot BTW....just doesn't fit my feet well. No one more depressed about that than me. Because it could have been "THE" boot for me. The newest Rebel Ultra is certainly enticing. I'll be writing about it shortly. Really stoked about that! I am hoping the R.U. will ease some of the use on my Phantom Ultras and give them an extended life. Hope so as the Phantom Ultra seems to be discontinued. That was a mistake IMO if that is true. Either way I have high hopes from using the Rebel Ultra this spring on ice and this summer in the alpine.
Boots are like a few other important things in life. "You can never be too rich, too strong or too light."
I think boots should have a similar label. A winter boot can never be too warm, too light or too comfortable as long as it climbs ice well.
Common complaint I hear on the 6000? ......this time by "Mike":
"Does anyone have any idea how significant the ankle support gain would be with using a Baruntse inner boot in a Scarpa Phantom 6000? I bought the Phantom 6000 in spring and used in in Alaska this year on a lot of endurance ice ( Mt. Huntington West ). They where super warm, light and perfect in steep ice and mixed. They turned out to be complete calf killers in the 50 – 70 degrees blue hard ice part."
That stand out comment from end users on the Phantom 6000, again is, " lack of support on endurance ice". That was something I could still work with though. Unpleasant at times but workable. My biggest complaint was the factory inner boot. The factory 6000 inner boot offered me a poor fit. More imprtantly it is really hard to get in and out of with any socks I was using because of the friction between the sock and the lack of inner linner on the foam boot. (Really? What is Scarpa thinking there? Rookie design error imo )
That problem was not easy to solve but easy enough to have a place to start. I tried stuffing my La Sportiva Baruntse inner boots in the 6000 shell. (the liners are made by Palau in France) The first pair were just a hair too big to fit the 6000 shell well. It took Mike's most recent comment and a full year of waiting to finally buy a second pair of inner boots and molding them to fit the 6000. If only I had done it earlier! The Denali Intuition liner stiffened up the Spantik in a similar manner. So I thought it worth looking at a better inner boot again in the 6000. Mind you I have climbed a lot in the Baruntse and the Spantik and I really like both boots. But was always disappointed that La Sportiva wouldn't take advantage of the technology they had on the table, when they could so easily improve either boot. Again, someone is dropping the ball here imo.
Their loss, my gain. Eventually. Eventually, because I kept playing with my Spantiks, Baruntses and the 6000 trying to get the lightest and best fitting double I could come up with...that still climbed as well as I wanted. Did I mention the 6000 is the easiest boot mentioned here to lace? It is. By a big margin if you have to strap them down as tight as I do. Extremely easy in and out with the ability to adjust the lacing as required. The best of the bunch here for ease of lacing with the Baruntse liner installed.
Fit was even easier. The Baruntse liner is heat formable and lots of foam there to work with. Hard not to get a perfect fit if you know what you are doing. Light weight? Nothing as light, as warm or as comfortable that I know of when using the Baruntse liner and the 6000 shell. Nothing comes even remotely close to how well that combo actually climbs. May be the factory Baruntse. But again so many other things are lacking on the Baruntse when you make that comparison.
Size 45 with a proper insole @ 2# 9oz or 1160g
What was left was "endurance ice". Funny, my 2nd, smaller and better fitting inner boot added enough support to the 6000 shell that those worries are gone. Totally gone! Makes the 6000 a front pointing machine, with a loss of some ankle flexibility side to side. That loss I can easily live with after gaining the extra support front to back. Some one besides myself ought to be paying attention here!!!
Seriously this is the first boot I have fallen hard for since my 2nd hand Haderers in the '70s. But the 6000 with a Baruntse inner boot properly fit is much lighter, much warmer and much more comfortable. And *CRIKEY* the Phantom 6000 climbs ice well! Any ice!
Half the equation on ice is the crampon. I noticed the Cyborg/Spantik combo Dave was using last trip had some flex in the crampon while he was climbing. Not uncommon with that set up from what I have seen. Part of the reason is the Spantik's heel/midsole is too soft imo and collapses when the crampon lever is tightened. At least the Baruntse midsole avoided that issue. Part of it is the design flaw in the Cyborg's connecting bar set up. None of that nonsense (bulllllllshiit) on the 6000 midsole or the Petzl crampons.
The obvious crampon flex is not good! Boot is a 46.
Worth noting the dismal crampon sole coverage on that boot/crampon combo as well.
It is a sick joke but needs to be pointed out, again.
I have been using the Dartwin and Dart on my 6000 and the Phantom Ultra. Both boots use the same heel/toe inserts and midsole. That combo of boot and crampon fits extremely well and tightens easily with the addition of a BD heel levers. Same crampons are good on the Ultra (or Phantom Guide) but the Ultra is a fairly soft flexing boot. On the 6000 the combo climbs more like a rigid plastic boot and a heavy rigid crampon. The "rigid" combo for ice is really had to beat even 30 years after it was first introduced. Tough part is getting back to the 30+ year old bench mark of 3.5# per boot/crampon combo in my size 45/12. The 6000/Palau/Dartwin combo is 3.55#. The bonus? Gaiter included for that extra 1/2oz. We are finally ahead of the game, if only barely.
Dbl click the photo an note how flat the crampon is against the boot sole while fully weighted. The less the crampon flexes on the boot sole the better the combo will climb any kind of ice. Not every boot or crampon combo will offer this kind of performance. Add a soft flexing connecting bar to the combo and imagine the performance results. Have your partner check out your set up and take some pictures of the results next time you are out.
The nuances I have noted here in crampon and boot fit are important. I guarantee you more than you might first think. Just like the previous post on front point length. Get it all wrong and it is like trying to climb ice in roller skates. Get it right and you'll think you are a super hero. "ICE MAN" (or WOman :)
Call this one a PSA.
Palau web site
La Sportiva web site
Scarpa web site