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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Zamberlan 3000 Paine Plus GTX single boot.

There is nothing I like more than the newest super light technical gear.  Especially the newest boots.   But there is always a bit of disappointment on my part with every pair I take out of the box.  Like most of us these days I own several pairs of alpine boots.  Lwt Singles and warm doubles at the very least if you can afford them.  And an additional "super gaiter" boot to fill out a full 4 season "do every thing" quiver.

Long gone are the days when we all thought one boot would do everything.  That is not a great position for any of us to be in from my point of view.  Worse yet on any one's pocket book.  For the majority of time I was trying to climb at the  highest standards of the day I didn't have the funds to own more than one decent pair of mountain boots.   So I made do with what I had.  Sound familiar?

Part of that perception today is this blog.  Reading Cold Thistle you might get the impression that you need the best , lightest and most expensive gear to get anything done.  Truth is, that is far far from the truth.   The best alpine and ice climbs year around can still be done in quick times and fine style with rather basic gear.  Boots included.

The iconic all leather, Galiber, Super Guide from the early '70s

Much of my review process internally are comparisons.  I compare via memory at the very least and  side by side when I can, how the newest piece of kit fares to the almost unending line of gear I have seen previous.  In the early '70s when I was first getting into technical ice and rock climbing full leather "mountain boots" were an expensive but mandatory bit of kit.  Much to the surprise of many today, the very best then were, or at least could be, very comfortable.  They weren't that heavy, even by our current standards.  A stiff leather boot required for technical ice, cold weather and steep rock ice was never a pleasure to walk in.   But the most modern technical boots today aren't any better for  walking either.

A size 11 Super Guide (nice example pictured above) weighs in at 2# 15oz per boot.
A Nepal Evos in a 45 (11.5) weigh in at 2# 10.7 oz.

Not a lot of difference in weight.   Although I do think the Nepal is a warmer boot.  I prefer the Nepal on technical ice and the old leather Super Guide on technical rock.

Like I said, "I am fond of side by side comparisons".

And I am quick to make judgements on what I like a particular piece of gear is for.  But I also remember a time when I was lucky enough to have even one of everything.  One axe, one hammer, one pair of boots, one pair of crampons.  And I got a lot more climbing done then than I do now.  Even though now I have the gear and clothing to climb 12 months of the year in comfort.  I did not when we first got started.

So if I was to pick a single pair of boots here is my list of preferred attributes in no particular order:

Light weight but not a deal breaker within reason
full coverage gaiter to keep the boot drier in wet snow
low profile over all for rock and hard mixed
simple lace system
warm enough but not too warm, call it 3 season
stiff enough sole for hard rock and steep ice, I like a stiff boot for my size 12 feet
retail price that is easy to swallow

So how does this long winded story relate to the Zamberlan 3000 Paine?

As a quick comparison.
Cost of the 3000 Paine is $530 compared to $550 for the Zamberlan 4000 and $650 for the La Sportiva Batura 2.0.

Paine 2# 7oz
Eiger 2# 8 oz
Batura  2# 2oz
Phantom Guide  2# 7.5oz

Only the Batura 2.0 is a significant drop in weight.  And I would expect the Eiger 4000 to be the warmest.  The 3000 Paine the least warm of the bunch.  I am drawing some fine lines here, none of them very distinct in actual use.

The thing I first noticed and liked about the 3000 Paine was its super low volume/profile.

When I ordered the Zamberlan boots I did not get a chance to play with them very much in person prior.  I had  remembered only the low profile of the Paine.  When I went to write about the Zamberlan alpine line I had to wonder what I was thinking?  The 4000 Eiger is a pretty nice boot.  Why did I bother to order the "little brother" Paine?   After all it is likely not as warm as the Eiger.   Worse yet the 3000 Paine costs virtually the same as the Eiger in weight and price.  There is no real weight savings as I had hoped for originally. 

Remember these were boots I wanted several years ago.  Long before the Scarpa Rebel Ultra and Batura 2.0 were available.   So now I really had to ask myself if the 3000 Paine was just an outdated boot?  Does it really deserve the time and effort of a C-T review?

Surprisingly the Paine is not an out-dated boot.  And yes I think the boot does deserve an in-depth review.  Surprisingly again the 3000 Paine might actually be a throw back to older boot designs, intentionally or not.    Back to a time when one boot was suppose to do a lot of things and do them all exceptionally well. 

If I were to guess I suspect the 3000 Paine was suppose to be a very specialized boot.  Something one might use in Patagonia.  The kind of place where one might do a lot of technical rock/ice in a lwt mtn boot.   The Tetons and the Cascades come to mind as well.  But  it is the Canadian Rockies and the Alps during late Spring through Summer and into late Fall is where I can most easily imagine using this boot.  Only the boot's warmth is likely to limit its use year around.

Warm enough to suffer through a summer storm.  Stiff enough for any sort of technical ground.  And easy enough on your feet to do a long approach if required.  Although runners might be a better option if it is a really long and moderate approach, more common in North America.

It is really the exceptional fit on my feet that makes this boot appealing to me.  They fit my narrow heel and long moderately wide feet exceptionally well.  A decent toe box allows for warmer feet when things get wet and cold.  Especially if you are pounding them on endurance alpine ice.  Using a liner sock and a combination of one or more medium weight wool socks it feels like coming home in all the good ways.  The sock combo allows me to use even a wet boot with some comfort.  I can always change out to dry socks.  The added cushion and less friction makes even long walks easier on my feet.  It is the same system I used for years in leather boots.  Something I don't do in most of the synthetic boots because of the awkward fit issues.  The 3000 Paine lets me step back in time a bit and use a system that can add some warmth and keep your feet drier in both warm and cold wet weather.  Just another option I like about this boots' last.   Using a sock combo that betters my boot fit was easy to forget but a technique we shouldn't abandon.

The Paine has a very simple lace system that works for me.  And a rather simple over gaiter to keep the basically all fabric boot dry enough.  Experience tells me this kind of boot is never going to be easy to dry once wet.  Just knowing that helps.   Pant gaiter and integral super gaiter will help keep them dry in wet, slushy snow conditions.  But nothing is perfect.  Even with Goretex and the over boot gaiter you will eventually get wet if the conditions are bad/wet enough.

I really like the 3000 Paine's rigid sole for ice and edging in a mountain boot.  Nice thing about the Paine is it is not a BIG mountain boot as I define them.  This boot has a very low profile in comparison to every other model in this style of integral gaiter boot.

Hard to tell that really from a picture.

My impression is only the super light Rebel Ultra is a lower profile technical boot.

These two pictures of the Zamberlan 4000 and 3000 are not to the same scale but an indication of the size/volume difference between the two.  It is more than I first or easily recognized.  

Zamberlan sez:
External gaiter made of Schoeller® elastic fabric – Special Riri® zip and protective cover – GORE-TEX® lining for utmost protection and breathabilty – Vibram® Mulaz sole with EVA wedge and PCS Zamberlan® crampon system.
    • Breathable and elastic built-in gaiter in the upper part and made of elastic Schoeller® Cordura® in the lower part to ensure thermal protection and abrasion resistance.
  • Upper protection - R.R.S. "RUBBER REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM"
    • A rubber reinforcement is applied to the upper for protection using an innovative and exclusive technical method developed by Zamberlan®. It ensures maximum abrasion resistance at high wear areas of the upper as well as enhancing water resistance and helping the boot to keep its shape during extended use.
  • Hardware - INSIDE BOOTEE
    • The inner bootee features a webbing loop lacing system in the lower part to allow easy and quick run of the laces even in tough conditions, while the upper part has self blocking, corrosion-free hooks to ensure laces can be securely tighten.
  • Lining - GORE-TEX®
    • An extremely waterproof and breathable micro porous membrane which can be used to make a lining in outdoor footwear. Its structural characteristics allow moisture from the foot to pass through but keep water out.
    • The Zamberlan thermo footbed is designed to respect the foot anatomy, reduce heel strike and mostly to provide thermal insulation even in low temperatures thanks to the lamination with an alluminium layer.
    • Zamberlan special construction and design method and choice of components to optimize the comfort and the boot breathability, thanks to a special padding foam. Boots crafted accordingly are extremely light weight and extremely more breathable!
  • Insole/shank - ZAMBERLAN DURAFLEX
    • A highly supportive midsole with superb torsional rigidity, it has a polypropylene core stiffened by a fiberglass insert. A non-woven fabric to ensure comfort and thermal insulation tops it, and it lays on a non-woven fabric added with fiberglass, to further enhance the specifications of rigidity and resistance to traction. It is designed for technical mountaineering boots where the high level of stability is essential.
  • Toe and Heel - THERMOPLASTIC
    • The toe puff and heel counter are made from an extruded thermoplastic material which is pre-shaped on special machine. They provide excellent protection for the foot and help maintain a good shape in boot even after extended use.
  • Sole Package - VIBRAM®  + ZAMBERLAN® P.C.S.
    • The Vibram®  outersole offers good grip in a very durable compound, combined with the Zamberlan P.C.S. system with a PU heel insert, an anatomical PU midsole and a microporous wedge, to grant a limited weight, greater stability and precision when climbing.
  • Construction - GTX BOOTEE
    • The GORE-TEX® membrane is thermo-sealed sealed into a bootee that is then fixed to the boot upper. When the boot is lasted, the bootee is fixed to the midsole with a small quantity of glue.
    • The RIRI water-repellent zipper closes the outer shell of the boot and ensures great performance in extreme conditions.
  • Weight (grams): 790 (Half pair size Euro 42 or US 8 Mns - size Euro 39 or US 7 Wms)

Bottom line?

I get a chance to use a number of different boots. 
For my own use I am always looking for the "best" boot.  Hopefully one I am comfortable in nine months of the year on any terrain.  Nothing more important that fit for me.  And every ones feet are different.   As they say, "if the shoe fits, wear it."   It took me a while to understand how I could use the 3000 Paine to best effect.  That surprised me.  I was ready to discard the boot initially because of the weight and cost compared to the 4000 Eiger and other lighter boots. The fact I already have other boots in this style, all of which I originally thought at first glance, simply better boots.  Turns out I was wrong on that assumption.    At the moment I am packing around an extra 3.0oz per foot compared to my most used lwt 3 season boot.   The low profile, most importantly fit and extra support are worth every bit of that extra weight to me.  Not  unhappy to pinch a penny either.

Down sides?  There are two.  Skinny Kevlar laces and the exposed gaiter zipper.

Volume/profile comparisons
Left to right, Batura 2.0, 300o Paine and the Phantom Ultra
The difference is noticable boots in hand

As in the 4000 Eiger review previous it is unusual for me to list retailers.  The only two online retail/brick and mortor stores I am aware of that have an inventory of the Zamberland boots are below. I know the guys there and both helped me sourcing the Zamberland boots. So your are in good hands. Ask for Brad in Bozeman or Eric and Jonathon in Telluride. 

Brad in Bozeman

Eric and Jonathon in Telluride

They are also available directly here:


Unknown said...

Good writeup as always Dane. I appreciate the thoughtful analysis of the application of the boots but still have lingering questions....

I understand Zamberlan boots generally have a narrow heel, however I am wondering what kind of volume does the toe box has?

Also have you gotten a chance to try out Zamberlan more "traditional" leather boots like the Pamir and Expert pro?

Dane said...

I've not used or even tried on any of the traditional leather boots from Zamberlan. What I do have has a nice narrow heel and a wider for-foot than say a Scarpa ( a little) or La Sportiva (more so). Nice big toe box in the Paine as compared to a Rebel Ultra or the Trango Series as examples.

Unknown said...

So many good boot choices out there. Perfect for experienced climbers...... understandably overwhelming for someone trying to start climbing. These boots however sound like they may be the ticket for 75 - 85 % of all my climbing. Good post!

Unknown said...

Millet Davai boots are being advertized as super warm, yet lighter than most super gaiters (as light as the new Baturas). I am considering them as an alternative but haven't seen any reports about them. Any ideas? Where would you put them in the warmth scale compared to the rest? Also they are supposed to climb really well...

Chris said...

Hi Dane,
thanx for the writeup. If you had to choose between the Paine Plus and the Nepal Evo (lets say they both fit nice) for Iceclimbing in not so cold conditions (max -10 °C) which one would you prefer?

Dane said...

Really depends on fit for me. But I like the gaiter on the Paine Plus. Likely a warmer boot because of it and a bit lighter.

Tough choice. Glad I don't have to make it. Both are really, really nice boots. Nepal Cube would make the decision making even harder for me.

Unknown said...

What do you think about Zamberlan Pamir GTX? How it compare to Paine 3000 about warmth and waterproffnes (several days in snow)? And I think how stiff it is for ice climbing?

Dane said...

Not looked at the Pamir personally. I would suspect it to be very similar in performance to the Paine 3000. Paine is a good deal lighter.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane,

do think these shoes are warm enough for winter climbing in the alps? Currently i do have the old Scarpa Phantom lites. Comparison?


Dane said...

Hey Roland, about the same I'd say but take a look at Ali Swenton's blog. He is certainly using that boot in some cold places.

Roland said...

Thanks for your answer. Am I wright if i would say that there is no great difference between the Eiger 4000 and the Paine except warmth?
By the way - great blog. Without it i would have never discovered Zamberlan boots.


Dane said...

Different lasts I suspect. I like my Paines. The Eiger will be warmer and a boxier last IMO.
Basically the same weights.