It has been a few years now since I first seriously started looking for and writing about a ski boot that would climb well. The original TLT5 was a decent climbing boot. But easily bettered as a ski boot. Hence the TLT6. TLT6 is still likely the bench mark for a cross over boot.
PDG and the Scarpa Alien 1.0 will work well enough if it isn't too cold, the climbing not super hard and most importantly, the boot fits you well. Other wise either will eat your feet up pretty quickly in my experience as will the TLT5 or 6.
PDG and a good mate for the boot, a Grivel G20 on easy mixed in Chamonix
This multi year project, with one of the original TLT5 design team involved, may or may not yet be the game changer...only time will tell.
I have climbed easy mixed in my Alien boots, not Alien 1.0, and was satisfied. I used old strap on Grivel mountaineering crampons. Can you still buy the Petzl sidelock crampons? What do you think about the Petzl Spirlock binding system?
The lack of tongue on the PDG (and older Aliens Im guessing) means they will pack with snow while in walk mode if any post holing or deep snow wallowing shenanigans are encountered. Also, when in walk mode, the top buckle can get caught pretty easily on rocks and ice which torques the rivets and make the whole buckle loose. You can press them back to firm but it is an annoyance. I wonder if the new upper buckle on the TLT6 minimizes this?
Other than that, I think the PDG climbs well enough if you have crampons that fit it. My CM M10s do fine. My wife had TLT 6s with Rambos and they seem to fit well but have not been tested yet. Im guessing any crampon with smaller diameter wire stock in the toe bail could be made to work? I have never tried Aliens so dont know if there are different issues there.
I was quite impressed with the climbing performance of the la sportiva spectre + Grivel G20 this past spring in chamonix. Vertical or just off vertical mixed and ice was easily dispatched and I didn't once long for my nepal extremes (which I love). In all I think I climbed about 10 pitches in them so not a ton of experience but certainly enough to form an opinion. As you mention, Dane, fit is really the key. The other key, of course, is a short BSL for the boot size. Lastly, I really liked the way the buckles and walk mode and tongue could all be tweaked to dial in my flexibility just perfectly for the terrain. Stiff for skiing, ultra flexible for touring or mixed, medium flex for ice. Medium flex would usually mean walk mode with buckles buckled but maybe not super tight. This is actually my main trepidation with moving to the Dynafit Mercury this year (Sorry, the la sportiva just couldn't cut it as a ski boot...and was never REALLY pain free). I'm wondering how well I'll be able to allow significant flexibility but still feel solid on my feet. I'm imagining the first two buckles buckled but not tight, top buckle fully open and power strap to taste? I'm using an intuition (scarpa) pro tongue liner. Curious how you have your boot "configured" for climbing. Is there a slightly increased level of stiffness from your normal tour mode?
I've climbed WI3-4 in my first generation DYNA Evos, with success. The huge ankle rotation helps on the approach. The normal locked in mode is ok for front pointing up vertical ice, forcing your heel down to a good angle solid sticks with crampons. The light weight is wonderful. But the sole gets beat up quickly on rock. Also all that carbon cuff stiffness makes French technique near impossible. Mine are sized big enough to have an extra wool insole under the liner. I have never had cold feet.
Thanks Brian. Wasn't impressed with the solution on the lwt dbl approach boot after 2 years plus of R&D. Jury is out on this one for me as well. My thought is they still don't get "it".
So much technology already there and easily available and no one yet hit the right combo and a home run with the likes of the TLT5 (climbing) or TLT6 (skiing) or the Alien 1.0 for skimo.
Looks like arcterix may have the answer
see above comment...
Gotten any hands on play time with the Atomic Backland Carbon?
After owning the TLT5 in a 29, the TLT6 in a 28, and spending 2 hrs at the shop with a TLT6 in 29, I've come to accept the fact that I'll never fit into a TLT boot at all.
Have you looked at the Atomic Backland lineup? TLT5/6 will not work for me due to difficult boot fitting issues but my local shop is optimistic about the shell fit capability of the Atomic boot.
Sorry guys, no clue here other than what I read. TGR, Wild Snow and Blister all have reviews.
A word however. My foray back into the world of professional skiing last couple of years allowed me to experience a few things. Many/most skiers in that crowd want to fit a touring boot too tight or you in too small of shell. I fell for it myself (again and again). The boot shell I could do the Haute Route in with comfort or climb steep ice was a 29. The boot I can get into is a 28, and it skis exceptionally well. BUT it really aint worth a chit to walk or climb in although I can do both without real pain short term.
Some simply can't fit the narrow TLTs. Some simply won't use/try a bigger shell. I'm lucky. I can use the bigger shell (found a liner I like which makes a huge/all the difference and can get enough from the ski with a big boot to keep me happy a majority of the time. And lets be honest, the majority of my vertical gain is lift served....
Wild Snow and the various links there has the info you guys are looking for I suspect.
Any thoughts on Arc'teryx's new touring/climbing boot?
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