What I Look For in a Boot
As an avid mountaineer and professional guide, I spend around 100 days a year wearing mountaineering boots, meaning I’ve tried many different models and have become picky. A good mountaineering boot is one of the most important pieces of gear for any cold weather climber. Bad boots mean your mobility is compromised, which in the mountains can mean anything from an uncomfortable day or in extreme situations … death! Boots must be warm, comfortable, supportive, durable, waterproof, lightweight and of course, they must climb well. This is a tall order.
In 20+ years of stomping around the hills, I’ve come to trust SCARPA mountaineering boots exclusively. From steep technical ice and mixed climbing in Colorado to arctic high altitude climbing in Alaska and Asia, I’ve found SCARPA boots to be the most reliable. I admit that there are other boots out there that are plenty warm, comfortable and climb well, but the difference comes down to durability. Other boots tend to fall apart in the field and wear out after only one season. My SCARPA’s are hard to kill … they come back season after season, ready for more abuse.
The SCARPA Charmoz is my go-to boot for late spring and summer mountain routes in Colorado. They are nimble enough for rock scrambling but stiff and warm enough for steep hard snow slopes.
SCARPA’s Rebel Pro is a mixed-climbing secret weapon, ideal for warm winter days in Ouray or fall days in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The boot I spend the most time in without a doubt is the SCARPA Phantom Tech. This pair is my everyday workhorse, plenty warm enough for standing around belaying on a cold winter day in Colorado and still light and sensitive enough to climb hard ice and mixed pitches. They are also completely waterproof and the most bomber boot I’ve ever worn.
For winter overnight trips or for Alaskan expeditions, the SCARPA Phantom 6000 is the warmer, double boot version of the Phantom Tech. Mine have had no issues staying warm and dry on Denali expeditions. The Phantom 6000 is also a great technical performer, climbing technical ice and mixed pitches with 90% of the performance of the Phantom Tech.
Written by Buster Jesik, AMGA Certified Rock and Alpine Guide
Follow Buster on Instagram using handle @bustercruz and on Twitter with @BusterClimbs