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Arcteryx procline climbing performance? Warmth?


Original Post
Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 338

Hey, if anybody has used the arc'teryx procline ski mountaineering boot and can comment on their climbing performance I'd greatly appreciate it. Lots of people online commenting on their ski performance with disclaimers that the commentators are not serious climbers, which kind of misses the point in my book. I'd like to hear from some people who have actually used this boot for what it's meant to do.

One thing I'm especially curious about things like warmth. I'd like to use them as a quiver of one for winter climbing in Chamonix (e.g. Argentiere north faces) and am specifically wondering how the warmth compares to a double boot like the Scarpa Phantom 6000s.

Also, has anybody had problems with bootfitters trying to work around the climbing specific features like the integrated gaiter or the rubber toe cap?

Thanks

Kevin Mcbride · · Canmore AB · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

I only have a bit of experience with them but they feel like a slightly better koflach boot. They definitely dont climb as nicely as my acrux ar's.

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 279

In walk mode they definitely have better sideways flexibility at the ankle than any other AT boot that I've owned. But but I agree with Kevin that the ankles aren't as flexible as regular mountaineering boots.

They're quite warm, but not as warm as Scarpa Phantom 6000s. The toe box is much slimmer (see photo) so there's not as much room for insulating material. However, you could use them with insulated supergaiters if conditions are very cold. Make sure you get the "support" liner, not the thinner "lite" liner.

Be aware that they have quite a narrow last compared to the Scarpas. Many people have found that they're not wide enough or that that the fit is quite tight. That's fine for downhill skiing but not so good for keeping your toes warm when climbing.

Doug Hutchinson · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 135

A boot fitter put four punches in each of my Proclines and they are holding fine. According to this boot fitter (Evo in Seattle), they have punched many of them and they are realtively easy to work with.

They really aren't warm with the stock liner - about as warm as a lightweight single boot, colder than Phantom Techs. After punching, I upgraded the liner to a mid-volume Intuition liner and like the Proclines a lot more.

As others have said, they climb pretty good but not as well as a real ice boot. But they tour uphill really well, their range of motion is amazing..

Ben Stabley · · Portland, OR · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 162

You might try a vapor barrier. Haley wrote about his recent solo ascent of Begguya that he can get away with a less warm boot by using VB socks. https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/News/2017-6-5/Colin-Haley-s-Begguya-Kit#.WWMAeojysbU

Sorry I can't help with the proclines, though. I couldn't even wear them cause the instep/arch is way too flat for my foot.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 242

They are narrow, but a fitter should be able to get you set up.

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 338

Thanks for the feedback everyone. It's been helpful.

One more question that I've started wondering about, when you fit these things, how much room do you leave for your toes? I feel like I want more room for my toes in ice boots than ski boots, and that if I fit these like ski boots I'll be bashing my toes in when front pointing. Has anybody had any problems like this with a ski boot like fit?

GearGuy 316 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0
Bogdan P wrote:

Thanks for the feedback everyone. It's been helpful.

One more question that I've started wondering about, when you fit these things, how much room do you leave for your toes? I feel like I want more room for my toes in ice boots than ski boots, and that if I fit these like ski boots I'll be bashing my toes in when front pointing. Has anybody had any problems like this with a ski boot like fit?

I would like to know this as well. 

Do those of you who climb, leave room (ie. size up 1/2 size like you would for Hiking or Mountaineering Boots) and sacrifice ski performance (especially with looser heel and ankle hold) for a more comfortable hike and climb experience?

Ben Taggart · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

For extra warmth in AT boots, the 40 below overboots are also an option. My whole team used them on Denali along with front-bail crampons and had no issues with cold or crampons coming off. Boots used were Scarpa F1, Atomic Backland, and Fischer Transalp.

I bought my F1s for Denali a shell size bigger than my other scarpa ski boots (Maestrale), for extra warmth. They ski pretty well in typical ski-mountaineering conditions (hard snow, spring snow, wind-buff) as well as light powder. The only conditions where I really cursed the oversized boots was trying to ski deep heavy powder with too-narrow skis - I could definitely feel my feet shifting a bit when muscling through the heavy mank. 

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5
GearGuy 316 wrote:

I would like to know this as well. 

Do those of you who climb, leave room (ie. size up 1/2 size like you would for Hiking or Mountaineering Boots) and sacrifice ski performance (especially with looser heel and ankle hold) for a more comfortable hike and climb experience?

I've been trying to figure this out too. Nobody near me stocks these boots so I'm going to have to order them. I'm thinking I'll try a half size over my usual mondo ski boot size. Arc's customer service wasn't particularly helpful: 

"You wouldn't want to ice climb with these boots.  They are more designed for short rock or mixed routes and long ski approaches rather than for ice climbing.

Also, when ice climbing, you do not want too much room in the toebox because each time you kick into the ice, your toes would slam to the front of your shoes and this would cause a lot of pain, especially when your toes are cold.  A snug, comfortable fit is the best for ice climbing (and for ski boots).

Regards,

Arc'teryx Service Team"

Dallin Carey · · Missoula · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 157

"You wouldn't want to ice climb with these boots.  They are more designed for short rock or mixed routes and long ski approaches rather than for ice climb

Dang! That is the only reason I want the boot. Anyway, this guy seems to like climbing in them. 

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17w/ms-arcteryx-procline-boots

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5

Yeah that's why I'm looking at them too. I'm not sure that person answering emails has done a lot of climbing. Or maybe I've just been fitting my mountaineering boots incorrectly, but a snug fit like a ski boot seems like a bad idea. 

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 338

@jdejace, the arc'teryx service team clearly has no idea what they're talking about.

I went with the atomic backlands in the end because the arc'teryx shell didn't fit. That said my fitting strategy may be helpful for the arc'teryx too. I shell fit my boots for two fingers behind the heal, got intuition liners in a size smaller (pro tour, medium volume version) and heat molded them with a custom orthotic. This resulted in a very good fit as you might imagine, and it holds my foot in place pretty well, even without tightening the bottom buckle down too much. There is absolutely no slop or play so far as I can tell, but at the same time there's still room in my toebox. So shell fit for two fingers, and getting a pro tour liner that you can heat mold, but in a size smaller than your shell, and with a medium volume fill, may be your ticket. Custom orthotics would probably also help.

I haven't done any ice climbing in them yet, but the wiggle room is similar to my mountain boot fits. Did some snow climbing in them for what it's worth and didn't notice any toe bashing.

Tom Steinbrecher · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Bogdan P wrote:

@jdejace, the arc'teryx service team clearly has no idea what they're talking about.

I went with the atomic backlands in the end because the arc'teryx shell didn't fit. That said my fitting strategy may be helpful for the arc'teryx too. I shell fit my boots for two fingers behind the heal, got intuition liners in a size smaller (pro tour, medium volume version) and heat molded them with a custom orthotic. This resulted in a very good fit as you might imagine, and it holds my foot in place pretty well, even without tightening the bottom buckle down too much. There is absolutely no slop or play so far as I can tell, but at the same time there's still room in my toebox. So shell fit for two fingers, and getting a pro tour liner that you can heat mold, but in a size smaller than your shell, and with a medium volume fill, may be your ticket. Custom orthotics would probably also help.

I haven't done any ice climbing in them yet, but the wiggle room is similar to my mountain boot fits. Did some snow climbing in them for what it's worth and didn't notice any toe bashing.

Hey did you ever do some climbing in these boots? I'm interested in trying these as a pair of ski-mo / climbing boots... don't have the $ for both at the moment so I figure this would be worth trying out.

Rexford Nesakwatch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

I have climbed lots of ice and some mixed in them and they work fine. Due to the cuff design, I find that when the cuff is in walk mode, they are bulkier than other boots and so fit less well inside an internal gaitor (Arc's own Procline FL being the worst). Switching in and out of ski mode is a pain.

I am an Arc'teryx fanboy, was a first season adopter of this boot but I consider it one of the few fails for Arc. I got mine replaced after last year's recall and then quickly broke the new boots at the recall spot. There are many lighter boots with more ROM that also ski equal or better (and walk and climb better). I would check out the Atomic Backland, Sportiva Spitfire, or Fischer Travers to name a few. The Procline might be the best choice for those with very low volume feet, but trail the boots listed in most all other areas. I know the feeling of getting stoked for a product based on marketing and specs but the Procline we're an expensive fail for me. I just ordered a pair of Travers to try this season.

Tom Steinbrecher · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Rexford Nesakwatch wrote: I have climbed lots of ice and some mixed in them and they work fine. Due to the cuff design, I find that when the cuff is in walk mode, they are bulkier than other boots and so fit less well inside an internal gaitor (Arc's own Procline FL being the worst). Switching in and out of ski mode is a pain.

I am an Arc'teryx fanboy, was a first season adopter of this boot but I consider it one of the few fails for Arc. I got mine replaced after last year's recall and then quickly broke the new boots at the recall spot. There are many lighter boots with more ROM that also ski equal or better (and walk and climb better). I would check out the Atomic Backland, Sportiva Spitfire, or Fischer Travers to name a few. The Procline might be the best choice for those with very low volume feet, but trail the boots listed in most all other areas. I know the feeling of getting stoked for a product based on marketing and specs but the Procline we're an expensive fail for me. I just ordered a pair of Travers to try this season.

Good to note, my foot would not be described as low volume so most certainly not the right option for me then. Tried on a pair of my buddy's backlands and they felt like they would fit really well with the right bootwork but I'm not sure.

NorCalNomad · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 120
Tom Steinbrecher wrote:

Good to note, my foot would not be described as low volume so most certainly not the right option for me then. Tried on a pair of my buddy's backlands and they felt like they would fit really well with the right bootwork but I'm not sure.

Yeah if your foot has even a whiff of high volume don't even consider a Procline, especially in the instep. 

Tom Steinbrecher · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
NorCalNomad wrote:

Yeah if your foot has even a whiff of high volume don't even consider a Procline, especially in the instep. 

My heel is relatively narrow but I have bunions on both feet that make me need a wise toebox so it's hell finding the right boot.

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 338
Tom Steinbrecher wrote:

Hey did you ever do some climbing in these boots? I'm interested in trying these as a pair of ski-mo / climbing boots... don't have the $ for both at the moment so I figure this would be worth trying out.

Yes. Climbed up to WI4 (my limit) in the backlands. Champagne Sherbert and Dribbles in Hyalite and Black Lake Ice in Rocky Mountain National Park. Plus some laps on dragons tail couloir, also in the park (1500-2000' snow couloir up to 50 degrees). Nothing full on alpine, but at least as a technical ice boot they worked very well. Wouldn't hesitate to take them on anything bigger up to maybe M4 except for fear of scuffing them up too much, and in fact plan on attempting some of the Argentiere north faces in Chamonix this winter using the backlands. For ice (where there's less wear/tear) I'm indifferent between these and my mountaineering boots though (phantom techs), and choose one or the other based on the approach. That said, either I fit them too large or they've been packed out a bit since I bought them because now there's some slop that affects downhill performance when skiing. The high volume liner might have been a better option than the medium volume liner, not sure. As a climbing boot though they still work great. Also, warmth wise with the intuition liner they're somewhere between my phantom techs and a Spantik, so quite warm.

If you want to get both into skimo and winter climbing this boot can hold you over for a season or two. Wouldn't want to put in very much mileage on rocky approaches, but let's say for instance you want to spend 2 weeks climbing at the Ouray ice park (no approach), this boot would be totally fine. Ditto if you go to hyalite where they have lots of snow and two of the valleys are mainly accessed on skis anyway. Eventually though you're going to want to be able to climb stuff when there isn't too much snow on the ground. Ice climbing either early season before the snowpack has had time to build or in places that are always dry is really nice because you don't have to worry about avy danger as much, and you can get on much bigger routes as a result. For instance, lots of the climbing around Silverton (i.e. most of the backcountry stuff outside the Ouray ice park) is very avalanche threatened and best done early season before the snowpack builds up. Wouldn't be too excited in dry conditions about postholing through scree fields on approach with backlands though. Also a proficient ice climber will eventually be drawn to places like Cody, WY and the Ghost in the Canadian Rockies where it's always dry and a touring boot would get absolutely trashed. Finally, be careful in the SLC region (looks like that's where you're from). There are lots of climbers there and many routes you might happily rappel elsewhere you'd walk off in SLC to avoid rappelling onto other climbers. One popular example that comes to mind is great white icicle. The walk offs on some of these routes would not be the most enjoyable in the backlands (rocky, somewhat precarious, and would benefit from the ankle mobility of a real mountaineering boot). For getting your foot through the door though they're totally adequate as an ice boot in my opinion.

Get some of the soft tongues though (TLT7 style). Without a tongue there's not enough support and with the stock stiff tongue they're not nimble enough for technical ice. Also found the soft tongue made for much smoother touring since you can just leave it in for transitions and it still skis about as well as with the stiff tongue but without affecting uphill mobility. It's win-win. https://skimo.co/atomic-backland-tongues

Finally, be careful with asymmetric cross bars on crampons. The boot is more symmetric than most climbing boots meaning your average crampon (which is asymmetric along it's long axes) may be a bit askew. This problem will be particularly pronounced if you have smaller feet. If you don't adjust them to be super tight it's possible that the front bail won't make good contact across the entire width of the boot. After my first lead with these I looked down at my right foot only to notice that the front bail was only hanging on by the left corner of the toe welt, and that the right side of the bail was just free hanging, ready to pop off. Tightened my crampon down a notch and haven't had an issue since, but worth being aware of, and just keep an eye on it your first few times climbing to avoid any nasty surprises. A fully rigid crampon (e.g. the really aggressive kind used for high end mixed climbing) should mitigate this issue, but probably not the best choice for a do-it-all first crampon purchase.
Tom Steinbrecher · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Bogdan P wrote:

Yes. Climbed up to WI4 (my limit) in the backlands. Champagne Sherbert and Dribbles in Hyalite and Black Lake Ice in Rocky Mountain National Park. Plus some laps on dragons tail couloir, also in the park (1500-2000' snow couloir up to 50 degrees). Nothing full on alpine, but at least as a technical ice boot they worked very well. Wouldn't hesitate to take them on anything bigger up to maybe M4 except for fear of scuffing them up too much, and in fact plan on attempting some of the Argentiere north faces in Chamonix this winter using the backlands. For ice (where there's less wear/tear) I'm indifferent between these and my mountaineering boots though (phantom techs), and choose one or the other based on the approach. That said, either I fit them too large or they've been packed out a bit since I bought them because now there's some slop that affects downhill performance when skiing. The high volume liner might have been a better option than the medium volume liner, not sure. As a climbing boot though they still work great. Also, warmth wise with the intuition liner they're somewhere between my phantom techs and a Spantik, so quite warm.

If you want to get both into skimo and winter climbing this boot can hold you over for a season or two. Wouldn't want to put in very much mileage on rocky approaches, but let's say for instance you want to spend 2 weeks climbing at the Ouray ice park (no approach), this boot would be totally fine. Ditto if you go to hyalite where they have lots of snow and two of the valleys are mainly accessed on skis anyway. Eventually though you're going to want to be able to climb stuff when there isn't too much snow on the ground. Ice climbing either early season before the snowpack has had time to build or in places that are always dry is really nice because you don't have to worry about avy danger as much, and you can get on much bigger routes as a result. For instance, lots of the climbing around Silverton (i.e. most of the backcountry stuff outside the Ouray ice park) is very avalanche threatened and best done early season before the snowpack builds up. Wouldn't be too excited in dry conditions about postholing through scree fields on approach with backlands though. Also a proficient ice climber will eventually be drawn to places like Cody, WY and the Ghost in the Canadian Rockies where it's always dry and a touring boot would get absolutely trashed. Finally, be careful in the SLC region (looks like that's where you're from). There are lots of climbers there and many routes you might happily rappel elsewhere you'd walk off in SLC to avoid rappelling onto other climbers. One popular example that comes to mind is great white icicle. The walk offs on some of these routes would not be the most enjoyable in the backlands (rocky, somewhat precarious, and would benefit from the ankle mobility of a real mountaineering boot). For getting your foot through the door though they're totally adequate as an ice boot in my opinion.

Get some of the soft tongues though (TLT7 style). Without a tongue there's not enough support and with the stock stiff tongue they're not nimble enough for technical ice. Also found the soft tongue made for much smoother touring since you can just leave it in for transitions and it still skis about as well as with the stiff tongue but without affecting uphill mobility. It's win-win. https://skimo.co/atomic-backland-tongues

Finally, be careful with asymmetric cross bars on crampons. The boot is more symmetric than most climbing boots meaning your average crampon (which is asymmetric along it's long axes) may be a bit askew. This problem will be particularly pronounced if you have smaller feet. If you don't adjust them to be super tight it's possible that the front bail won't make good contact across the entire width of the boot. After my first lead with these I looked down at my right foot only to notice that the front bail was only hanging on by the left corner of the toe welt, and that the right side of the bail was just free hanging, ready to pop off. Tightened my crampon down a notch and haven't had an issue since, but worth being aware of, and just keep an eye on it your first few times climbing to avoid any nasty surprises. A fully rigid crampon (e.g. the really aggressive kind used for high end mixed climbing) should mitigate this issue, but probably not the best choice for a do-it-all first crampon purchase.

Thanks a ton for the advice!

Really helpful! Tried on a pair of my buddy's backlands time and might be able to grab them off him, if that works out could probably afford both this and a proper mountain boot. Want a skimo-esque boot anyways
Scott Kilts · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5
Bogdan P wrote:

A bunch of good info

Thanks! Quality post.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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