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Scarpa Mount Blanc Pro vs Phantom Tech, warmth and durability


Original Post
Charlie Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 45

Sorry to start yet another "will my feet be warm enough in x boot?" thread but here it goes...

I'm looking for a new boot for ice climbing and trying to decide between a single leather boot (the MBP) and a super gaiter boot (the phantom tech). Both fit my feet well. These boots would be mainly used for ice climbing objectives in the northeast such as gully climbs in Huntington ravine, routes at Frankenstein, Cannon, Lake Willoughby, etc. I'm leaning towards the leathers since they're cheaper and more durable but my only concern is that they won't be warm enough. What are most people using for winter ice climbing in these locals? Will phantom tech soles be shredded in a season?

FYI I climbed last winter in Nepal Evos and my feet were generally warm enough though I happened to mainly go climbing on warmish days.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I've used Nepal Evos and Mont Bloncs a lot and I found them to be pretty identical in performance and warmth. My experience is that super gaiter boots typically have more warmth because of the waterproof barrier. The soles on the Phantom Techs will be fine. I demo'd a pair for a couple of days last year and found them to be pretty good. I just picked up some Zamberlan Eiger 4000 Evo and they are really comfortable and seem like they will be warm, time will tell...

AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255

My vote would be for super gator boots.  I used Phantom Techs all of last season & they are the most comfortable climbing boot I've ever worn.  It gets damn cold here in the Northeast: Adirondacks/Whites, so I don't play around with the possibility of cold feet and toes.  Plus, the Phantom Techs dry much faster and are way lighter than most, if not all, leather boots on the market.  I have no sole delimitation or wear issues with my boots after a full season of use.

With November only a week away, most websites will be offering some pretty ridiculous Christmas/Black Friday sales.  I'm sure you can score a pair of Phantom Techs or La Sportiva G5's on sale.  Use Active Junky & get paid to buy your new kicks.

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

Your concerns are well founded. Definitely supergaiters for the Northeast IMO unless you can remain very picky about your climbing days. If you're super stoked on ice climbing and don't have a very flexible job + partners you'll probably end up climbing on days where you should have stayed indoors, Huntington and Cannon in particular. Durability is a question with the new Scarpa soles but really around here you'll mostly be walking on snow or with crampons on so I bet they'll be ok. None of it will matter if you get cold toes on a belay, at that point you'll curse yourself and would be willing to overdraw your bank account for the warmer boots. 

FWIW I don't think I run particularly cold and I've gotten some minor cold injury on Cannon in Batura 2.0's. Granted, I should have stayed home or gone to Frankenstein that day, but no way I would get leather singles as my only boot for the Northeast. 

grubbers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

Go with the Phantom Techs. Unless you're putting in miles on dry ground, the soles should hold up fairly well over time. I've worn my Mont Blanc Pros on some very cold days (-10) and was able to manage, but my feet are much happier on those frigid days now that I have a pair of Phantom Techs.

Don't get rid of the Nepal Evos if you already have a pair. It's always good to have a pair of workhorse boots for when it's not too cold.

Charlie Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 45

Thanks for your input. From this I'm pretty convinced to go with the warmer boots but does anyone want to chime in to the contrary and tell me that their toes have never been cold in leather singles? Or how they used to climb ice in flip flops back in the day and we've all just gone soft?

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Charlie P wrote:

Thanks for your input. From this I'm pretty convinced to go with the warmer boots but does anyone want to chime in to the contrary and tell me that their toes have never been cold in leather singles? Or how they used to climb ice in flip flops back in the day and we've all just gone soft?

Ice climbing is almost always just plain cold. We all do our best to ignore it and be tough, but I've run in place and flapped my arms more than a few times after a 30 min. belay just to get feeling back into my cold extremities. Get the warm boots, the days that your feet are too warm are WAY more outnumbered by the days of cold toes. And yes, we have all gone soft. I'll own it.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,146

I have been a big fan of boots with integral gaitors for decades. I have used them on big peaks to day outings. I have the full line up of the last generation of Scarpa Phantom series of boots. Just keep the zipper lubed up. 

SteveMarshall · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 40

I am also in NH and was looking at phantom techs as well and I was wondering how they'd hold up since they seem like a purpose built technical ice climbing (and thats it) boot rather than something that will hold up to scrambling shitty dirty gullies or hiking off of Mt Lincoln or Washington. But maybe these guys are right in that you are primarily in snow or crampons here in the winter and won't wear em out. I might be convinced now. They were super comfortable...

Jacon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 200
Charlie P wrote:

Thanks for your input. From this I'm pretty convinced to go with the warmer boots but does anyone want to chime in to the contrary and tell me that their toes have never been cold in leather singles? Or how they used to climb ice in flip flops back in the day and we've all just gone soft?

As your climbing partner and devil's advocate in chief, I might as well go on record here and say that my toes have never been cold in leather single boots (Salomon Super Mountain 9s, eleven years and going strong).  And I kinda like those days when you "shouldn't" go climbing... 

Shepido · · CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 50

In general I would recommend almost any supergaiter boot over one without. Looking at the number of boots available with this now - I would say that the market is going more and more that way. 

I find I grab my mountain boots even just for other casual activities (hiking, snowshoeing) etc and I almost never grab my gaiters anymore. 

SteveMarshall · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 40
Jacon wrote:

As your climbing partner and devil's advocate in chief, I might as well go on record here and say that my toes have never been cold in leather single boots (Salomon Super Mountain 9s, eleven years and going strong).  And I kinda like those days when you "shouldn't" go climbing... 

Hey I have a pair of salomon super mountain 9s as well. they are great. I've never had cold toes in NH even standing around cragging in the cold.

but daaaaaaaaamn they do not agree with my feet. if you're looking to buy a backup pair...

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785
Jacon wrote:

As your climbing partner and devil's advocate in chief, I might as well go on record here and say that my toes have never been cold in leather single boots (Salomon Super Mountain 9s, eleven years and going strong).  And I kinda like those days when you "shouldn't" go climbing... 

I also climb in Salomon SM9's and have been warm in them down to +5 F or so. Any colder and I have a pair of lightly insulated supergaiters that go over them. Climb High or CCW brand, I forget. That combo has worked for me on my coldest outings (into the -5F range. Any lower than that and I'm staying home.)  I don't doubt that modern double boots are warmer, but I don't seem to need them.  And for the record, I have a pair of gaiter-equipped Phantom-series boots, albeit a very light pair. No pretense of great warmth there. But I decided their "gaiter" ain't all it's cracked up to be. It doesn't have enough room to tuck my normal warm softshell pants into, it doesn't give adequate protection from deep snow (nb. I climb in real gaiters 95% of the time, for warmth, for protection of the lower pant legs from crampon damage, and to shed snow), and it just doesn't provide the insulation that I get from taller gaiters.  My 2 cents.

Salomon's downside = they are heavy by today's standard; comparable to the Nepals. But they will probably outlast me - so well built.

Jacon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 200

Hey, real gaiters?! There's a novel idea what will: 

a. actually keep snow out of your boots

b. prevent the extra effort required every time you stretch your fancy softshells over your knee

c. prevent damage to your expensive gear (boots, pants, etc.)

Fucking novel! 

- crusty old man 

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Charlie P wrote:

Thanks for your input. From this I'm pretty convinced to go with the warmer boots but does anyone want to chime in to the contrary and tell me that their toes have never been cold in leather singles? Or how they used to climb ice in flip flops back in the day and we've all just gone soft?

 I climb in Rebels until it gets below 0F... but I’m fat so I could be laying naked in the snow and still sweat. 

 Seriously I almost can’t tell the difference between the Phantom Tech and the Rebel on pure ice. If the Techs fit you go for it. 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 471
Bill Kirby wrote:

 I climb in Rebels until it gets below 0F... but I’m fat so I could be laying naked in the snow and still sweat. 

 Seriously I almost can’t tell the difference between the Phantom Tech and the Rebel on pure ice. If the Techs fit you go for it. 

I also climb in rebels, don't really like em if it's below mid teens. My feet get fucking cold in the single digits already, below that it's just asking for a cold injury. I did one whole pitch in them at -5 and got the screaming barfies from my toes. 

I'm clocking in at 15% body fat in the winter and previously had frost nip in my toes many moons ago. I should probably get fatter in winter.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I've always had a problem with getting cold toes and fingers, for as long as I can remember I've compared with my friends and my digits are always a lot colder than others. Because of this I have to wear warm single boots below 20F. I picked up some new super-gaiter boots for this winter with a little extra room in the toes and am getting some quality insoles to see if I can keep things happy down to 0 or so. If not, I'm going to seriously consider getting some La Sportiva G2 SM boots next year. I hear they climb almost like a single boot, but much warmer. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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