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Best AT Boot For Climbing and Skiing


Original Post
Kirtis Courkamp · · Golden · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 378

I was wondering what peoples opinion on the current within the last 2 years or so boot was for ski mountaineering. Esp more on the mountaineering side im in the market for some new boots and want to be able to climb ice and easy mixed in them. I've already lead pretty hard ice 4+ in my old BD touring boots from 2011 but im looking to upgrade to something a little lighter and better for skiing and climbing. Is everyone using the Dynafit TLT6 or have people used Salomon mtn lab boot or the new atomic backland looks very sweet too or the Scarpa ones to so many choices. Love to hear some opinions on the best ski boot for climbing or your experience and what you currently use. Most the climbing I do is steep snow and ice sometimes a mixed bit or 2 but I also hate lugging my mtn boots so I've been experimenting with climbing in ski boots and its not that terrible, 

Michael Shelver · · Eugene, OR · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Whatever fits your foot best. Most of the newer boots climb pretty darn well. The TLT6 is a great option; the Backland and MTN lab seem promising as well. I'm currently on a pair of TLT7s and can barely tell the difference between my mountaineering boots and them even when getting pretty steep. A friend of mine has no problem leading in a pair of PDGs. Only issue is if you go for a tight "performance" fit on the ski boot you may get some toe bang while front pointing/ice climbing. Pretty much any climb with an approach more than a walk, I'll opt for the AT boots. Most of the lighter boots tend to have a narrow last so I definitely suggest trying a bunch on for fit. 

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

I've climbed fairly steep terrain (up to WI3 and M3/4, roughly) in my Arc'teryx Proclines and Scarpa Maestrales.  One of my partners uses the MTN Lab on the same terrain.  I also know of people doing well with the TLT family of boots.  I think any of the other modern AT boots ought to be fine if they fit your feet well.

I have found AT boots to work fairly well on this type of a climb, but not as well as mountaineering boots when it gets really steep and sustained.  I get a little bit of heel lift, because you don't have a snug fit around your upper ankle, which is how a mountaineering boot locks your heel down into place.  I have come to the conclusion that I can climb about 1 grade down from my leading limit in ski boots, but prefer my mountain boots for harder climbing (e.g. I lead WI4 in mountain boots so I prefer to keep it to WI3 and below in my ski boots).

brian burke · · santa monica, ca · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 120

as above fit is the most important, but i really like the scarpa alien RS for climbing.  i find the range of motion and weight to be exceptional, and the integrated gaiter makes it a step up from a tru ski mountaineering race boot for snow climbing.  i used a tlt-6 for a couple of season and found this to be an upgrade in all respects. haven't done anything too steep but for moderate snow and AI2 i've found them to be delightful.

also, it has a toe welt unlike a tlt7.  

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 279
Kirtis Courkamp wrote:I'm in the market for some new boots and want to be able to climb ice and easy mixed in them... Most the climbing I do is steep snow and ice sometimes a mixed bit or 2 

The Arcyterx Proclines do quite well on easy mixed and snow climbs because in walk mode they've got more sideways ankle flex than most other AT boots. One downside is that the last is quite narrow – to get them to fit I had to swap out the stock liner for a thinner Paulau skimo race liner. Now they're more comfortable, but not as warm. Also they're not particularly stiff in ski mode, even if you get the expensive carbon cuffs. I prefer my TLT6s for steep ski descents.

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

I've got a buddy who's climbing M6+ and WI5 in Fischer Travers Carbons. They are definitely a worth looking into. The only downside to increased climbing ability with today's ski boots is a decrease in warmth. 

Kirtis Courkamp · · Golden · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 378

Thanks for the great advice i kinda figured that any modern AT boot will work just have to use what fit's best. For those that use the TLT7 do you have the crampon adapter with TLT 7 that's the only reason I would stay away from the tlt7's is mixed climbing in non-automatic crampons sounds like the worst. But I haven't used it so I honestly don't know.  I'll keep my eye on the Fischer carbons but the look kinda like they wouldn't ski supper well. I would like to have to only buy one AT boot that skis well and climbs well.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Not new, but a pair of Scarpa F3s do phenominally for both up and down. And theyre very light

Mark Ra · · Frange, CO · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Kirtis Courkamp wrote: For those that use the TLT7 do you have the crampon adapter with TLT 7 that's the only reason I would stay away from the tlt7's is mixed climbing in non-automatic crampons sounds like the worst. 

I haven't done any ice or mixed with them yet but I've climbed a few firm snow couloirs with the TLT7 and a normal rubber toe bail and it works great. I'd go with that instead of the TLT7 specific adapter.

Matt Inoue · · CO · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 90

Backland and backland carbons are my preferred skimo/light AT boot but are pretty damn cold.  

Porter McMichael · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 30

I've hadn't good luck with tlt6's. I think the carbon version will improve skiing significantly. I think the alien RS would be an improvement in everyway assuming a good fit. The salomon s lab ski boot is almost the same as the arcteryx but rumors are they ski better. (That is to say still not great)

Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75

The TLT7 crampon adapter sucks and I will no longer trust it for climbing. I also tried the petzl semi-auto adapter and it wasn't stiff enough to work well with the tlt7 either. It seems like a semi-auto crampon is your only option.

Also I had the backlands for a little and it seemed like the position of the lower buckle (over the instep, not the ankle) made it have a ton of heel lift. I find the tlt7s much better in that regard.

Will McKay · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

I've got the MTN S/Lab's and they are pretty damn amazing. Unreal downhill performance as well as up.

christoph benells · · tahoma · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 235

Those fischer travers carbon boots are cool, the boa on the top of the foot really locks your foot in for a snug technical fit. Very good progressive flex compared to other boots of similar styling ( mainly the backland, procline, and salomon boot, have virtually no progressive flex just a rigid stop)

Pete Vastyan · · Lafayette, CO · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Has anyone had any issues with breaking the lip on the heal of an AT boot by over tightening? A buddy of mine warned me of this. My old plastic scarpa ice boots are bomber but now I'm a little leary of the Scarpa AT boots with automatic crampons. 

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

I used Scarpa F1s exclusively on Denali last year and have done a little bit of ice climbing as well. Both Petzl (standard bail) and BD (need wide bail) crampons fit really well.

I find it hard to believe that the heel shelf on a ski boot could break from the pressure applied by crampons. The whole bottom shell is one solid piece of plastic and those crampon/binding welts are just as burly if not burlier than those on mountaineering boots.

Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
Ben Taggart wrote: I used Scarpa F1s exclusively on Denali last year and have done a little bit of ice climbing as well. Both Petzl (standard bail) and BD (need wide bail) crampons fit really well.

I find it hard to believe that the heel shelf on a ski boot could break from the pressure applied by crampons. The whole bottom shell is one solid piece of plastic and those crampon/binding welts are just as burly if not burlier than those on mountaineering boots.

I agree with Ben. I will say though that the small lip on skimo boots can be quickly worn down by rock scrambling. It's probably best to not climb in AT boots if the climb involves lots of rock scrambling, jamming in cracks, etc. Ice boots have far more rubber on the sole to deal with this type of wear.

J-Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 0

FWIW, Camp released some new crampons specifically for this purpose recently. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf7LsKIuyyw

No experience first hand.

Keatan · · AZ · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 50

I've climbed in a few different ski boots, both 4th class scrambling and leading waterfall ice. There are some weird crampon fit issues but I've never worried about breaking off the heel. Here are my rankings of boots I've ice climbed in from best to worst:

1- Scarpa F1- great climbing and skiing boot. Absolute favorite.
2- La Sportiva Spectre- scramble and climb really nice, powerful skier. Absolute POS construction though, every pair I've seen of these have had problems.
3- Scarpa Maestrale- these were the old ones so the new ones might be even better but decent climber, a little boxy
4- Salomon MTN Explore- These are the softer version of what is now called the MTN S/Lab. Skis better than any of the other boots on this list but ice climbs and scrambles way worse. They have a longer BSL and less rockered sole which results in a more traditional ski boot fit. 

You can't go wrong with any boot in the ~1300g or lighter range except maybe the TLT7 with their weird adapter that I've heard reports of breaking.

Grivel has also come out with a new crampon attachment system specifically for ski boots which might be worth looking at. 

Pete Vastyan · · Lafayette, CO · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks all for the response. I really hoped this wasn’t an issue so I’m glad to hear you guys haven’t had problems with it.

HBTHREE · · ma · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 30

I’ve been rocking the atomic waymaker carbon 110’s for a couple yrs. I  got a great deal on em, they r super warm, I have a wide foot and they fit me well.  They’re pretty firm and with the swappable front they’re my resort boot too. They climb better than my bd quadrants but not quite  as good as the maestraelles I got rid of. Got close to 200 days on em with no prob except replacing the worn soles and hoping to get another season.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Mountaineering
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