My favorite type of climbing boot for alpine, mixed and ice, is a single boot with integrated gaiter as a lightweight and more responsive alternative to double plastics. I currently climb in Scarpa Phantom Lites (while coveting the new Phantom Guide version with OutDry), but these three new alpine boots with integrated gaiters leave my feet wanting to test every one during the quickly approaching winter climbing season.
Salewa’s new Pro Gaiter alpine boot features an integrated waterproof gaiter made from a combination of abrasion resistant SuperFabric and Thinsulate B400 for extra insulation. To keep moisture away from your feet, Salewa added a proprietary waterproof breathable membrane specially designed for the alpine boot.
Probably the coolest feature of the Salewa Pro Gaiter is the new Flex-System in the sole, borrowed from AT boot technology. By simply turning a key, the alpine boot sole goes from flexible for easy walking and scrambling, to rigid for vertical ice climbing in crampons. The Vibram Pro outsole with aggressive treads gives you plenty of traction on slippery terrain.
The Salewa Pro Gaiter weighs 1040 grams and will retail for $499.
The Nordwand TL from Mammut is part of the new Mammut Eiger Extreme collection. Extremely warm but lightweight (1888 grams), this alpine boot is a great option for ice and mixed climbing. Two large straps on the inside of the alpine boot enable easy entry, even with gloved hands. The diagonal waterproof YKK zipper on the outside of the gaiter also helps with easy on and off.
The Speed Lace System keeps the alpine boot laces tight over the entire length of your foot and cinches down with one pull. An insulated carbon insole protects and stabilizes your foot as well as offers superior rigidity for vertical climbing with crampons.
The all new Batura 2.0 from La Sportiva provides two levels of Gore-Tex waterproofing, one barrier on the inside of the gaiter and one on the inside of the boot. The integrated Cordura gaiter uses Gore-Tex Stretch to keep snow, ice, and water out of your alpine boots. A heat selaed, reinforced zipper with velcro cover provides extra snow and water protection.
On the inside of the boot itself, La Sportiva added Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort for added warmth and waterproofing. Similar to the Mammut Nordwand TL, a 3mm insulated honeycomb carbon insole offers added stability, insulation, and rigidity.
Look for these alpine boots with integrated gaiters to be released mid-2012 winter climbing season.