Asolo Eiger | $500 asolo-usa.com ★★★★
It’s not easy to be an alpine boot. You have to be supple on long marches, board stiff for ice climbing, precise on rock, insulated for warmth, feather light, yet completely impervious to sharp rocks and water. Luckily there are boots like Asolo’s Eiger GV that come very close to filling that demanding billet.
I tested the Eigers all winter and the boots performed well on mediums as disparate as high-angle gullies, waterfall ice and mixed climbs. Weighing just 1 pound 14 ounces per boot, these are the second lightest technical climbing boots around, and may be the lightest for their warmth. (The 2013 Scarpa Rebel Ultra GTX, the other boot in this class, weighs four ounces less per boot.)
Trim and build more like a fruitboot or rock shoe than a traditional mountaineering boot, the Eiger fits snugly and feels secure on rock. I climbed about 1,500 feet of ice-park ice in the Eigers and appreciated the carbon/Kevlar frame, and the fact that the heel and toe counter are integrated into the midsole. These features seemed to dampen crampon-point blows, protecting my toes and providing a good stick.
I also put in about 40 miles of hiking in snow varying from a foot- to ass-deep and I found that the Eigers required no real break-in period. The lacing system is easy to work, even with gloves, and allows lots of sizing adjustments. The internal ankle cuff and external built-in gaiter effectively keep out the snow.
I have two small gripes, however. 1) After a few miles, the tongue sometimes migrated downward and bulged over my toes, pressing down slightly, and, 2) my feet got cold during a three-hour belay standing in an ice cave when it was minus 5. (I told you it was hard to be a mountain boot).
I’d wear these for ice and mixed to M7 and just about any fast-and-light winter objective in the Alps or Lower 48.
Weight: I pound 14 ounces (size 42.5, U.S. 9).
Warm to 0 degree.
Sole: 1229 Vibram Mulaz.
Midsole integrated with heel and toe counters.
Gore-Tex Duratherm lining.