A first look at any new pair of mountain boots always consists of the following question: “Are these boots made for walking or climbing?” The hypothesis is that mountain boot designers know that a great, lightweight mountain boot is the alchemical product of two very basic considerations: (1) the ability to comfortably withstand miles of long, heinous, scree approaches, and (2) the ability to dispatch the technical climbing on the route.
Boot makers the world over have been tweaking the various components of the two styles for years to develop the perfect solution to the seemingly impossible quandary of how to make a climbing boot walk comfortably. For example, La Sportiva struck gold with their Trango S Evo’s—heralded for their comfort, climb-ability and light weight. If you were a fan of those boots, the Garmont Tower Extreme LX GTX boots are something for you.
Despite having a much higher ankle support than the Trango’s, the Tower Extreme’s only weigh in at approximately 755 grams per boot (size 8.5 American). This is only forty grams or so more than the old Trango’s. Having all rolled ankles on approaches we can say we are fans of higher ankle supports on boots. This increased support, however, will not prevent you from making those precision moves needed on your climb.
Furthermore, Garmont has done other things right. The laces on the boot are beefy and look like they will last years of abuse. There is a tab to clip the boots onto your harness for that Grade VI send. There is a stretch gaiter that closes off your ankle from those pesky pebbles that love to set up shop under your foot while you’re walking. And perhaps most importantly of all, there is a rubber toecap covering the intersection of the rand/sole and upper portion of the boot. Other boots, like the Trango’s, lacked this and as a result the upper tended to catastrophically separate from the sole after a few seasons.
These boots also feel good. They have a wide toe box, making them comfortable, if not roomy in the toe zone. These boots were made for walking AND climbing, and that’s just what they’ll do.
Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.