For two seasons I’ve been mixed climbing and dry tooling exclusively in Lowa’s Ice Rocket GTX. For the uninitiated, these are lightweight boots ideal for steep ice and mixed routes, dry tooling and competitive mixed climbing. When compared with a typical ice boot, the Rockets are so light, agile and climber-friendly they feel like cheating.
Just this past December, I was on this M10 in Colorado and my right pick was lousy and kind of a sidepull and I really couldn’t have my feet right beneath me. I just needed to heel hook. I proceeded to dig the heel into a half-pad edge and that was the beta—using the heel just as I would a rock shoe. The rubber was plenty sticky and there’s zero chance I could have done that move with the typical ice boot. The Rocket also has rock-shoe-style rubber around the toe, which I have gainfully employed.
The BOA dialing system on the Lowa Ice Rocket is as easy to adjust as a boot can get. The toe box felt a tad airy, and that roominess is accentuated because the lacing system ratchets at the top, so much of the squeezing goes on up there and not so much down by the toes. For a snug fit, I downsized a half size, not worrying about getting cold, as I only wear the Rockets for sending and don’t stand around in them to belay.
The Rockets are set up with Black Diamond’s Raptor crampon, included in the price. The Raptors have a two-spiked heel spur, which is easy to take off via three screws if need be. After at least 10 sessions in the Raptor, I’m just about ready to get out the file and sharpen the front point, which you can replace when needed.
The mono point is asymmetrical, coming out between your big toe and its neighbor and angling in a tad. As for warmth, I had no problems with the minimalist insulation, which is standard on a mixed boot.
The uppers are a durable synthetic, and they are mildly nicked up after repeated use. At 17 ounces a shoe, they are featherweights, and they are resoleable, which is nice, because the $750 price tag isn’t insignificant.
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