Salewa Pro Gaiter | $599 | salewa.us.com ★★★★
We’ve all attended the alpine Blister Ball. Your ticket to the gala is a boot that is comfortable to hike in but too flexible to climb well, or a rigid boot that frontpoints effectively but forces you to goose-step like Frankenstein on the flats. The Salewa Pro Gaiter is the best answer yet to the question: “What boots do I take when I must walk to the dance?”
Here’s the deal: With an allen wrench you can adjust the Pro Gaiter’s sole to flexible walking mode, or rigid climbing mode. If you lose the key, the pick of an ice axe works well.
On an early April trip to climb Mount Whitney’s Mountaineer’s Route the boot allowed me to hike the 11-mile approach comfortably with a 50-pound load. Near Upper Boy Scout Lake, I dialed the sole to climbing mode and climbed a two-pitch icefall below Thor Lake. The boot front-pointed as well as any specialized climbing boot I’ve used.
A week later on the U Notch and V Notch Glaciers in the Palisades, the Pro Gaiter proved themselves to be not just amazing for climbing and hiking, but they were the most comfortable (and expensive) boots I’ve used for French technique on low-angle ice. The nylon uppers were supportive and flexible and didn’t bite into my tendons.
The waterproof, insulated boots kept my feet dry and warm through single-digit temps, stream crossings and wet snow. These are the first boots I’ve used that hike as well as they climb. I’ve retired and sold most of my other boots as these are the ones I’ll bring when the mountains call my name.
• Sole adjusts from flexible to rigid
• Integral gaiter
• 2.3 pounds per boot
• Sizes: 6-12 including half sizes