The Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX - Women's Vs. The Old Scarpa Mont Blanc - Women's
Scarpa has shaken up a few details of the Scarpa Mont Blanc - Women's mountaineering boot. At first glance, the color change from lime green to bright turquoise stands out, but there are also multiple technical updates to speak of. The Sock-Fit technology, which is introduced to many of Scarpa's latest products, "lowers the volume over the instep, giving these a more nimble, modern feel." A waterproof gaiter is an added perk of the Sock-Fit innovation. Additionally, new PU ribbing, which is injected into the tongue of the shoe, reduces lace pressure across the top of the foot. Resulting from these changes is a drop in weight: the new model weighs about 12 ounces less (per pair). Lastly, yet pertinently, the cost of this shoe has increased by $21. Both models are still available on Scarpa's website, the older boot being marked down considerably!
To see the changes mentioned above, glance below at the two models. The latest Pro GTX model is on the left.
Here's a summary of the changes:
- Sock-Fit Technology — This new technology includes automatic fit adjustment and better ankle closure.
- Waterproof Gaiter — A waterproof gaiter is newly integrated as part of the Sock-Fit technology mentioned above.
- Increased Price — The Pro GTX version carries a heftier price tag ($500 vs. $479).
- New Color — The latest model is offered in a bright turquoise hue with orange, gray/silver, and black accents.
- Weight — The new model weighs in at 27.5 oz per boot, which is 6.29 ounces less than the original Mont Blanc model.
The review below pertains to the original Scarpa Mont Blanc model.
Hands-On Review Of The Original Scarpa Mont Blanc - Women's
Gearing up, rope testing, and boot testing the Scarpa Mont Blanc with Fitz Roy in the background.
At 33.79 ounces per boot for a size 40.5, the Mont Blanc proves it is signifigantly lighter than the Nepal Cube GTX, which weighs 2 ounces more per boot for a half size smaller. The lower weight is a huge advantage when it comes to wearing the boots all day, and lifting your feet over and over while hiking and climbing. This factor alone greatly increases the comfort of the Mont Blanc.
The Mont Blanc's are one of the warmest in our review, warmer than both the Trango Cube GTX and the Mountain Expert.
After extended periods under snow and wetness, cold and water can leak a bit on the top of the foot in the Scarpa Mont Blanc.
With the same Gore-Tex insulated comfort lining as the Nepal Cube GTX the Mont Blanc is warm and dry. The only weakness we have experienced is that after extended periods under snow or water, a little cold and wetness leaks through over laces onto the top of the foot.
Rock Climbing Ability
Rapelling a rock step on the approach to Paso Superior in the Chalten Massif, Patagonia, while wearing the Scarpa Mont Blanc. The Vibram sole grips the rock well.
With a sticky Vibram sole and plently of rand rubber, the Mont Blanc is decent at climbing on rock for a stiff boot. If you intend to do lots of climbing on rock in your boots, we recommend the La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX - Women's, which has no toe-welt and therefor offers more precision when edging.
Ice Climbing Ability
What makes a boot climb ice well is a stiff, supportive sole, which every full-shank boot provides, and the way the boot locks the heel down, which is often a function of the lacing system. This is where we were not impressed with the Mont Blanc.
The annoying lacing system on the Scarpa Mont Blanc. Note the fourth lace loop down from the top is webbing, and below it is another open metal lace catch. When the laces come out of the lower lace catch, they are hard to replace due to the webbing loop.
First of all, the bulky, gusseted outer tongue has a piece of leather that is too wide, which makes it almost impossible to tighten enough around the ankle. This lack of tightness results in the heel sliding up when hiking and front-pointing. Especially in contrast to the similarly designed gusseted tongue of the Nepal, which is very secure, the Mont Blanc feels sloppy and loose.
Our biggest complaint about the Mont Blanc is the lacing system. Seemingly to mimic the Nepals, they have a webbing lace loop on top of a metal lace catch, where the Nepal has a webbing loop above a metal lace lock. On the Nepal, this helps to tighten the bottom of the boot and the top of boot separately, which really customizes fit and support.
The La Sportiva Nepal Evo lacing system. Note the special lace-lock grommet that is the 5th down. This amazing feature allows you to first tighten the bottom laces on top of the foot, lock them in, and then lace the top of the boot.
By contrast, the Mont Blancs have an open lace catch instead of a locking piece. This results in the laces coming undone from the catch, but being constricted by the webbing loop above it. This does not allow for additional fit customization, but is instead just really annoying. If the lace comes out of the catch, there is no way to fix it with gloves on, so you have to remove your gloves to fiddle with the laces, which are hard to tighten enough as it is.
Partially due to the lack of heel lock because of the lacing problems mentioned above, the Mont Blanc is also not the most comfortable for hiking in. The sole is gently rockered, which helps create natural movement while hiking, but is less rockered than both the Nepal and the Mountain Expert. It has a deeper heel on the sole than the Mountain Expert, and a shallower heel than the Nepal. The deepness of the heel helps to brake and provide traction when walking downhill on snow, and the Mont Blanc heel is adequate at this task.
Made from all leather and with metal lace grommets, this is a durable, long-lasting boot. Our test pair endured many long approaches on trail as well as snow, and the sole is still in good shape.
This boot excels at mountaineering and ice climbing in cold and wet conditions.
If you are on a budget but looking for a waterproof insulated mountaineering boot, then the Mont Blanc is a good choice. It is almost identical in features to the La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX, but it costs $50 less. For even better value, check out our Best Buy winner, the Lowa Mountain Expert GTX EVO - Women's.