Price: $579 List | $578.95 at Backcountry Compare prices at 2 resellersPros: Warm and waterproof, durable, loops on tongue and ankle make putting on easier Cons: Hard to lock down the heel tight enough to prevent heel sliding up, webbing lace in between metal catches, double layer but non-removable tongue Manufacturer: Scarpa
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The Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX - Women's is a sturdy product which is both warm and waterproof. It looks and acts suspiciously similar to the award-winning La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX - Women's in many areas of the design, including technical and aesthetic aspects. One major feature which sets it apart is the fit: while the Nepal Cube GTX is suited to narrow tootsies, the Mont Blanc is built to fit individuals with larger volume feet. This could be a major factor in deciding between the two models. The Mont Blanc is lighter-weight, which is a plus, but its lacing system is less than impressive and does not lock the heel down for comfortable climbing and hiking. Where the Mont Blanc does seem superior is that it has loops on the tongue and ankle to aid in putting it on, and has more durable toe welts.
The Mont Blanc has gone through a couple of iterations since our test period. The details of the current boot are outlined below.
Our Analysis and Test Results
Mont Blanc Pro GTX vs. Mont Blanc
Scarpa's Mont Blanc Pro GTX is the latest incarnation of this boot. The boots have had several updates in their technology since we tested them. The current boot is around a full pound lighter per pair (wow!) thanks to a thinner, more sensitive outsole. The lug pattern has changed, and the rubber used is now Vibram Extreme AC. There is a TPU frame in the integrated gaiter, which is designed to provide structure and support. Below, compare the updated model (shown first) to the model we tested (second photo).
As we haven't tested the updated boot, be aware that the text below only pertains to the older model.
Hands-On Review of the Mont Blanc - Women's
At 33.79 ounces per boot for a size 40.5, the Mont Blanc proves it is significantly 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 the Trango Cube GTX.
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
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 therefore 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.
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. 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 the Nepal and has a shallower heel. 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 less.
Are you a woman in search of a mountaineering boot? We...
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