La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Review
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La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX
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|Pros||A dream on steep ice, durable||Super lightweight, climbs well, simple laces||Warm, climbs well||Removable liner, velcro ankle strap, waterproof||Light, versatile, great for rock climbing|
|Cons||Heavy, not the most nimble||No lace lock, could be warmer||Expensive||Expensive, slightly flexible||Not very warm, minimal calf support|
|Bottom Line||This boot slays steep ice, but carries a high weight penalty||This lightweight boot is our go-to choice for challenging climbs on ice, rock, and snow||This is a great boot for cold weather climbing and it's really fast to put on, take off, and adjust||This lightweight double boot is perfect for cold weather technical climbing||These light, versatile boots are good for all-around performance|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva Nepal C...||Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo||La Sportiva G5 Evo||Arc'teryx Acrux AR||La Sportiva Trango...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||La Sportiva Nepal C...||Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo||La Sportiva G5 Evo||Arc'teryx Acrux AR||La Sportiva Trango...|
|Weight||2lb 2.7oz (983g)||1lb 10.8oz (760g)||1lb 15oz (875g)||2lb 2oz (965g)||1lb 13.6oz (835g)|
|Sizes Available||37-48 EU||40-47.5 EU||38-48 EU||7-13 US||38-48 EU|
|Upper||3.2mm silicone impregnated leather with abrasion resistant fabric||High tenacity nylon with Schoeller Soft Shell||Stretch Cordura with reflective aluminum lining||3L Gore-Tex w/ TPU Laminate||Nylon 6.6 with Honey-Comb Guard and FlexTec 3|
|Waterproof Lining||Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort||Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort||Gore-Tex Infinium||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Performance Comfort|
|Shank||Carbon Tech honeycomb insulation||Carbon Fiber||3mm Honeycomb Tech insulating carbon||PU||9mm Insulated IBI-Thermo|
|Midsole||3 mm Polyurethane||Dual color microporous midsole||2mm polyurethane||CM EVA, carbon fiber||6-7mm TPU/ Dual-density micropore EVA|
|Sole Rubber||Vibram Matterhorn||Vibram Litebase with Mont compound||Vibram Matterhorn||Vibram AR||Vibram "One"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
La Sportiva has been making boots with the Nepal name for a long time, and the Cube GTX is the latest in this venerable line. Newer technologies, designs, and materials have allowed the competition to surpass this boot in many ways, but it remains a solid choice for steep ice and general mountaineering.
Let's just get it out of the way right now: this boot is a front-pointing machine. It was born to climb steep ice. Tighten the firm upper part of the boot and prepare to send pillars of frozen water from New England to the Northwest. No other boot kept our calves from flaming out while we were battling the pump in our locked-off arm like this one.
However, this boot was not our first choice for techy mixed climbing or climbing rock without crampons. The upper part of the boot, oh-so-supportive when front pointing, restricts ankle movement for other types of climbing. This kept its total climbing performance score low.
The Nepal Cube GTX is one of the heaviest boots in our test, weighing in at 2lb 2.7oz (983g). Remember that this is the weight of one boot (half of a pair). We think that the substantial outsole is certainly a big part of this weight, but it probably offers increased durability.
The stout leather upper adds some weight too, but our testers suspect this is probably the characteristic that gives this boot its unrivaled calf support on steep ice.
The Nepal Cube GTX is a very water-resistant boot. The tongue bellows extend almost to the very top of the boot and keep water and snow out of the front. In the back, the cuff dives a bit, and though the small cuff gaiter keeps snow away, it is not waterproof. This boot's "water line" is about 7.5 inches, impressive for a single boot.
The Nepal Cube hovers around the middle of the pack for warmth. The tall, supportive cuff means that insulation runs farther up your leg. The thick mid and outsoles provide some good insulation from cold surfaces underfoot.
Sportiva uses a carbon honeycomb structure for the shank, and we suspect this makes this version of the Nepal warmer than its predecessors. The removable tongue padding provides some extra insulation. The warmest boots in our review are probably less suited to shoulder season excursions in warmer weather.
We weren't big fans of hiking in this boot. Again, the supportive upper was less of an asset and more of a liability, and the weight definitely felt a little clunky when trying to beat other parties to the base of the ice on frozen trails in the Canadian Rockies.
Our testers liked the simple and solid lacing system on the Nepal Cube. The removable tongue padding takes a bit of fiddling at first, then stays put until you sell the boots to a friend who wants to get into ice climbing, ten years from now. Any person who has ever laced up a boot can get these to work right out of the box. Only shorter boots with shorter laces are faster to put on or remove.
Should You Buy the La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX?
The Nepal Cube GTX is the best of a long line of mountain boots. Our testing team thinks of this boot like the Toyota Tacoma of mountain boots; it's not the fastest or lightest or the highest tech, but it's trusty, durable, and will get you where you need to go. If it fits your foot, this is a good quiver-of-one boot. For those who can never wait for summer to be over, and find yourselves watching Steve House solo Repentance and Remission on YouTube over and over and over, this is your boot.
What Other Mountaineering Boots Should You Consider?
With the durability of this boot comes a bit more weight. The Arc'teryx Acrux AR weighs a bit less but offers more warmth and weather protection. Climbers who want something that weighs and costs less with more balanced climbing performance should check out the La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX.
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