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La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Review

This boot slays steep ice, but carries a high weight penalty
la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review
Credit: La Sportiva
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Price:  $649 List | $486.75 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  A dream on steep ice, durable
Cons:  Heavy, not the most nimble
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 14, 2022
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48
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Climbing - 25% 5.0
  • Weight - 20% 3.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5.0
  • Warmth - 15% 5.0
  • Hiking - 10% 4.0
  • Lacing - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

La Sportiva's Nepal line has set the standard for single leather mountain boots for many years. The La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX's stout leather construction offers durability and excellent calf support for climbing steep ice. However, that comes at a cost; these are some of the heaviest boots in our review. Other models are significantly lighter while offering better all-around climbing performance. Nevertheless, the durability and moderate warmth make this a decent boot choice.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
48
72
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63
58
Star Rating
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Pros A dream on steep ice, durableSuper lightweight, climbs well, simple lacesWarm, climbs wellRemovable liner, velcro ankle strap, waterproofLight, versatile, great for rock climbing
Cons Heavy, not the most nimbleNo lace lock, could be warmerExpensiveExpensive, slightly flexibleNot very warm, minimal calf support
Bottom Line This boot slays steep ice, but carries a high weight penaltyThis lightweight boot is our go-to choice for challenging climbs on ice, rock, and snowThis is a great boot for cold weather climbing and it's really fast to put on, take off, and adjustThis lightweight double boot is perfect for cold weather technical climbingThese 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...
Climbing (25%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
3.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
4.0
Warmth (15%)
5.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
3.0
Hiking (10%)
4.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
Lacing (10%)
8.0
5.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Specs La Sportiva Nepal C... Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo La Sportiva G5 Evo Arc'teryx Acrux AR La Sportiva Trango...
Style Single Single Single Double Single
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.

Performance Comparison


la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - the nepal cube gtx on its home turf, ice.
The Nepal Cube GTX on its home turf, ice.
Credit: Andy Stephen


Climbing


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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - crampon fit. grivel on the left, petzl on the right. note that the...
Crampon fit. Grivel on the left, Petzl on the right. Note that the Grivel bail is a smaller accessory model.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - this isn't our favorite boot for mixed climbing, but it's not bad.
This isn't our favorite boot for mixed climbing, but it's not bad.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Weight


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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - weighing the nepal cube.
Weighing the Nepal Cube.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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.

Weather Resistance


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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - this boot has a nice high waterline, well above the 6 inches shown...
This boot has a nice high waterline, well above the 6 inches shown here.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Warmth


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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - the nepal kept our feet warm during cold days on the ice.
The Nepal kept our feet warm during cold days on the ice.
Credit: Andy Stephen

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.

Hiking


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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - this boot has a simple lacing system.
This boot has a simple lacing system.
Credit: Andy Stephen

Lacing


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.

la sportiva nepal cube gtx mountaineering boot review - steep ice is what this boot was built to climb.
Steep ice is what this boot was built to climb.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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.

Ian McEleney
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