Updates to the Mont Blanc Pro
Scarpa overhauled this boot since our test cycle. The new boot is lighter weight, thanks to a thinner outsole. The integrated gaiter is redesigned with a TPU frame to add reinforcement and support, and the outsole now utilizes Vibram Essential AC rubber. There is also a revised lug design and a new fast-lace system. Compare the two models below. The new version is pictured first, and the version we tested is shown second.
We're currently testing the updated boot. In the meantime, the review text below is only our account of the previous model.
Hands-On Review of the Mont Blanc Pro
The Mont Blanc Pro is Scarpa's take on the classic single leather mountaineering boot. This type of boot is typically pretty durable and pretty good at most things without being brilliant at anything. The Mont Blanc Pro meets those criteria, read on to learn how.
Sam with happy feet at the belay.
This boot weighs in at 2lb 1.5oz (950g). The boot sports a bunch of leather in the upper and a nice thick outsole. Both of these material choices usually contribute to durability, but come at a cost: weight.
It's amongst the heaviest boots in our review. It weighs almost the same as the Arc'teryx Acrux AR, which is a warmer and more water-resistant boot. It weighs about 3 ounces less than the most comparable boot in our test, the La Sportiva Nepal Cube, which weighs in at 2lb 5.4oz (1060g). Remember that these weights are for one boot (1/2 of a pair).
Our testing team found this boot to be one of the less warm boots in our test, though it's warmer than the lightweight single boots (like the La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX). It's only natural that a single leather boot would be less warm than the supergaiter boots, especially the Arc'teryx Acrux AR, the warmest in the test.
Warm enough most of the time, this boot isn't great for standing around on the coldest of cold days.
It's ever so slightly less warm than La Sportiva's single leather boot, the Nepal Cube GTX. We think this is because the leather part of the Nepal comes up higher on our calves.
Like all of the other boots in our review, the Mont Blanc Pro is fully waterproof up to its "waterline". In this case, that spot is the bellows of fabric that attaches the tongue to the boot. This is about 6.5 inches off the ground. While this point is higher than the bottom of the gaiter, liquid water can slosh up behind the gaiter and down behind the tongue.
Taking the tub test.
While our testers were surprised at how low the waterline is we don't think it's a major problem for most practical mountaineering applications. We did not find that snow was forced up into this space. For the most part, the gaiter did a great job keeping the snow out.
Each boot's climbing performance was evaluated in three media: ice, mixed/dry tooling, and rock climbing without crampons. The Mont Blanc Pro held its own on mixed terrain and for rock climbing. The cuff of the boot is slightly lower and slightly more flexible than other single leather boots, like the Nepal Cube and we felt this gave it a slight advantage in these scenarios. We also preferred it to the Cube when using French technique.
Crampon fit. Grivel on the left, Petzl on the right. Note that the Grivel bail is a smaller sized accessory bail.
That being said, this boot certainly performs best on steep ice. The supportive cuff and rigid sole do a good job keeping flaming calves at bay. The rocker of the boot strikes a balance between rock climbing and ice climbing performance - less rocker than some boots in our review (the almost flat La Sportiva G5) but more than others (the rock and hiking friendly rocker on the Trango Tower Extreme).
The Mont Blanc Pro in its element.
For boot closures, our testing team wanted something that was simple to understand, easy to use, and secure. The Mont Blanc Pro ticked two of those boxes.
Above the lace hook, the first lace attachment point is a webbing loop that's pre-threaded. It took most of our testers an extra second or two each time to figure out which strand of the shoelace to grab. Not the end of the world, but it was noticeable. In the same vein, the gaiter goes under the laces and should be done up first when lacing the boot. Our team regularly got that far in the lacing then stopped to fasten the gaiter.
It takes a second to figure out which lace goes where.
These concerns are minor and would probably become more so the more a climber uses the boot. It was easy to use the laces to get the right tension on our feet, and we had no problems with that tension being lost.
The Mont Blanc Pro is a just-above-average performer when it comes to hiking. The same cuff flexibility that helped when dry tooling or rock climbing helped us have a more natural stride on approaches. This was enhanced (though not overly so) by the sole rocker. Some of our testers didn't use the top lace hook, for better hiking comfort.
Little rollers made snugging the forefoot easier.
We think this is a good all-around boot for climbers and mountaineers who don't want to spend a ton of money and want to have one boot for everything. Ice climbing is its forte, but it could also do well on summer glacier climbs and moderate mixed routes.
The Mont Blanc Pro is one of the more affordable contenders in this review. While we haven't had it in the field long enough to make serious comments about durability, the traditional construction and materials are inspiring. If this fits your foot we think it's a good value.
The Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro is a classic single leather boot that gets the job done. Newer boot designs are warmer, lighter, and faster to lace up. If this boot is a great fit for your foot, you may like its climbing performance better than we did. Our testers felt that this boot fit lower volume feet better than the Nepal Evo. While it's not outstanding in any department, we think its all-around performance is good.
The cuff of this boot hugs your calf, a great feature if there's some unexpected snow climbing in the middle of your route.