The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

How We Tested Mountaineering Boots

By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday April 2, 2019

We wore these boots in a wide range of conditions to achieve a wide range of goals. We wore them on ice and mixed lines in Patagonia; the Canadian Rockies, Ouray, Colorado; Provo Canyon, Utah; and the Sierra Nevada. We climbed ice in crampons and rock without. Our main test crampon was the Petzl Lynx which will fit every boot in this review if you use the included toe strap in place of the wire bail when needed. We hiked many long approaches and stood around for hours at belays.

We found that the most objective way to measure one boot against another was to wear two different boots at the same time. While we often got strange glances and sometimes were questioned, we found that we could quickly rank the qualities of one boot over another.

Comparatively evaluating for warmth with the La Sportiva G5 and Scarpa Phantom guide at the belay on stormy day.
Comparatively evaluating for warmth with the La Sportiva G5 and Scarpa Phantom guide at the belay on stormy day.

We feel that ultimately, good gear is gear that you don't have to think about, and we evaluated if the boots left us noticing that our feet were cold and wet, or if we were able to concentrate on the terrain ahead and the beauty around us and forget about the boots.

Our lead tester stood in 6 inches of water for 5 minutes with each boot to evaluate water resistance.
Our lead tester stood in 6 inches of water for 5 minutes with each boot to evaluate water resistance.