The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
The rest of the MS Team
Vasque M-Finity boots bring you back home
Posted on: November 27, 2005
For me, a good mountain boot not only has to climb well, it has to get me to the climb. I'm not carrying a boot on my back, I'm going to wear it all day, there and back. I checked out the Vasque M-Finity on the 13,770-foot Grand Teton during the early part of last summer.
My clients, sporting their sticky rubber approach shoes, looked on with a bit of anxiety as I laced up my flashy mountain boots at the trailhead.
"Just testing," I assured them, "You'll be fine."
But I wondered if I'd "be fine" on the 5,000-foot hump up to the lower saddle and the 7,000-foot descent back down to the car tomorrow in the beasts. No doubt, the boots were a tad overkill for the summer hike, but a test drive is a test drive.
Aside from being too warm, the boots were actually pretty comfortable on the approach. The fun began the next morning on the Owen Spalding route. Conditions ranged from patches of snow, to wet and icy rock. I was super psyched on the added security the M-Finity's provided as I safeguarded my clients, who were less than sure of their footing, on the tricky bits. Add a little snow and ice and moderate becomes desperate to the uninitiated.
I loved climbing in a good quality pair of light, rigid boots and when we got to the business on OS, I was whistling Dixie. The Vibram rubber sole and carbon-fiber shank were stiff and plenty sticky on little edges and the odd smear. If Vasque puts Stealth rubber on these, like they do on other products, it would no doubt climb even better.
Surprisingly enough, I didn't suffer too much on the 7,000-foot descent. I even wore them again the next trip, trailhead to trailhead. Same results.
Although a little heavy and warm for a summer mountaineering boot, these kickers are going to be secret weapons for bigger alpine climbs. I like a boot that is stiff and edges well. This one does. I also like a boot with plenty of rand, for extra grip in wide cracks, and this one certainly has full coverage. The toe box is plenty roomy to wiggle my toes, which I like as long as I can crank the laces tight enough to keep the boot snug. Excels here too.
The M-Finity performed well with a light strap-on crampon and I can't wait to step into some technical spikes when the ice forms up. If you are on the hunt for a warm, stiff, technical boot that is light, built to last and performs well on both rock and ice, you'll dig this one.