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.
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La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light: Warmth and Stability
Posted on: April 21, 2008
Weight: 1 pound, 14.5 ounces (865 grams)
Preparing for an ice climbing trip is like preparing for war. The enemy: screaming barfies, brittle ice and—worst of all—warming your partner's freezing toes on your stomach. So when packing for a day of climbing in the Canadian Rockies, I was glad to know my feet would be well taken care of in the Trango Extreme Evo Light boots. I have owned the La Sportiva Trango boots, the little sister boot without a toe-bail notch, for a while. They are super comfortable, but a bit soft for long sections of ice. So for the artillery, I chose the Trango Extremes.
These boots were perfect for ice climbing and alpine climbing from warm to moderately cold temperatures. For the ultra-cold days, I continued to use plastic boots. But I can see the Trango Extremes becoming my boot of choice for almost any alpine endeavor where there is significant ice climbing: the Compressor Route on Fitz Roy, alpine ascents in the Waddington Range, those pitches of verglas coating perfect granite in Pakistan. So far, I have used them extensively in North America's ice- and mixed-climbing playground: the Canadian Rockies.
The Trango Extremes required no breaking in because of the 3-D Flex ankle hinge system, which provided stiffness while still allowing mobility. The fully gusseted and padded tongues relieved lacing pressure, and the removable footbeds added just the right support. My toes stayed warm all day due to the extra-light midsoles that still managed to provide great insulation. And—as for the climbing—these boots kicked great on ice.
They also provided good traction on the approach. The Vibram lavaredo outsoles have sticky Supertrek rubber that performed well on rock. It's also durable and water-repellent thanks to Cordura nylon uppers, Flex Tec 2 rubber-coated, Aramide-reinforced polyester panels and water-repellent Lorica synthetic leather. The fully gusseted tongues add to the water-repellency.
My toes stayed so comfy, even with the laces done up tight for the lead, that after one outing I didn't even take them off for dinner and drinks. Somehow the warmth does not translate to additional weight. They are lighter than any boot I have ever used ice climbing—and to some extent, the lighter the boot, the less fatigued you'll be at the end of the day. They are much lighter than the plastic boots I have used (obviously) and almost a pound lighter than the Nepal Tops. They are, however, four ounces heavier than Boreal's Ice Master boot. They're also a bit heavier and more expensive than the Vasque M-Possible and the Montrail I.C.E. boot. But the Trango Extremes seem to make every ounce translate to warmth and stability.
This boot has achieved a fine balance between support and flexibility in the ankles with the 3-D Flex system. They also have an excellent insulating ability with the Ibi-Thermo midsole. The Trango Extremes aren't the cheapest or lightest out there, but these solid boots certainly have vanquished many of my ice-climbing tribulations, and I recommend them highly.
Pros: Warm; stable; flexible; comfortable.
Cons: Not the lightest or cheapest boots of this ilk.