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 Batura Boots: Comfort and Performance
Posted on: May 8, 2008
Weight: 2 pounds, 2.7 ounces
La Sportiva has created another fine technical boot with the new Batura. I've used the Nuptse in the Himalaya, the Nepal Top all over the North Cascades and Ouray, the Trango Ice Evo and Women's Trango Evo GTX in Patagonia and at home in the San Juans. I've been happy with all of these La Sportiva models, which tend to fit narrow feet, like mine, especially well. I'm psyched on the new Batura because it fills the gap between the warmth of the Nuptse, as a quasi-double boot, and the technical performance of the Nepal Top or Evo. Its weight-to-warmth ratio sets it apart from the pack of other boots I've used over the years.
The skeptic in me scoffed at the zipper and funkadelic appearance on first impression, but after a few days they'd won me over. I'm not a fan of zippers on anything that could compromise functionality, but the beefy nature and streamlined, asymmetrical detail of the zipper on the outer gaiter proved to be simple and, within the limited season I used them, super durable. The entire system with internal lacing and external zipper was easy to get tight with cold fingers or loosen quickly when needed.
The boots performed great on both steep and moderate ice routes. They offered excellent flex in the ankles thus climbing well for French technique and side-hilling. Without crampons the boots kick steps with the best of them and edge on a dime. One notable difference that added to the warmth and comfort over La Sportiva's other models is a slightly larger toe box, giving some wiggle room and more comfort on approaches. For a stiff pair of boots, they hike super well. Overall, if it's not evident already, the Baturas feel and perform the way they're supposed to.
The gaiter and zipper combo are definitely waterproof, even more so than I expected. This compromises the breathability of the boots, but that came as no surprise. These aren't the boots I choose for multiple nights out, as drying them would become a problem. However, they are my pick for fast, cold-weather ascents in the mountains and winter ice climbing.
Pros: Durable; warm; lightweight; waterproof; climb well on moderate and steep terrain; great for alpine ascents and ice climbing.
Cons: Less breathability than normal boots; takes a while to dry fully.