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JasonG

Scarpa Alpha Ice Boot- Good, bad or ugly ?

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Just wondering what those who own a pair think of them. Warm enough for Canadian Rockies Ice? Is the thermo liner the way to go?? If you hate them, what else would you recommend? Thanks!

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My buddy had them withOUT the thermo liner and he frequently complained of them being cold.

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I hate them. As they are marketed, a warm ice climbing boot, they suck. Being a plastic boot the liner frequently slides up in the heel and feels insecure on vertical ice. It is difficult if not impossible to crank down the laces tight enough to secure your ankle/heel. For moderate glacier slogs and multiday outings they offer the advantages of a plastic boot (dry/warm liner in bag at night) at a relatively light weight. However, for steep ice get a modern leather boot (Nepal Extreme or Scarpa Cumbre are warm, Trango Ice are more precise but I would think sacrifice a significant amount of warmth); it will be warm enough unless you get stuck on Howse Peak in the dead of winter . Even without the thermo liner, I cannot think of a time my feet have been excrusiating cold or numb - would be fine for Canadian ice if you like the feeling of your boot sliding off. blush.gif

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I love the Scarpa Alpha's. I've been following this thread, and thougt I'd offer my differing opinion. And I'm sure many others will as well if they stumble onto it.

 

I've worn every pair of plastics that I can think of, and the Alphas feel the best to me. But that's me.

 

But what you can say about the Alpha's is that there is just not a lot of nonsense on the boot volume-wise. They are not bulky like the Koflach's, Vasque's, Inverno's, etc. But they also can't offer the kind of warmth those can. If you feel that they can handle the cold of where you need them to be, then they are the boot to own in my opinion. They are low profile, very precise, and hike wonderfully. Other's can probably tell you better in regard to handling Canadian Rocky Ice. I have actually been in Canadian Rocky ice in a lesser boot and was fine. But depending on yourself, you may want more warmth.

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I've also been a big fan. I haven't worn too many other plastics (though maybe some old Asolos), but I really like the light weight and flexibility of the boot with the protection (from wetness), stiffness, and increased warmth that makes them preferable to leather boots for a lot of trips. In my mind, they're a great middle ground between Scarpa's leathers (Manta 4, Freney) and the more traditional plastics (Inverno).

 

True- they're not full on expedition plastics- I'd probably want something bigger and warmer (I have non-thermofit liners) if I were going to be doing a lot of northern lattitude ice climbing, or taking a big trip up to Denali. However, I love them for winter in the cascades and took them to the ecuador volcanos where they worked great.

 

thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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I've got the old model with the non-thermoformable liner. Maneuverability equal to a leathr but more thought needs to go into it. I had the same criticisms above so I had to do some mods to make it work.

 

1) "It is difficult if not impossible to crank down the laces tight enough to secure your ankle/heel."- I glued a pair of ball bearings in each of the 4 upper hooks, that worked ... a little better. I then added a pair of velcro strap placed between them. That worked pretty well!

 

2) During subzero temps I use VBLs so I'm ok.

 

The biggest problem I had was the lack of gussets to connect the tongue to the upper. Approaches through shallow water or mud soaked the liners. It could also use a full rand.

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I have non-thermo ones. I have been cold in them in WY. I also think they would benefit from a gusset between the tongue and upper--because of this missing detail, they are not as waterproof as most boots.

 

However, I think they climb great, better than my leathers. With a thermo-liner, they would be significantly warmer and fit better, which I will probably get next winter.

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Oh, also, I don't have any Alaska experience, but Mark Twight (here we go again...) says he buys downsized plastics and then fits them with thermo liners. So, I think a normal-sized Alpha would serve a very similar function.

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Has anyone used the alphas with a thermo liner on Denali? seems like it could be a valid option.

 

Used Alphas with intuition liners on Denali last year and Aconcagua this year. I liked alphas because of their low weight, and comfortable, precise fit. Intuitions worked ok in them, but intuitions are a bit bulky at the cuff and make closing the boot all the way a bit tough. This sucked, as the tongue was not sealed onto the boot well, and snow or whatever could get in under the tongue quite easily. I fixed this on Denali by wearing supergaitors. No problems there. On aconcagua, i didn't take gaiters, and gravel and sand crept in under the tongue, wearing holes in my liners, ruining them. My boots stayed in basecamp when I returned home. I am not sure how the new heat moldable scarpa liners fit in the boots. I would assume that, since they are proprietary, they fit better. But those liners don't seem to be as warm, or last as long as intuitions.

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I am also considering buying this boot. After a little googling I found another thread at http://www.rockclimbing.com/post/535630 . In reading thread, I saw the reference to the term 'power strap' and was wondering if the strap is something you could use to help bolster performance of boot for steeper stuff. Or in any case, what is a power strap used for?

 

- wt

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